Civilian Services Acquisition Workshop (CSAW)

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What is a CSAW?

A Civilian Services Acquisition Workshop (SAW or CSAW) is a facilitated requirements development workshop built around a specific acquisition and its multi-functional integrated project team (IPT). The workshop walks the complete team through the Steps to Performance Based Acquisition (PBA) process from beginning to end.

CSAW purpose

Develop the vision, mission, high-level objectives, performance requirements, measurable standards and performance-based strategies for the agency project and a roadmap to complete it.

CSAW Focus

The primary focus of the CSAW is to get all members of the acquisition team or IPT contributing and working together to accomplish the necessary work. CSAWs focus on getting actual work product started (and possibly completed), giving the team the tools (knowledge, skills and understanding) to continue the process through to completion, and building a team commitment to continuing to work together.

CSAW objectives

  • Understand the Performance-Based Acquisition (PBA) process and the Steps to PBA
  • Explore the tools, resources, techniques, innovations and best practices to successfully execute this requirement
  • Collaborate as a team through facilitated activities to develop draft documentation for this requirement
  • Develop a high-level roadmap for successful implementation of this performance-based acquisition
  • Gain consensus on critical decisions and the path ahead

Check out this video on CSAWs: Civilian Services Acquisition Workshops

Check out this on Breaking Barriers to Acquisition: Civilian Services Acquisition Workshops

  • Workshops bring the right team of people together based on pre-workshop engagement with executive sponsor(s) and project manager
  • The highly structured, facilitated workshop is built around the specific needs of the team while walking them through all the steps in the PBA process
  • Teams collaborate to develop the mission, vision, high-level objectives, and team success factors
  • Teams identify market research needs, high-level risks, key stakeholders, and a high-level communications strategy
  • Teams will identify and refine performance requirements with associated performance standards, AQLs, and quality assurance approach
  • Teams work together on each step in the PBA process and document the additional actions that will need to be taken after the workshop to complete each step
  • Throughout the workshop, teams will gain consensus on their work products and path ahead

  • Reduced lead times and better team dynamics
  • Greater participation and accelerated team performance
  • Clarity of purpose that is shared among all members
  • Better overall project management
  • Better performance outcomes
  • A high-level roadmap for working together to accomplish the project
  • Increased stakeholder buy-in the end product

For the SAW to be effective, all members of the acquisition team or IPT need to attend. However, the program manager, contracting officer, and contracting officer’s representatives (CORs) MUST attend the complete workshop. The SAW should be attended by all key members of the acquisition team. Typically this includes:

  • Program / Project Manager
  • Contracting Officer and Specialist
  • Contracting Officer’s Representative
  • Technical Representatives / SMEs
  • ‘Customer’ Representatives (Requirements Owners / Key-Users)
  • Oversight/Management Personnel Representatives (quality assurance specialist(s), inspector(s))
  • Senior Leadership (to kickoff CSAW and possibly attend on the last day)
  • OPTIONAL: Small business representative(s) (if applicable)
  • OPTIONAL: Legal Counsel (if there are known legal complexities requiring significant input and participation)
  • OPTIONAL: Budget / Finance Office Representative (when needed)

The duration of a CSAW is generally five (5) days for a virtual workshop, though more complex acquisitions may require follow-on sessions. Attendees will need to be present for all 5 days to fully participate in the workshop’s facilitated team activities, as well as to receive CLPs.

  1. Complete intake form [DOCX - 76 KB] and send to csaw@gsa.gov
  2. Set up intake meeting (30 min video call)
    • Purpose: Learn more about you and your team, discuss the workshop format and requirements, discuss next steps and what we need from your team, and look at potential dates for a workshop. The workshops are built around a specific requirement and its acquisition team. Attendees should include the POC, the program/project manager, the contracting officer, the COR and ideally, the project sponsor.
  3. Decide on date for workshop
  4. Schedule separate 1 hour interviews with the following:
    • The project sponsor (senior leader) - if available
    • The Contracting Office (CO & CS, supervisory CO optional, but welcome)
    • The Program Manager and team
    • Purpose: During these interviews, we will work to understand your requirements in more detail and from different perspectives, identify areas of focus for the workshop, and discuss logistics and workshop participation.
  5. Conduct CSAW workshop
  6. Send CSAW participants workshop documentation and CLPs

CSAWs are facilitated workshops built around a specific acquisition and their acquisition team or integrated project team (IPT). The workshop walks the team through the performance-based acquisition (PBA) process.

If you are interested in becoming a certified CSAW facilitator or co-facilitator, please review the CSAW Facilitator Certification Memo on requirements for the following:

  • Certified CSAW Co-Facilitator (CCC)
  • Certified CSAW Facilitator (CCF)

CSAW Facilitator Certification Memo [PDF - 257 KB]

Last Reviewed: 2023-02-07