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BETTER PROCUREMENT
BETTER OUTCOMES
TECHNOLOGY & DESIGN INTERVENTIONS FOR BOSTON
Angelica Quicksey | Mayor’s Office of New ...
HOMELESS SERVICES.
ELDERLY MEALS. SPEED
CAMERAS. UBIQUITOUS WIFI.
PODCASTS. SENSORS.
SCHOOL BUSES. EDUCATION
PLATFORMS. PU...
PROCUREMENT
IS PART
OF EVERYTHING
WE DO.
CONFUSING
COMPLEX
RIGID
PROCESS
FRAUD PREVENTION
INSTITUTION
CLEAR
SIMPLE
RESPONSIVE
RESULTS
SERVICE DELIVERY
HUMAN
We are...
DEFINE &
DECIDE
WRITE &
REVIEW
ADVERTISE
& POST
VENDOR Q&A
&
EVALUATION
AWARD DELIVER
A MAP
A STARTING PLACE
City staff feel confused
and frustrated. One
employee compared the
process to getting a root
canal without novacaine.
Even...
IT DOESN’T HAVE TO
BE SO PAINFUL
In 2016, there are as
many ways to do
procurement as there
are different problems to
solve.
We should recognize and
provid...
The rules governing it
are in place to stop
corruption. That is
important, but it should
not stop city hall from
serving r...
Govlist (a new tool from
an outside vendor) and
the RFP template created
by DoIT’s procurement
specialist are the most
pro...
GOVLIST PILOT
GO TO WEBSITE
CONFUSING
COMPLEX
RIGID
PROCESS
FRAUD PREVENTION
INSTITUTION
CLEAR
SIMPLE
RESPONSIVE
RESULTS
SERVICE DELIVERY
HUMAN
AN RFP...
THANK YOU
Appendix
RECOMMENDATIONS &
INSIGHTS
EIGHT TACTICAL
RECOMMENDATIONS
SHORT TERM
RFP TEMPLATE.
Adopt a Citywide RFP
template.
1. HUB GUIDE TO
RFPS.
Finalize and approve a
guide to procuring
services thro...
TRAIN
EMPLOYEES.
Include training on
procurement as part of
onboarding for City staff.
Offer ongoing “refresher”
training ...
CREATE
ADDITIONAL HUB
GUIDES.
Create additional guides
for conducting bids,
purchasing goods, and
procuring construction
s...
PUBLICALLY
PUBLISH WHO
WINS CITY
CONTRACTS.
Publish the winners of City
Contracts either on the
supplier portal or in the
...
FOUR TACTICAL DOIT
RECOMMENDATIONS
SHORT TERM & DEPT SPECIFIC
TACTICAL DOIT RECOMMENDATIONS
1.
Create and publish additional standard
language and guidance for tech procurements
on the...
TACTICAL DOIT RECOMMENDATIONS
3.
For the procurement specialist role, map out
process-improvement related goals with
depar...
FOUR STRATEGIC
RECOMMENDATIONS
MEDIUM & LONG TERM
In 2016, there are as many ways to do procurement
as there are different problems to solve.
We should recognize and provid...
Assess the impact of reforms to Massachusetts
General Law and make internal organizational
changes to eliminate unnecessar...
Redesign the supplier portal, making it easier to
navigate and use.
Simplify and clarify vendor registration.
Complete a d...
Create an internal database of existing/ongoing
RFP’s.
Train additional legal council in technology
procurement/law.
Creat...
TEN
KEY INSIGHTS
PROCUREMENT
MATTERS
Purchasing goods and
services is a critical part
of serving Boston
residents.
Procurement touches
ever...
Technology (including
hardware, off-the-shelf
software, and software
design or development)
is an important part of all
bu...
There is no clear process
for procuring goods or
services in the City of
Boston. No department
or individual possesses a
c...
Procurement law and the
processes attached to
that legal framework
optimize for clearly
defined problems and
existing mark...
City staff feel confused
and frustrated. One
employee compared the
process to getting a root
canal without novacaine.
Even...
Boston employees must
choose between finding
workarounds or not
procuring anything at all.
These practices impact
service ...
Small and local vendors
don’t have the capacity
(time, staff, money) to
participate in the long
and complicated process
of...
Purchasing services
takes so long that often
the market or problem
has changed between
when the problem first
arose and wh...
PROCURING SERVICES
EXISTS ON A SPECTRUM
RIGID RESPONSIVE
Pencils & Snow Plows.
