Are you taking full advantage of the CPARS process?

You can rate yourself and submit your rating to the contracting officer as part of your past performance evaluation. It’s true. You can offer a self-assessment to kick off the process.

How do you use this knowledge to your advantage?

First, establish a regular method of communicating with your government client. Make sure that written status reports are a part of that process if they are not already included in the deliverable requirements for each contract. Regular communications will keep you fully informed of how your client views you and will prevent unpleasant surprises when the CPARS report is provided to you.

Second, keep records. Document your successes and how those successes benefited the agency. And also document your stumbles. Even the best, most experienced companies stumble. And our customers never forget when this happens. So, it’s your job to make sure they also remember how you recovered. And what you did to make sure you don’t stumble again.

Third, verify the report deadlines so you can be proactive.

Fourth, remind your customer that you are allowed to submit a self-assessment. Tell them that you intend to submit an assessment. A sample assessment is provided here. Ask them if they have a preferred way for you to do this. Make it clear that you are submitting the assessment to establish a dialogue about how they view your performance because this will allow you to do your best work. And this will let you know how your customer values your work.

If you’ve heard me speak before, you know that I advocate knowing the rules. But how do you use the rules to help your customers give you a realistic past performance evaluation. The fact that the contractor can send a self-assessment after the performance period is not widely known. And this fact can be leveraged to position yourself for the recompete. And for any new work that your current client, or their contacts and associates, are contemplating.

Next time, we’ll talk about competition and something that I call “incumbent-it is”.