The Right Thing Is Also the Hard Thing in Federal Contracting


Federal service contracts emphasize delivering inputs over mission outcomes. Lawrence B. Prior explains how that needs to change:

Inputs or outcomes?

For technology services company CEOs like me, that’s a no-brainer. Results are the lifeblood of industry, and leaders are held to account if they fail to deliver them. My counterparts in the public sector would surely agree, especially those in the federal acquisition business, who work tirelessly to produce better, more timely results.

And yet, federal service contracts remain predominantly structured to emphasize the delivery levels of input over mission outcomes.

The current government service acquisition model—based on labor hours or staffing levels—is obsolete. The model lacks agility and flexibility, leading to cost increases, limited innovation, and lackluster mission performance. President Trump acknowledged as much in a recent interview: “Time and material means you’re going to get your [butt]kicked. Who ever heard of time and material?”





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