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Acquisition Plan (AP) Template

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Table of Content:
What is an Acquisition Plan (AP)?
How Does The Acquisition Plan Contribute to Acquisition Process Improvement?
How to Write an Acquisition Plan?
Acquisition Plan Online Resources

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.

What is an Acquisition Plan (AP)?

Acquisition Plan Definition

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.

Who Should—or Shouldn't—Write the Acquisition Plan?

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.

When is a Written Acquisition Plan Required?

"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:

  1. Informal acquisition plan template—An informal acquisition plan template is used for acquisitions not requiring a formal acquisition plan template. The documentation and level of detail in the informal acquisition plan template is commensurate with the value, complexity, and significance of the acquisition.
  2. Formal acquisition plan template—Required usually for anything over a predetermined dollar amount threshold per year or for all years for certain items, and for any acquisition that packages or consolidates discrete acquisition projects.

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.

How so?

How Does The Acquisition Plan Template Contribute to Acquisition Process Improvement?

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:

How to Write an Acquisition Plan?

"Can you give me an example of an acquisition plan format?"
"Do you have an acquisition plan template that I can use?"

Use short sentences, action verbs, work words, and the active voice to write a punchy, action-oriented acquisition plan.

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:

  1. Acquisition background and objectives—The acquisition plan should provide brief but comprehensive information about the acquisition background, drivers behind the change decision (e.g., timeframe, constraints, threats), and who authorizes and directs the acquisition efforts:
    1. Statement of Need (Mission Need Statement [MNS]);
    2. Historical Summary; and
    3. Applicable Conditions.
  2. Technical issues—The acquisition plan should describe the technical and performance aspects of the acquisition program and operational activities:
    1. Capability or Performance Description (Acquisition Program Baseline [APB]);
    2. Delivery or Performance-period Requirements;
    3. Test and Evaluation; and
    4. Logistics Considerations.
  3. Business and management issues—The acquisition plan should describe the contractual aspects of the acquisition program and management activities:
    1. Cost, Budgeting, and Funding;
    2. Trade-offs and Risks;
    3. Contracting Considerations;
    4. Contractor vs. Government Performance and Inherently Government Functions;
    5. Contract Administration, Management Information Requirements and Technical Data;
    6. Transition Planning; and
    7. Government Furnished Information and Property.
  4. Other considerations—The acquisition plan should discuss topics such as safety, environmental impact, privacy impact, and security as judged appropriate to the actual acquisition process:
    1. Priorities, Allocations and Allotments;
    2. Make or Buy, or Buy/Lease;
    3. Environmental Consideration and Energy Conservation; and
    4. Privacy Risks and Mitigation Measures;
    5. Security Considerations; and
    6. Other Issues.
  5. Participants in Acquisition Plan Developments—The acquisition plan should list the individuals who participate in preparing the acquisition plan and their detailed contact information (e.g., CFO, CIO, Contract Officer [CO]).
  6. Milestones for the Acquisition Cycle—The acquisition plan should finally include a time-based acquisition milestone chart showing the major events of the acquisition process in chronological order.

    The acquisition plan should explicitly identify the Milestone Decision Points (MDP) of the acquisition process, e.g., acquisition plan approval, Procurement Request (PR) package preparation (e.g., Request for Proposals [RFP], Invitation for Bids [IFB]), issuance of synopsis and solicitation, contract Award).

Acquisition Plan Template—Online Resources

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