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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Developing competitive specifications by Wiki

GSA tries wiki approach to develop RFPs
GSA is asking members of the public to provide advice for features and performance requirements for these applications, as well as other elements of the RFPs. Specifically, GSA is asking for members of the public to point out mistakes and engage in "meaningful technical debate."

Given the endemic problems government has developing good requirements for IT acquisitions, the idea of drawing on the public for suggestions is in principle a great one.

The kind of advice GSA is seeking from the general public is thus the kind of advice the government has solicited from potential bidders for a while. Asking for the advice to put out there for everyone to see, as GSA is doing, actually creates problems when done for potential bidders specifically, because companies are loathe to say anything meaningful for fear of revealing information about their bid strategies to competitors.

This shouldn't be an issue for the general public, but here the issue is how many members of the public -- beyond companies thinking of bidding on the contract, who already get to make suggestions without this new wiki -- are likely to have the knowledge or interest to become engaged in the arcana of requirements for a speific procurement.

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