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18F Launches RFP Ghostwriting and Review Service

A new service offered by digital services agency 18F could give federal procurement a facelift.

Writing a request for proposal (RFP) like a hot young startup is as easy as enlisting White House digital services agency 18F. A new RFP Ghostwriting and Review service offers federal agencies the expertise of the 18F’s designers and technologists to ensure projects get started on the right foot.

Offered on a cost-reimbursable basis through the Economy Act, 18F intends to help agencies avoid common RFP pitfalls such as poorly-defined objectives, which can lead to overbidding, vendor lock-in or ultimate project failure.

In a March 30 blog post, 18F announced the new service, explaining that its agency members are knowledgeable “in modern digital best practices, including user-centered design, agile development, application programming interfaces (APIs), and open source technologies. … We can help you craft an RFP that increases your acquisition project’s probability of success.”

Through a series of questions, 18F identifies the pertinent details, and then draws on experience to draft an RFP that will get the best results. Focuses include desired software development methods, user-centered design, off-the-shelf solutions, open source approaches, results-oriented benchmarking, and others.

Federal agencies interested in the RFP Ghostwriting and Review service need only obtain an interagency agreement and contact 18F for help.

Colin wrote for Government Technology and Emergency Management from 2010 through most of 2016.