Off-the-shelf products
where price is the
p...
FOUR
DOIT INSIGHTS
(DEPARTMENT OF INNOVATION
AND TECHNOLOGY)
GOVLIST, COMBINED WITH AN RFP TEMPLATE,
HAS PROVEN TO BE EFFECTIVE AT PROVIDING
GUIDANCE AND ELIMINATING CONFUSION IN
THE ...
HIRING PROCUREMENT-SPECIFIC PERSONNEL
WORKS AT A DEPARTMENT LEVEL, BUT WOULD
BE A SIGNIFICANT INVESTMENT ACROSS THE
CITY.
...
CREATING A PROCUREMENT “EXPERT” CAN
CAUSE ADDITIONAL CONFUSION IN A PROCESS
WHERE NO ONE PERSON OWNS THE ENTIRE
PROCUREMEN...
WHILE EFFORTS TO IMPROVE PROCUREMENT
WITHIN THE DEPARTMENT ARE NOT SCALABLE,
THEY HAVE SHOWN SOME SUCCESS.
The procurement...
RESEARCH
DOCUMENTATION
WORK PLAN
KEY QUESTION
How might we streamline and enhance the
user experience of procuring services - for
city staff and vendors - ...
KEY ACTIVITIES
DISCOVERY
INTERVIEWS
INDEPENDENT RESEARCH
PROCESS MAPPING
GOVLIST PILOT USER TESTING
BOSTON.GOV PROCUREMENT...
ANALOG VERSION PART 1
ANALOG VERSION PART 2
RESEARCH
PROCESS
INTERNAL*
▶ Project leads
▶ RFP Authors
▶ RFP Reviewers
▶ Approval Authorities
▶ Department Heads
*These roles are not mut...
RESEARCH: INTERVIEWS
12
INTERNAL
INTERVIEWS
.
5
EXTERNAL
INTERVIEWS
*For a full list of interviewees, see internal report.
RESEARCH: INTERNAL LITERATURE
▶ Boston.gov Vendor Process Map, DoIT
▶ Learning to ♥ Procurement Presentation, DoIT
▶ RFP T...
RESEARCH: EXTERNAL LITERATURE
▶ Procurement Charts, Aug 2014, MA Office of the Inspector General (Link Here)
▶ Chapter 5 -...
RESEARCH: INTERVIEW GUIDE (govlist)
DURING
How did you get started with your RFP?
How did you become the RFP point person?...
RESEARCH: INTERVIEW GUIDE (non-govlist)
DURING
How did you get started with your RFP?
How did you become the RFP point per...
DELIVERABLES
CONSIDERED
POTENTIAL DELIVERABLES_1 of 3
DELIVERABLES FEASIBILITY
GovList recommendation ⚫ ⚫ ⚫ ⚫
Improved GovList writing flow ⚫ ⚫ ⚫ ...
POTENTIAL DELIVERABLES_2 of 3
DELIVERABLES FEASIBILITY
Complete process map ⚫ ⚫ ⚫ ⚫
RFP process guide - written ⚫ ⚫
RFP pr...
POTENTIAL DELIVERABLES_3 of 3
DELIVERABLES FEASIBILITY
RFP for improved peoplesoft skin ⚫
Vendor mailing list ⚫
City Recor...
HKS REPORT
SUMMARY
HKS REPORT: OVERVIEW
REPORT TITLE
Improving Procurement at
the City of Boston
AUTHORS
Isabel Cantada, Will Eberle,
Rebecca...
HKS FINDINGS: THE NUMBERS
▶ Number of contracts awarded by
City of Boston between FY13-15:
1,754 contracts worth nearly $3...
HKS FINDINGS: THE NUMBERS
▶ Average number of days from
internal approval of an RFP to final
contract approval: 222.8 days...
HKS FINDINGS: THE PROCESS
THREE METHODS & TWO TRACKS
Procurement in Boston is conducted through three different methods, d...
HKS FINDINGS: THE PROCESS
BASIC STEPS BASED ON MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL LAW, CHAPTER 30B
While the Commonwealth of Massachuse...
HKS FINDINGS: PROBLEMS (1 of 3)
LACK OF CLEAR PROCESSES OR TRAINING LEADS TO CONFUSION,
FRUSTRATION AND DELAYS
The informa...
