Acquisition of Services

AAF  >  Acquisition of Services  >  Step 1: Form the Team

Step 1: Form the Team

How to use this site

Each page in this pathway presents a wealth of curated knowledge from acquisition policies, guides, templates, training, reports, websites, case studies, and other resources. It also provides a framework for functional experts and practitioners across DoD to contribute to the collective knowledge base. This site aggregates official DoD policies, guides, references, and more.

DoD and Service policy is indicated by a BLUE vertical line.

Directly quoted material is preceeded with a link to the Reference Source.

Reference Source:  Guidance from A&S.  Based on DAG Chapter 10, Section 3.1.1 content, Jan 2020

Multi-Functional Team

The PM, or Functional Services Manager (FSM), as designated by the Decision Authority or designee, is the lead responsible for bringing together the appropriate cross functional individuals for the MFT. The team members will understand the requirement, understand how the requirement relates to the mission, and be able to put an executable strategy together in support of the mission. Although not inclusive, the following individuals should be MFT members:

  • FSM
  • Contracting officer
  • Finance/Budget Officer
  • Procurement Analyst
  • Legal Advisor
  • Customer/Requirements Owner (this person may be the same as the FSM)
  • Contracting Officer Representative
  • Cost and Price Analyst
  • Small Business Specialist
  • Quality Assurance Specialist
  • Any other stakeholders who have a vested interest in the requirement

MFT members will participate in a Services Acquisition Workshop (SAW). The SAWs are considered to be a best practice resource for services acquisitions. SAWs are required in some situations, but it is a preferred workshop for services acquisitions. The primary objectives of the SAW are to:

  • Understand the services acquisition process;
  • Apply and use the Acquisition Requirements Roadmap Tool (ARRT) to define and refine service requirements in order to create an initial draft of the Performance Work Statement (PWS) and Quality Assurance Surveillance Plan (QASP); and
  • Develop specific acquisition-related documents (i.e., team charter, project plan, stakeholder analysis, PWS, QASP and an acquisition approach.)

For the team to be successful, the team will achieve the following outcomes:

  • Find the right people, with the appropriate expertise and skill set, for the team;
  • Identify senior leadership and stakeholders who are impacted by the outcomes to ensure their involvement and support;
  • Develop a Communication Plan to keep stakeholders and others informed of the requirements’ status and direction;
  • Create a project library to maintain the knowledge base; and,
  • Identify and plan for needed training as the team moves through this acquisition.

The decision authority or designee is responsible for ensuring that qualified FSMs oversee planning and execution of individual service requirements. The decision authority will determine the need for an FSM with services acquisition-related, career field certification based on risk or complexity of the acquisition. In the absence of FSMs with services acquisition-related, career field certification, an FSM with functional expertise for a given service requirement will exercise management responsibilities and be trained in accordance with the “DoD Handbook for the Training and Development of the Services Acquisition Workforce.”  Services Acquisition Mall (SAM) has additional information on the process and provides templates that can be used for Step One of the Seven Step process.

Functional Services Manager (FSM)

Reference Source: Guidance from A&S.  ACQuipedia, Functional Services Manager, Jan 2020 

FSMs may be certified in an appropriate Services Acquisition (SA) – related Acquisition Workforce (AWF) career field (e.g., Program Management, Life Cycle Logistics, and Information Technology).

Alternatively, FSMs may be non-AWF managers, who in the absence of a certified, SA-related, AWF manager, have the domain expertise for a given service requirement (e.g., a transportation unit commander, installation commander, or medical treatment facility commander) in order to exercise SA management responsibilities.

Some DoD organizations use the title Services Acquisition Manager instead of FSM.

Form the Team

Reference:  Guidance from A&S.  DAU Service Acquisition Mall, Step 1, Jan 2020

The acquisition team should be a customer-focused, multi-functional team that plans and manages the service requirement throughout its life cycle. We will refer to the multi-functional team as the acquisition team during this guide. The requirement may be for a single function or for multiple functions. Estimated dollar value is not the sole determinant of the amount of effort devoted to the acquisition. Previously, it was common for contracting and other functional experts to work independently in “functional stove pipes” when acquiring services. This method is outdated and costly. Service acquisition requires a team effort. It is essential that all stakeholders be involved throughout the service acquisition life cycle, from the planning and development phase through the execution phase. The duties, expertise, and contributions of each team member are important to the success of any service acquisition. Many functional experts should make up an acquisition team.

1.1 Ensure Senior Management Involvement and Support

Early in your acquisition efforts you should make sure you’ve got senior leadership support. It is important to understand leadership’s concerns and expectations for your acquisition. What priority does this requirement have in their portfolio of service requirements? Your leadership can help you get the right people on your team and overcome roadblocks when necessary when they understand your team is committed to the success of their mission.

1.2 Form the Team and Team Charter

The goal of every acquisition team should be to obtain quality, timely contract services in both a legal and cost-effective manner, placing the responsibility for quality performance on the contractor. Nonetheless, achieving this goal can be challenging. The interdisciplinary nature of your acquisition efforts means no single individual or function is likely to have all the requisite knowledge and experience in the majority of cases. Therefore, personnel such as the program manager, contracting officer, contracting officer’s representative (COR), responsible fiscal officer, and legal counsel (among others) should form the acquisition team as soon as possible in order to:

  • Develop a team vision and charter for the acquisition.
  • Develop an effective level of dialogue and teamwork.
  • Analyze stakeholders and create a communication plan.
  • Develop a project plan and the timeline for the acquisition. A project plan provides the detail of what has to be accomplished and who is responsible to accomplish each task.

