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A Project Staffing Worst Practice

It’s time to look sharp about a trending practice that’s ruining project staffing. A CIO article by Bart Perkins warns about the growing use of Lowest Price Technically Available (LPTA) for evaluating RFPs. Not only is LPTA undermining value and expertise in what RFPs offer, it may be working to unravel the very foundations of IT consulting. So why use this “worst practice” over conventional methods? As explained in Perkin’s article:

LPTA was originally designed to purchase items with precisely defined technical requirements, such as office supplies and raw materials. Chosen suppliers met the minimum requirements at the lowest price. But with budgets squeezed ever tighter, LPTA is now being used to procure IT professional services, where disregarding the value of expertise and experience is ludicrous.

This approach to DOD sourcing saves on expenses by putting dollars and cents at the expense of a project’s integrity. At its very extreme LPTA gives you a hollow team driving a project that, if it were a car, would be missing some basic and important safety features.

Feature 1: Appropriate Technical Requirements. The LPTA takes RFPs at face value, never mind the nuances involved in accrediting non-certified managers or specifying project requirements in advance.

Feature 2: Skilled People. You get what you pay for. These employees, however well-meaning, will lack the experience to confront project snags and complexities. As a team they will lack the appropriate mix of skills.

Feature 3: Creative Flexibility. LPTA contract rules make it hard for creative suppliers to take a new approach at a critical juncture.

Feature 4: Outcomes and Deliverables. This one’s a paradox. Use LPTA to find cheaper suppliers, and you may find you are actually paying more for a project. This is because LPTA evaluations get you suppliers who are not, by contract, as accountable to project outcomes.

Feature 5: Reliable Suppliers. Most importantly, the practice of LPTA fundamentally undermines the use of RFPs and makes it hard for suppliers to exist – period. Next time you hear someone complain of excessive reliance on independent contractors, think LPTA.

While IT project staffers continually find themselves in budget bind, LPTA may just be the wrong way to choose a vehicle with the features capable of navigating a company to its project goals.

Read the full article here:

About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI’s Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master’s degree in communications at Penn State University.

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