HKS FINDINGS: PROBLEMS (2 of 3)
LACK OF CLEAR PROCESSES OR TRAINING LEADS TO CONFUSION,
FRUSTRATION AND DELAYS (cont.)
Mul...
HKS FINDINGS: PROBLEMS (2 of 3)
POOR USE OF PEOPLESOFT AND LITTLE DATA ANALYSIS
Despite using Peoplesoft, the City is “pai...
HKS RECOMMENDATIONS
SHORT TERM
1. Create several procurement advisor positions to help
departments through the procurement...
PROCESS
MAPPING
PROCESS MAPPING: HIGH LEVEL
DEFINE &
DECIDE
WRITE &
REVIEW
ADVERTIZE
& POST
VENDOR Q&A
&
EVALUATION
AWARD DELIVER
PROCESS MAPPING: DETAILED
DIGITAL COPY HERE
INTERVENTIONS
GOVLIST PILOT USER TESTING
GO TO WEBSITE
HUB PROCUREMENT GUIDE
PROCURING GOODS AND
SERVICES
ICON
ATTRIBUTION
CREATIVE COMMONS ICONS
▶ Truck by Guilhem from the Noun Project
▶ Excel by Gleb Khorunzhiy from the Noun Project
▶ Snow Gr...
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Better Procurement, Better Outcomes. Technology and Design Interventions for Boston

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My presentation to the Mayor of Boston on improving procurement, with a full recap of my recommendations and research in the appendix. Created during a Summer Fellowship with the Boston Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics, in which I piloted interventions to make technology procurement faster and more clear. These included the RFP-writing tool Govlist, and a web-based guide to procuring services in the City. I also mapped the procurement process related to RFP's for services over $35,000 and made recommendations for improvements.

Published in: Government & Nonprofit

Better Procurement, Better Outcomes. Technology and Design Interventions for Boston

  1. 1. BETTER PROCUREMENT BETTER OUTCOMES TECHNOLOGY & DESIGN INTERVENTIONS FOR BOSTON Angelica Quicksey | Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics Summer Fellow August 5, 2016
  2. 2. HOMELESS SERVICES. ELDERLY MEALS. SPEED CAMERAS. UBIQUITOUS WIFI. PODCASTS. SENSORS. SCHOOL BUSES. EDUCATION PLATFORMS. PUBLIC ART. AFFORDABLE HOUSING.
  3. 3. PROCUREMENT IS PART OF EVERYTHING WE DO.
  4. 4. CONFUSING COMPLEX RIGID PROCESS FRAUD PREVENTION INSTITUTION CLEAR SIMPLE RESPONSIVE RESULTS SERVICE DELIVERY HUMAN We are here.
  5. 5. DEFINE & DECIDE WRITE & REVIEW ADVERTISE & POST VENDOR Q&A & EVALUATION AWARD DELIVER A MAP A STARTING PLACE
  6. 6. City staff feel confused and frustrated. One employee compared the process to getting a root canal without novacaine. Even staff that are coached through the process can face hurdles down the road. LIKE GETTING A ROOT CANAL WITHOUT NOVACAINE “
  7. 7. IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE SO PAINFUL
  8. 8. In 2016, there are as many ways to do procurement as there are different problems to solve. We should recognize and provide pathways for staff and vendors to navigate the gray areas and provide the solutions residents need. MANY PATHWAYS TO SUCCESS BID. RFP. RFI. PILOT. BLANKET PURCHASE AGREEMENT.
  9. 9. The rules governing it are in place to stop corruption. That is important, but it should not stop city hall from serving residents. Reforming procurement is hard work. It requires organizational change and changes to state and local law. Yet it’s necessary to do the even harder work of governing. DO THE HARD WORK TO MAKE IT SIMPLE “
  10. 10. Govlist (a new tool from an outside vendor) and the RFP template created by DoIT’s procurement specialist are the most promising efforts by the City to standardize and provide internal guidance on the procurement process. Guidance is what city staff and vendors most crave. SMALL INTERVENTIONS CAN PROVIDE CLARITY
  11. 11. GOVLIST PILOT GO TO WEBSITE
  12. 12. CONFUSING COMPLEX RIGID PROCESS FRAUD PREVENTION INSTITUTION CLEAR SIMPLE RESPONSIVE RESULTS SERVICE DELIVERY HUMAN AN RFP WRITING TOOL GETS US HERE
  13. 13. THANK YOU
  14. 14. Appendix
  15. 15. RECOMMENDATIONS & INSIGHTS
  16. 16. EIGHT TACTICAL RECOMMENDATIONS SHORT TERM
  17. 17. RFP TEMPLATE. Adopt a Citywide RFP template. 1. HUB GUIDE TO RFPS. Finalize and approve a guide to procuring services through RFP’s by reviewing with legal and auditing, adding a common pitfalls section, and fleshing out the list of required documents. Publish it on the City’s redesigned internal intranet site (The Hub). 2.
