Why can’t Sam.gov get to the point already?

There’s a cautionary concept in journalism called burying the lead. A writer often gets too enamored with their own voice and the news. Why the reader should spend time on the story is in the fifth, sixth or even deeper in the story.

When that happens, the reader has usually given up already. I’ve been guilty of burying the lead and I might be risking that now.

So I’ll get right to the point — Sam.gov is ridiculous.

Yesterday/Monday, I wrote a story about Leidos winning the $2.5 billion NASA Advanced Enterprise Global Information Technology Solutions contract. NASA put the release out and I did some research on my own to flesh it out and add some perspective because it it a takeaway from incumbent Science Applications International Corp.

After my story was posted, I got an automated email from Sam.gov that there was a change involving the contract. It is a contract I’m “following” on Sam.gov.

I clicked on the link and go to Sam.gov. I wanted to see if there was some other bit of news or something that I should add to my story.

Once on the Sam.gov page, I start scrolling and scrolling. I used the “View Changes” function.

Nothing of importance there, but I also notice that there is nothing on the page about Leidos. No award notice. Nada. What the heck is this alert for?

I keep scrolling and scrolling past notices about things such as meetings from 10 months ago and the posting of slides from those long ago meetings. There is a section with links to all the solicitation documents for a contract that has now already been awarded.

Then finally at the very bottom is the news. In the history section of the notice in light blue type: “Award Notice.” The news is buried at the end of a long webpage full of information that is relatively unhelpful at this stage.

That sends me to the Sam.gov page listing Leidos as the winner.

Why make anyone work so hard to get to the newest information? Why didn’t the link in the automated email go directly to the notice with the award information?

If I didn’t know already that an award had been made, I likely would have given up, thinking that there was just some minor edit in the notice. I wasn’t following the Notice ID for the award posting because it didn’t exist yet for me to follow it.

Why two different Notice ID numbers? Why not for consistency sake use the same Notice ID (the solicitation number) for all notices related to a contract?

I have no idea. Sounds logical to me. But then again, much of the logic around Sam.gov escapes me.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Jun 29, 2021 at 1:12 PM