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What is a Debriefing? 

Ever heard of the word “debriefing”? If you haven’t, it’s time you are made aware of the value and importance of debriefings to your small business’s success. It is a requirement by the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) that agencies debrief unsuccessful offerors upon written request.  Despite the government’s efforts to create productive interactions with its industry partners, many misconceptions have been discouraging people from taking advantage of this tool. 


It’s time we change the negative preconceived notions on debriefings. Joshua shares that there are only two ways people should look at debriefings: information gathering and relationship building. 

In the commercial sense, you can’t build a relationship with the private company after you’ve lost the procurement. They will not even explain why you lost.

In government contracts, however, you can learn what went wrong with the procurement through debriefings.  

You can use this time to leverage your expertise and build a relationship with the agency so that they can, after you’ve lost the procurement, consider you in future opportunities. 

“If you’ve received a notice of unsuccessful, they (the procurement officers) are anticipating it on their end. For a contractor to not avail that opportunity, they’ve lost the opportunity to learn what they lost and to put themselves in front of agency personnel.”

Debriefings are not supposed to be adversarial. When you lose the bid, that does not mean that it is the end of your government contracting journey. It could very well be the start, depending on your mindset.


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