  18. 18. TRAIN EMPLOYEES. Include training on procurement as part of onboarding for City staff. Offer ongoing “refresher” training quarterly. 3. ADOPT AN RFP WRITING TOOL, LIKE GOVLIST, CITYWIDE. Purchase the full version of a best-in-class RFP writing tool, like Govlist. Add it to the Hub Guide (see above), include it in training, and roll it out with an announcement from the City Auditor. 4.
  19. 19. CREATE ADDITIONAL HUB GUIDES. Create additional guides for conducting bids, purchasing goods, and procuring construction services as time and resources permit. 5. A DIGITAL CITY RECORD. Highlight the digital version of the City Record on the new Boston.gov rather than the PDF version. Work with the print shop to develop and finalize. 6.
  20. 20. PUBLICALLY PUBLISH WHO WINS CITY CONTRACTS. Publish the winners of City Contracts either on the supplier portal or in the City Record. 7. ADVERTISE THROUGH NEW CHANNELS. Use social media to advertise opportunities to do business with the city (Bids and RFPs). Potentially create a Twitter Feed that automatically posts new bids and RFP’s from the “digital City Record” (see above). 8.
  21. 21. FOUR TACTICAL DOIT RECOMMENDATIONS SHORT TERM & DEPT SPECIFIC
  22. 22. TACTICAL DOIT RECOMMENDATIONS 1. Create and publish additional standard language and guidance for tech procurements on the following topics: cloud solutions; data-sharing agreements; security concerns; uptime; agile development; device agnostic app development; white-label products; considerations for building an app versus a website. Publish this language publically and keep it updated to provide guidance for vendors, as well as city employees who do technology-related procurement. 2. Create and disseminate a DoIT-specific repository of key documents and forms needed for procurement. Include information about this repository - what’s in it and how to access it - in onboarding. Direct staff to it when they need procurement-related forms.
  23. 23. TACTICAL DOIT RECOMMENDATIONS 3. For the procurement specialist role, map out process-improvement related goals with department leadership at the beginning of each fiscal year in order to prioritize process improvements. Otherwise, the day-to-day work of getting RFP’s out the door will naturally take precedence over system improvements, as demands on the specialist’s time increase. 4. Reframe the DoIT procurement specialist role as a trusted adviser and a convener, rather than an expert or a gatekeeper.
  24. 24. FOUR STRATEGIC RECOMMENDATIONS MEDIUM & LONG TERM
  25. 25. In 2016, there are as many ways to do procurement as there are different problems to solve. We should recognize and provide pathways for staff and vendors to navigate the gray areas where standards methods do not provide the solutions residents need. Specifically, the city should develop and disseminate legal pathways for non-traditional procurement methods, including “problem-oriented RFP’s” and pilots. MANY PATHWAYS TO SUCCESS BID. STRICT RFP. OPEN RFP. RFI. PILOT. BLANKET PURCHASE AGREEMENT.
  26. 26. Assess the impact of reforms to Massachusetts General Law and make internal organizational changes to eliminate unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles. These might include: ● The delegation of CPO authority for procuring services ● Advertising requirement for the City Record and the State Goods and Services Register ● The justification for non-price considerations ● Relaxing restrictions on blanket purchasing agreements and RFP’s that can be awarded to multiple partners. ASSESS & ADDRESS LEGAL HURDLES
  27. 27. Redesign the supplier portal, making it easier to navigate and use. Simplify and clarify vendor registration. Complete a disparity study for local and MBE/WBE for vendors, in order to adopt vendor preference for these types of suppliers. IMPROVE THE VENDOR EXPERIENCE
  28. 28. Create an internal database of existing/ongoing RFP’s. Train additional legal council in technology procurement/law. Create a position in a central office, likely the office of purchasing, to continually oversee and improve the process of procuring goods and services under chapter 30B. CONTINUALLY TRACK AND IMPROVE THE PROCESS
  29. 29. TEN KEY INSIGHTS
  30. 30. PROCUREMENT MATTERS Purchasing goods and services is a critical part of serving Boston residents. Procurement touches every department and most essential services. Getting it right is crucial for municipal operations and the responsible use of tax dollars.
