DOES PROTESTING CREATE A “PYRRHIC” VICTORY?
A recent column on Federal News Radio.com takes the position that many protests result in, at best, a Pyrrhic victory. Why rock the boat, the writer argues, when “winning” might just annoy your customer? While this is certainly an important consideration, Allen Federal takes a different view. We generally see companies that are too reluctant to file a protest, even when they have a decent shot at remedial action. The latest GAO statistics, in fact, show that some sort of remedial action beneficial to the protester occurs about one-third of the time. On top of that, CO’s and program managers in the services and commercial IT arenas expect protests for large procurements. They even build protest time into their acquisition cycle. While no company should become a “serial protestor”, every company should ensure that its rights are protected. If the RFP or RFQ is vague, a pre-award protest before offers are due can help clear up confusion, to everyone’s benefit. If the agency didn’t evaluate the way they said they would, a timely post-award keeps everyone on the same playing field. Finally, contractors with a “no protest” policy place themselves at a competitive disadvantage. That could be the ultimate “Pyrrhic Victory” as you fail to protect yourself just so your customer stays happy.