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Behind the Buy: The Importance of Bringing in Experienced Teams

In the seventh episode of Behind the Buy, U.S. CAO Anne Rung interviews GSA's Beth Hochberg on the importance of leveraging play #7 of the Digital Services Playbook.

Author’s Note: The "Behind the Buy" podcast features audio stories told by members of the Federal acquisition workforce who have successfully executed best practice IT contracting strategies from the TechFAR and Digital Services Playbook to help their agency meet its mission.

In the seventh episode of Behind the Buy, U.S. Chief Acquisition Officer Anne Rung interviews Beth Hochberg, an Assistant General Counsel at the General Services Administration (GSA) and GSA’s chief intellectual property (IP) lawyer. In addition to IP, Beth works on issues involving mobile device applications, technology transfer, and end user license agreements.  

Leveraging play #7 of the Digital Services Playbook—which recommends building project teams comprised of program managers, designers, engineers, and contracting officers who have experience building modern digital services—Beth discusses how bringing in the legal team early and often can help contracting officers and program managers avoid legal problems up front. The legal team can also help find creative solutions and approaches that exist within the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). Cross functional teams that consult with each other from the beginning help create more efficient, long-term procurements that save time and money, and deliver better digital services. 

Additionally, Beth addresses topics such as protecting end user data through the procurement process, the future of mobile device applications in the Federal Government, and how training contracting officers in specific subject areas (such as technology and IT) can help them navigate tricky intellectual property and data rights that agencies may seek to protect when delivering digital services.

Check out episode #7 of Behind the Buy to learn more.

Listen Here

  • The Digital Services Playbook outlines key "plays" drawn from private and public-sector best practices to help Federal agencies deliver services that work well for users and require less time and money to develop and operate.
  • The TechFAR Handbook explains how agencies can execute key plays in the Playbook in ways consistent with the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), which governs how the Government buys goods and services from the private sector.

About Behind the Buy:

To share best practices from tools like the Playbook and TechFAR, members of the Federal acquisition community recommended we use more innovative communication channels. The workforce wanted an interactive way to send and receive solutions that enhance the value of IT procurements for customers and taxpayers.  Those suggestions led to the creation of the Behind the Buy audio series, or podcast, a human-centered design approach that allows procurement and program offices to listen and learn about innovative IT contracting strategies while carrying on their daily work responsibilities.

Both the Playbook and TechFAR are edited on GitHub, where they serve as living documents that can be shared and shaped by digital experts across the country.  If you have a “Playbook or TechFAR-related” experience, let us know! We’d like to hear about your success story and take the Federal community Behind the Buy


Anne Rung is the U.S. Chief Acquisition Officer at the White House Office of Management and Budget.