Library of Congress told to redo $450M agile software contract Armand

The Government Accountability Office found problems with evaluations, the best value tradeoff process and poor documentation.

The Library of Congress has been told to redo evaluations on a $450 million contract for agile software development.

Eight companies originally won seats on the contract in October and two disappointed bidders subsequently protested. Deloitte Consulting and Softrams complained about the evaluations and the best value tradeoff analysis.

In a now-unsealed protest decision, the Government Accountability Office sided with the protesters and laid out several actions that the Library should take:

  • Reopen discussions
  • Seek revised proposals as necessary
  • Evaluate proposals, tracking all evaluation factors
  • Document its analysis
  • Make a new source selection decision that fits the findings of GAO's decision.

The solicitation said the Library of Congress would pick winners of the multiple-award contract according to corporate experience, past performance, technical approach and price. Price would be the least important factor.

The Library received 57 proposals and 51 were considered compliant. The agency then established a competitive range of 14 bidders, including Deloitte and Softrams. The range only included companies with the highest ratings on the non-price factors.

For the best-value tradeoff, the contracting officer picked the eight bidders with the lowest prices and conducted an analysis among those companies. Those companies were considered “prospective awardees.”

The remaining eight were then compared to the lowest-ranked among prospective winners. If one of the lower ranked companies was deemed a better value than the lowest ranked prospective winner, it would replace that company and that company would drop down.

GAO ruled this was not the proper way to conduct a best value tradeoff and that even if it was, the Library did not adequately document it.

The eight companies who won contracts were: 22nd Century, Ad Hoc, Albacore, Artemis, CGI Federal, Gunnison Consulting, Navitas and NIC Federal.

Deloitte and Softrams also challenged the way the Library conducted evaluations of past performance and unevenly evaluated technical and management approaches.

The protestors also went after some of the ratings the winning bidders received. GAO found that the agency was inconsistent in how it explained who got what rating.

In one example, the reasoning the Library gave during evaluations differed from what it provided to GAO.

The protesters also successfully argued that CGI’s proposal contained an erroneous assumption that contradicted the solicitation. The Library awarded the contract to CGI because that assumption wasn’t included in the final contract.

GAO said that was the wrong approach. The library should have held discussions with CGI to address that error. If the Library had kicked CGI out of the competition, CGI could have won a protest of its own.

In addition to reopening discussions and re-evaluating proposals before making a new best-value tradeoff decision, GAO also recommended the Library to reimburse Deloitte and Softrams for their legal fees.