  31. 31. Technology (including hardware, off-the-shelf software, and software design or development) is an important part of all business processes and many citizen-facing services. Tech procurement, while it usually requires approval or input from DoIT staff, can occur in any department. TECHNOLOGY PROCUREMENT MATTERS
  32. 32. There is no clear process for procuring goods or services in the City of Boston. No department or individual possesses a complete roadmap. The steps can differ depending on where you start and can change throughout the process. FRAGMENTED, LONG, OPAQUE PROCESSES
  33. 33. Procurement law and the processes attached to that legal framework optimize for clearly defined problems and existing market-based solutions. Project managers are unable to be responsive to the market or citizens. This approach also emphasizes fraud prevention over service delivery. PROCUREMENT LAW OPTIMIZES FOR RIGIDITY, NOT RESPONSIVENESS
  34. 34. City staff feel confused and frustrated. One employee compared the process to getting a root canal without novacaine. Even staff that are coached through the process can face hurdles down the road. LIKE GETTING A ROOT CANAL WITHOUT NOVACAINE “
  35. 35. Boston employees must choose between finding workarounds or not procuring anything at all. These practices impact service delivery, budgets (money allocated for projects does not get spent), and the ability of the city to track or audit procurement efforts. WORKAROUNDS AND WORK AVOIDANCE IMPACT BUDGETING AND PERFORMANCE
  36. 36. Small and local vendors don’t have the capacity (time, staff, money) to participate in the long and complicated process of winning city contracts. Selected vendors may not get paid for months to years after they made their initial proposal. THE PARTNERS WE WANT DON’T OR CAN’T DO BUSINESS WITH US
  37. 37. Purchasing services takes so long that often the market or problem has changed between when the problem first arose and when the solution is delivered. Complex procurement processes select for vendors that are good at getting contracts, but not necessarily good at delivering services. BOSTON RESIDENTS DON’T RECEIVE THE LEVEL OF SERVICE THEY DESERVE
  38. 38. PROCURING SERVICES EXISTS ON A SPECTRUM RIGID RESPONSIVE Pencils & Snow Plows. Off-the-shelf products where price is the primary deciding factor for a purchase. Customization Required. A market solution exists but it may need to customized for the city’s needs. Eg. Financial software The Bleeding Edge. Intractable problems without clear market solutions. City staff and vendors are in new territory.
  39. 39. FOUR DOIT INSIGHTS (DEPARTMENT OF INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY)
  40. 40. GOVLIST, COMBINED WITH AN RFP TEMPLATE, HAS PROVEN TO BE EFFECTIVE AT PROVIDING GUIDANCE AND ELIMINATING CONFUSION IN THE RFP WRITING PROCESS. Govlist - a new tool from an outside vendor - and the RFP template upon which GovList is based, are the most promising efforts by the City to standardize and provide guidance on the procurement process. City employees have consistently identified a lack of guidance, incorrect guidance, and “not knowing where to start” as pain points in procuring services. Users of Govlist have stated that the tool solves for these pain points and simplifies the process. While users have identified some bugs and missing features, feedback to Govlist has been overwhelmingly positive. All users have asked for the tool to be rolled out across the city.
  41. 41. HIRING PROCUREMENT-SPECIFIC PERSONNEL WORKS AT A DEPARTMENT LEVEL, BUT WOULD BE A SIGNIFICANT INVESTMENT ACROSS THE CITY. The Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT) hired a procurement specialist whose role is to both oversee and assist with RFP’s in the department as well as improve the process. She has successfully assisted with numerous RFP’s and made several process improvements for the department. While this model works for an individual department, it is not scalable across the City without a significant investment in new personnel.
  42. 42. CREATING A PROCUREMENT “EXPERT” CAN CAUSE ADDITIONAL CONFUSION IN A PROCESS WHERE NO ONE PERSON OWNS THE ENTIRE PROCUREMENT ECOSYSTEM. DoIT’s procurement specialist has, at times, become part of the de facto processes governing procurement in the city. The process of procuring services is designed to be fragmented. Anyone hired to advise on or execute Requests for Proposals (RFP’s) will never own the entire process; they can only help navigate the map. Yet, people are hungry for guidance. As a result, employees from outside DoIT have begun turning to the department’s specialist as an expert for all procurement. This can create additional confusion as processes are not standardized across the city, and takes time away from department-specific procurements. Moreover, city staff sometimes wait for the new specialist’s approval before moving forward, creating an additional layer of bureaucracy.