Although the composition of the acquisition team may vary depending on the nature of the requirement, a few key members are essential to the success of any contract. They are as follows:

The Customer/User: The customer’s representative or functional manager normally brings to the team detailed knowledge of the user requirements. They are responsible for defining the required performance outcomes or results. The requirements definition most likely will include an assessment of the risk that the government might assume when relying on commercial specifications and common marketplace performance and quality standards. The customer/user plays an important role in deciding what tradeoffs are necessary when considering a commercially available service to fulfill an agency requirement. Your customer/user is the key individual in determining the organization’s needs and in providing the historical data and perspective.

Program Manager/Technical Specialist/Project Manager

Reference Source: Guidance from A&S.  DAU Service Acquisition Mall, Step 1, Jan 2020

The program manager (PM) is the acquisition team leader and is responsible for ensuring that the acquisition plan is properly executed and the desired results are achieved.

The PM provides coordination and facilitates communication among the acquisition team members, closely tracks the milestone schedule, and provides leadership and guidance to overcome and resolve any problems or delays.

This individual is responsible for drafting the PWS, which means ensuring that performance requirements are clearly and concisely defined and articulated.

PMs identify, plan, and control various areas, such as delivery requirements, scheduling, market research, COR nomination, cost estimating, budgeting, and specific project formulation.

The PM normally participates in the source selection as well.

This individual serves as the principal technical expert, is most familiar with the requirement, best able to identify potential technical tradeoffs, and whether the requirement can be met by a commercial solution.

Contracting Officer

Reference Source: Guidance from A&S.  DAU Service Acquisition Mall, Step 1, Jan 2020

The warranted contracting officer is responsible for performing all relevant contract functions, to include assisting in requirements development and market research.

Within this context, the contracting officer does not determine the government’s need, but is responsible for advising the PM in preparing a PWS.

This individual serves as the principal business advisor and principal agent for the government responsible for developing the business strategy, solicitation, conducting the source selection, and administrating the resultant contract and business arrangement

Performance Assessment Personnel (Quality Assurance Personnel)

Reference Source: Guidance from A&S.  DAU Service Acquisition Mall, Step 1, Jan 2020

Performance assessment personnel are known by many names, such as COR, or contracting officer’s technical representative (COTR), or quality assurance evaluator (QAE), but their duties are essentially the same.

They serve as the on-site technical manager responsible for assessing actual contractor performance against contract performance standards.

The COR provides the team with their field experience and surveillance of service contracts (Frequently, this individual is the same person who initiates the program requirements and normally serves as the primary person responsible for assessing performance).

They provide guidance to the PM to ensure contract requirements are described in a manner which enables the government to objectively and effectively assess the contractor’s work performance in terms of outcome.

They serve as the “eyes and ears” of the contracting officer and when applicable, the COR performs the actual surveillance of the contractor’s work.

A letter of appointment signed by the contracting officer provides scope and limitations of the COR’s authority.

Small Business Specialist (SBS)

Reference Source: Guidance from A&S.  DAU Service Acquisition Mall, Step 1, Jan 2020

 The SBS serves as the principal advisor and advocate for small business engagement.

This individual serves as the chief analyst on small business laws, regulations and command policy.

They can provide insight for market research and an understanding of industry small business capability.

He or she may also serve as the liaison with the Small Business Administration (SBA).

Cost/Price Analyst

Reference Source: Guidance from A&S.  DAU Service Acquisition Mall, Step 1, Jan 2020

The cost/price analyst evaluates the financial price and cost-based data for reasonableness, completeness, accuracy, and affordability.

Alternatively, some agencies utilize cost engineering personnel from within an engineering division to conduct cost/price analysis from a technical standpoint

Finance/Budget Officer

Reference Source: Guidance from A&S.  DAU Service Acquisition Mall, Step 1, Jan 2020

The finance/budget officer serves as an advisor for fiscal and budgetary issues.

Miscellaneous Others

Reference Source: Guidance from A&S.  DAU Service Acquisition Mall, Step 1, Jan 2020

In addition to individuals mentioned above, personnel from outside the agency may also be useful, depending on their area of expertise.

This includes individuals from agencies such as the Defense Contract Management Agency, Defense Logistics Agency, the Defense Contract Audit Agency, and the Environmental Protection Agency, to name a few.

Team Charter and Vision Statement

Reference Source: Guidance from A&S.  DAU Service Acquisition Mall, Step 1, Jan 2020

Developing a team charter is an important step in getting the team focused on the objectives to be accomplished and to assign key roles and responsibilities.

Everyone involved must understand how they will contribute to achieving the required mission results. The charter starts with the acquisition team’s vision statement.

The vision statement should capture the high level objective of the team’s effort and be an objective that unites the team.

Documentation Examples and Templates

Reference Source: DAU Service Acquisition Mall, Step 1 Templates

Examples and templates of documentation are available in the Service Acquisition Mall (SAM):