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Understand the regulatory landscape

Laws, regulations, and policies may obligate or constrain what your partners are able to do. You are likely to be told “that’s the way we have to do it” or “we’re not allowed to do it any other way.” It will be important for you to understand what is truly legally required versus what is “just the way it’s always been done” so you can help your partners stay in compliance while also cutting through unnecessary layers of bureaucracy.  

Considerations: A good understanding of the regulatory landscape…

  • Defines the legal requirements that constrain the “as-is” process

  • Distinguishes between requirements and customs

Activities: How to get there

  • Define the regulatory authority used in the current process and why it is used.

  • Identify the policy requirements, standard operating procedures, and/or restrictions that will influence planning for the future state.

  • Understand the people, decisions, processes, and tools the current team has put in place to satisfy these requirements.

  • Get explanations for why things are done the way they are, gauge satisfaction with the current way of doing things, and solicit feedback on what people would like to change.

  • Work with your acquisitions specialist to understand the partner’s budgeting process, including the source of funds, year of funds, and the people accountable for the funds and their objectives/goals.

Incorporation: What to do next with it

  • Report out findings to stakeholders to help them understand their constraints and opportunities.

  • Draw on your findings to help your partner define a path forward to achieve their desired future state.

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18F Product Guide is a product of GSA’s Technology Transformation Services, and is managed by 18F.

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