  43. 43. WHILE EFFORTS TO IMPROVE PROCUREMENT WITHIN THE DEPARTMENT ARE NOT SCALABLE, THEY HAVE SHOWN SOME SUCCESS. The procurement specialist has created tools to improve DoIT processes - a checklist in the project management tool Asana and a Google folder of documents and forms needed for technology purchases. Though they not currently used effectively across the department and are time-intensive to create and maintain, these tools are excellent interim measures in lieu of city-wide process improvements.
  44. 44. RESEARCH DOCUMENTATION
  45. 45. WORK PLAN
  46. 46. KEY QUESTION How might we streamline and enhance the user experience of procuring services - for city staff and vendors - in order to achieve better outcomes?
  47. 47. KEY ACTIVITIES DISCOVERY INTERVIEWS INDEPENDENT RESEARCH PROCESS MAPPING GOVLIST PILOT USER TESTING BOSTON.GOV PROCUREMENT PAGE HUB PROCUREMENT GUIDE FINAL REPORT & PRESENTATION 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
  48. 48. ANALOG VERSION PART 1
  49. 49. ANALOG VERSION PART 2
  50. 50. RESEARCH PROCESS
  51. 51. INTERNAL* ▶ Project leads ▶ RFP Authors ▶ RFP Reviewers ▶ Approval Authorities ▶ Department Heads *These roles are not mutually exclusive. EXTERNAL ▶ Vendors ▶ Residents STAKEHOLDERS
  52. 52. RESEARCH: INTERVIEWS 12 INTERNAL INTERVIEWS . 5 EXTERNAL INTERVIEWS *For a full list of interviewees, see internal report.
  53. 53. RESEARCH: INTERNAL LITERATURE ▶ Boston.gov Vendor Process Map, DoIT ▶ Learning to ♥ Procurement Presentation, DoIT ▶ RFP Template, DoIT ▶ Basic SS-SC Lifecycle Process Map, City Auditor ▶ City Record, Issues 20-28 ▶ Boston.gov/procurement ▶ Asana RFP Template, DoIT ▶ Startup in Residence Contracting Guide, City of SF ▶ Procurement Overview, DoIT
  54. 54. RESEARCH: EXTERNAL LITERATURE ▶ Procurement Charts, Aug 2014, MA Office of the Inspector General (Link Here) ▶ Chapter 5 - Supply and Service Contracts of $35,000 or More: Proposals from The Chapter 30B Manual: Procuring Supplies, Services and Real Property, MA Office of the Inspector General (Link Here) ▶ Improving Procurement Report, HKS Student Team ▶ Startup in Residence Contracting Guide, City of SF ▶ Procurement Impact Spotlight: Case Study, Clay Johnson at the 2013 Code for America Summit (Link Here) ▶ Why New York Subway Lines Are Missing Countdown Clocks,” The Atlantic ▶ Swiss Challenge System (Wikipedia) ▶ Time to change the way we buy technology,” Digital Clarity Group ▶ Procurement that stresses solutions, not specs, GCN ▶ Presidential Innovation Fellow wins $250,000 award for application aimed at improving government services, Havard Blog
  55. 55. RESEARCH: INTERVIEW GUIDE (govlist) DURING How did you get started with your RFP? How did you become the RFP point person? How did you define the opportunity/challenge/goal? When did you begin using GovList? Walk me through your process. When did you export the RFP? How did you finalize the RFP? What happened when you were done writing? What did you do next? Tell me about the review process. Who were the reviewers/advisers and how much time do you think they spent on the process? POST How much time did you personally spend on the RFP-writing and review/approval processes? What do you wish you had known beforehand? Do you have any high level reactions to GovList? How does your experience using GovList compare to your previous experience with RFP’s?? Was there anything missing in the tool that we haven’t already discussed?
