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Writing an Acquisition Plan (AP) Made Easy!
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We'll talk about the acquisition plan template in a minute—where to find information about it and how to use it—but before let's define first what an acquisition plan is.
An Acquisition Plan (AP) is the comprehensive document that sets forth the acquisition strategy (AS), defines the efforts required to implement it, and ensures coordination of all human and organizational resources involved in fulfilling the organization's needs in a timely manner and at a reasonable cost.
Experts in the field of acquisition or procurement have already generated their own acquisition plan template to help them save time and mitigate inherent risks efficiently—up to you to leverage their work.
A grounded acquisition plan template addresses all the technical, business, management, and other significant considerations that will control the program throughout the acquisition life cycle.
The acquisition plan template should be brief but comprehensive. It should help the acquirer lay out information about the acquisition background, and presents products and services required to properly carry out the acquisition process. The acquisition plan template covers all phases of the acquisition process within the investment life cycle, i.e., from acquisition program initiation through operation, and support. It may reference other acquisition documents where applicable.
Because acquisition planning is an inherently sensitive function, the acquisition plan is typically prepared by the acquiring organization's qualified personnel.
Contractor support personnel shall not normally be employed in direct support of acquisition planning or in the development of the acquisition plan. If contractor personnel need to be involved in preparing the acquisition plan, appropriate non-disclosure agreements (NDA) must be obtained.
Worth to mention that particular attention must be taken regarding a potential organizational conflict of interest (OCI) with prospective offerors—issue that should be explicitly addressed in the acquisition plan template.
"Which acquisitions require the preparation of a written acquisition plan?"
Being part of a process flow, the acquisition plan represents the output document of the acquisition planning process, and the input document of each Milestone Decision Point (MDP) within the acquisition process to ensure acquisition activities stay aligned with the acquisition strategy set forth. Therefore, the acquisition plan is written upon the acquisition strategy being defined and before the acquisition process initiation.
Writing an acquisition plan is the second and last step of acquisition planning—definition of the acquisition strategy being the first step.
They are 2 kinds of acquisition plan templates, as appropriate for a given acquisition initiative:
Writing an acquisition plan is not that an easy exercise. We'll give you some tips for writing an effective acquisition plan in a moment; but before, you need to remember that the acquisition plan is a key element of an acquisition process improvement initiative.
Although aiming at acquiring specific products and services, the acquisition plan template should be used to write an acquisition plan with a larger perspective in mind—i.e., to reuse it in subsequent acquisitions by identifying and streamlining acquisition activities that could be repeated.
Writing an acquisition plan is a procedure referenced and defined by several software engineering (SE) standards (e.g., ISO, IEC, IEEE), software acquisition improvement models (e.g., CMMI-ACQ), and IT governance frameworks (e.g., CObIT) that are implemented by organizations as part of their acquisition process improvement initiative. Most often, they offer an embryonal acquisition plan template, as follows:
"Can you give me an example of an acquisition plan format?"
"Do you have an acquisition plan template that I can use?"
Before using the acquisition plan template, it's highly recommended that you read the recommendations below.
To write a good acquisition plan, keep in mind that it's important to be clear and concise, and to use short sentences and the active voice. This will have more impact on the persons who read the acquisition plan because they're involved in—and responsible for—its execution.
Here are the 6 parts of the acquisition plan template:
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