How We Created a Security Clearance Processing Center of Excellence

By Greg Cullison

The security clearance process can be daunting to behold. It involves positions of sensitivity and must be treated with due care. Historically, the clearance process at the Army was lengthy and error prone, consuming hundreds of millions of dollars in lost productivity every year and degrading readiness levels. Then Big Sky showed up on the scene...

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The Secret to Understanding (and Controlling) the True Cost of a Security Clearance

By Diem Vo

The federal government’s perspective of costs is typically very different from the way a commercial company sees things. For example, you don't have the same concern for shareholders’ equity, balanced against the needs to utilize retained earnings to make capital investments in plant infrastructure.

The cost calculation for the government is almost all rooted in regulatory compliance and congressional oversight controlling a limited budget with ‘colors of money’ dictated by congressional appropriations. A revenue loss in the commercial world would be nearly analogous to a congressional mark or reprogramming action against an entire agency or a program budget line item.

What Congress giveth, it taketh. This isn’t Imperial Rome, this is still the Republic!

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How to Optimize Project Selection with a Spreadsheet and Basic Algebra

By Sean Brooks

As an executive, your time is a valuable asset, and your organization’s profitability depends on the efficient use of time. Managing time wisely requires, in part, that you do not pursue projects whose returns on investment, or value to the organization, do not justify the time or money required to complete them.

Projects with poor organizational alignment can sink companies and government agencies, or at least chart the wrong course. Implementing and executing on a systematic and consistent project selection approach can increase project value to your organization.

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Using Averages in Your Business Data Analysis? You May Be Overlooking Risk.

By Sean Brooks

Have you ever wondered why your sales forecasts are off, you overshoot your budget estimates, or your projects miss critical deadlines? You believe that you’ve conducted thorough data analyses and yet the frustration of inaccurate estimates continues to haunt you. So what’s the problem? Where have you gone wrong?

You may be impairing your plans from the beginning by building them with numbers that represent “best guesses” in place of uncertain inputs. In other words, you’ve put one number into each spreadsheet cell that actually represents an uncertain, future quantity. Consider the following example:

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The #1 Myth Federal Executives Believe About Contracting

By Donald Thomas

Despite the US Government's serious attempts at acquisition reform, Big Sky often finds that defense and security agencies are afraid to have contact with industry. This failure to exchange information and conduct solid market research results in vague or poorly defined scope, which in turn makes it almost impossible to hold the consultant or contractor accountable for results. 

The White House and OMB have been engaged in a 5-year long "mythbusting" campaign designed to debunk these myths but they persist nonetheless.

Big Sky has a carefully designed sales and contracting process that ensures that our clients are always FAR-compliant, and that takes advantage of our HubZone status. Even with our standard, repeatable, and proven process, one myth is repeated most often:

MYTH:    "We aren't allowed to meet with Big Sky one on one until after you're under contract." 

FACT:   Accounting to the White House and OMB, "The FAR, in Part 15, encourages exchanges of information with interested parties during the solicitation process, ending with the receipt of proposals. There is no requirement that the meetings include all possible offerors, nor is there a prohibition on one-on-one meetings."

Big Sky uses a 5-part process to make sure that we are exchanging information with the government in a way that is strictly compliant with the FAR. Our "Diagnostic" step, which occurs before any decision has been made by the government to issue an RFP, is designed to provide a robust information exchange with the government that does not provide our firm with preferential treatment, and also provides the government with information it can use with any offeror for any purpose. 

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