  56. 56. RESEARCH: INTERVIEW GUIDE (non-govlist) DURING How did you get started with your RFP? How did you become the RFP point person? How did you define the opportunity/challenge/goal? When did you begin writing? What did you feel you needed before you started? What questions did you have? Walk me through your process. How did you finalize the RFP? What happened when you were done writing? What did you do next? Tell me about the review process. Who were the reviewers/advisers and how much time do you think they spent on the process? POST How much time did you personally spend on the RFP-writing and review/approval processes? What was challenging about the process? What took the most time? What do you wish you had known beforehand? What are the three most important things you would change in the procurement process?
  57. 57. DELIVERABLES CONSIDERED
  58. 58. POTENTIAL DELIVERABLES_1 of 3 DELIVERABLES FEASIBILITY GovList recommendation ⚫ ⚫ ⚫ ⚫ Improved GovList writing flow ⚫ ⚫ ⚫ ⚫ GovList review module ⚫ ⚫ GovList Q&A module ⚫ ⚫ GovList suggestion work flow ⚫ ⚫ ⚫ GovList vendor marketplace ⚫ Procurement case study ⚫ ⚫ ⚫ ⚫ ▶ BOLD: DoIT priority ▶ GREEN: Completed
  59. 59. POTENTIAL DELIVERABLES_2 of 3 DELIVERABLES FEASIBILITY Complete process map ⚫ ⚫ ⚫ ⚫ RFP process guide - written ⚫ ⚫ RFP process guide - graphic ⚫ ⚫ ⚫ ⚫ Asana Checklist recommendation ⚫ ⚫ ⚫ Google Drive folder recommendation ⚫ ⚫ ⚫ Procurement Analytics Dashboard recommendation ⚫ ⚫ ⚫ ⚫ “How to Procure” whiteboard video ⚫ Alternative procurement approaches literature review and report ⚫ ▶ BOLD: DoIT priority ▶ GREEN: Completed
  60. 60. POTENTIAL DELIVERABLES_3 of 3 DELIVERABLES FEASIBILITY RFP for improved peoplesoft skin ⚫ Vendor mailing list ⚫ City Record print redesign suggestions (mock-up) ⚫ ⚫ ⚫ Incorporate digital City Record into Boston.gov redesign ⚫ ⚫ ⚫ ⚫ Citywide Creativity in Procurement Working Group road map ⚫ ⚫ Hub “Procuring Goods and Services” Guide ⚫ ⚫ ⚫ Twitterbot for RFP advertisements ⚫ ▶ BOLD: DoIT priority ▶ GREEN: Completed
  61. 61. HKS REPORT SUMMARY
  62. 62. HKS REPORT: OVERVIEW REPORT TITLE Improving Procurement at the City of Boston AUTHORS Isabel Cantada, Will Eberle, Rebecca Heywood, Uran Ismaili, and Zak Osterberg for MLD 601 Operations Management, Harvard Kennedy School DATE December 11, 2015 DESCRIPTION Produced by a team of students from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, this report relied on interviews with procurement specialists in and outside of Boston City Hall, as well as analysis of FY13-FY15 financial data from the City’s Peoplesoft system. It is primarily based on Massachusetts General Law as stated in Chapter 30B and ignores Chapters 149, 39M, 7C, or 44-57, and thus omits all construction-related procurement information. However, it offers key insights and recommendations and provides a lightweight, linear process map based on the team’s findings. I used this analysis and process map as a starting point for my work with the City of Boston.
  63. 63. HKS FINDINGS: THE NUMBERS ▶ Number of contracts awarded by City of Boston between FY13-15: 1,754 contracts worth nearly $3.2 Billion. ▶ Number of RFP’s issued varies widely month-to-month, but peaks in the summer, ie. the beginning and end of Boston’s fiscal year.
  64. 64. HKS FINDINGS: THE NUMBERS ▶ Average number of days from internal approval of an RFP to final contract approval: 222.8 days ▶ Average time to review sealed proposals: 42.6 days. (Peaked at 80 days in FY14.)
  65. 65. HKS FINDINGS: THE PROCESS THREE METHODS & TWO TRACKS Procurement in Boston is conducted through three different methods, determined by the dollar amount being procured, and along two tracks, one for goods and another for services. RFPS FOR SERVICES OVER $35,000 For services over $35,000, the City is required to make procurement decisions through either sealed bids (where rice is the sole decision-making factor) or sealed proposals (where non-price factors can be considered). To facilitate the sealed competitive proposal process, the City of Boston issues requests for proposals (RFPs).
  66. 66. HKS FINDINGS: THE PROCESS BASIC STEPS BASED ON MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL LAW, CHAPTER 30B While the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Chapter 30B manual for procurement outlines 14 detailed steps to conduct an RFP, the basic steps in a competitive procurement process are: 1. Define a need/problem to solve through procurement of good(s) or service(s) 2. Write the RFP 3. Solicit proposals 4. Select a vendor 5. Negotiate and execute the contract
  67. 67. HKS FINDINGS: PROBLEMS (1 of 3) LACK OF CLEAR PROCESSES OR TRAINING LEADS TO CONFUSION, FRUSTRATION AND DELAYS The information that exists is dispersed, inconsistent, incomplete, and overly complex. The Chapter 30B manual is 170 pages and describes the process in theory, not in practice. Moreover, the City of Boston has no designated procurement specialist in each department or for the whole organization. “There is no central office for employees to direct questions to and receive timely, uniform, and -most importantly - correct answers.” Those tasked with writing RFP’s rarely have the training to write an effective RFP document, causing problems for approvers and vendors. Few City of Boston employees receive training on procurement, and even fewer are retrained when rules or processes change. As a result, employees frequently copy and past from old or similar RFP’s to write their request. These RFP’s are bloated, running upwards of 40 pages. They are “loaded with unnecessary language, making it [hard] for other departments to analyze and sign off...and forcing end vendors to dig through [the RFP] to find the relevant sections.”
  68. 68. HKS FINDINGS: PROBLEMS (2 of 3) LACK OF CLEAR PROCESSES OR TRAINING LEADS TO CONFUSION, FRUSTRATION AND DELAYS (cont.) Multiple handoffs creates confusions and delays. There are many handoffs of RFP material between employees and departments to obtain clearance and signatures, but no clear delegation of authority. This frequently creates rework and delays. Many Boston City employees express frustration with the RFP process and the lack of clear information and guidance available to them. There is an overwhelming sentiment among city employees that “we hate procurement so much, we try to do it as infrequently as possible.” Most RFP writers rely on personal relationships and de facto processes to “fill the void left by lack of training” and official processes.
  69. 69. HKS FINDINGS: PROBLEMS (2 of 3) POOR USE OF PEOPLESOFT AND LITTLE DATA ANALYSIS Despite using Peoplesoft, the City is “painfully unaware” of the procurement data it has. This includes the number of RFP’s issued by year or department, and average length from contract award to execution. Many employees lack access to PeopleSoft. Moreover, many employees do not realize they ought to use PeopleSoft (unclear policy directive), creating rework, delays, and in some cases, inaccurate data. Many employees managing RFP’s don’t have access to PeopleSoft, meaning they are unable to enter their own data, post RFP’s, or track RFP’s through the process. As employees neither have access nor clarity about the policies around use of PeopleSoft for procurement, “‘about half’ of procurements’ originate on paper and have to be retroactively added to the system.
  70. 70. HKS RECOMMENDATIONS SHORT TERM 1. Create several procurement advisor positions to help departments through the procurement process and be a source of information and creativity; 2. Implement simple training procedures and materials for employees in procurement, and more specialized training for those who do RFPs regularly; 3. Build online templates for simple and standard RFPs or small procurements that are accessible to all employees; 4. Focus on creating and disseminating digital tools to help employees and vendors more easily navigate and participate in the procurement process. LONG TERM 1. Analyze the potential impact of centralizing its procurement process; 2. Conduct a full process analysis of the work required in the procurement process.
  71. 71. PROCESS MAPPING
  72. 72. PROCESS MAPPING: HIGH LEVEL DEFINE & DECIDE WRITE & REVIEW ADVERTIZE & POST VENDOR Q&A & EVALUATION AWARD DELIVER
  73. 73. PROCESS MAPPING: DETAILED DIGITAL COPY HERE
  74. 74. INTERVENTIONS
  75. 75. GOVLIST PILOT USER TESTING GO TO WEBSITE
  76. 76. HUB PROCUREMENT GUIDE PROCURING GOODS AND SERVICES
  77. 77. ICON ATTRIBUTION
  78. 78. CREATIVE COMMONS ICONS ▶ Truck by Guilhem from the Noun Project ▶ Excel by Gleb Khorunzhiy from the Noun Project ▶ Snow Groomer by Stephen Beaton from the Noun Project ▶ Agreement by Chameleon Design from the Noun Project ▶ Newspaper advertising by Hugo Alberto from the Noun Project ▶ Map Marker by misirlou from the Noun Project

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