The Benefits of a Successfully Executed Third-Party Assessment for Government Contractors

Feb 28, 2024

The Benefits of a Successfully Executed Third-Party Assessment for Government Contractors

In our industry, gaining as much insight as possible about contractor performance is always crucial, and who better to know about the positives and negatives of a program than your own Government customers?

In this article, we will break down an incredibly valuable tool that assists in gaining contractor feedback called the Third-Party Assessment (TPA) and how you can benefit from it. TPAs present an opportunity to have an objective third party speak to customer personnel involved in a program and obtain knowledge that may not come up on a day-to-day basis. A successfully executed TPA can be priceless if you understand the strengths of the assessment and underlying benefits for program improvement. 

What is a Third-Party Assessment and its underlying benefits?

Since TPAs are a bit “outside the norm” of average proposal activities, let's first discuss what it is and the value it can bring to your program. TPAs are an in-depth, independent examination of the established business relationships between a contractor and their Government Agency customer. Acting on behalf of the Contractor, the third-party assessor speaks with Government workers and individuals involved in the contracted program to find new avenues of program insight and performance improvement in applicable areas such as mission performance, program management, or cost.

A successful TPA ensures that the Government's feedback aligns with the future vision of the project. When setting up the interviews, we use established templates to aid in obtaining government approval for the assessment. This ensures smooth collaboration and communication between the government customer and assessor.

TPA Definition Quote Graphic

KSI works with our clients to tailor standard questions in various categories, such as technical performance, management, and personnel, to the specific program, and we present questions at a high level that are easy for the Government to answer. We incorporate our client's program background knowledge into the assessment process, allowing for a natural flow of constructive criticism and feedback.

Creating a comfortable and relaxed environment during the assessment allows for more organic and conversational discussions. By keeping the questions at a high level, the Government customer can freely share insights on day-to-day activities that might not typically surface during standard performance evaluations. This open dialogue uncovers valuable feedback for program improvement. Thumbs DownThumbs Up

In our industry, TPAs can be a tremendous opportunity to gain feedback from a neutral perspective. These evaluations, when conducted well in advance of any recompete solicitations or new proposal activities, can help companies maintain and improve quality performance. 

Collaboration and Scheduling Interviews 

After a client contacts us about performing the assessment, we meet with the client’s senior management team to begin to tailor our standard questions to their program and discuss the process. We make sure to gain background knowledge on the program to tailor questions to the specific program and gain meaningful feedback. Also, we ensure that the Government Agency or client customer has approved the assessment in order to move forward. KSI provides various approval letter templates to introduce the process to the Government customer and quickly gain approval. 

During the coordination and scheduling of independent interviews, we maintain a flexible schedule and regularly reach out to individuals to ensure ample time for discussing the assessment. This approach allows the Government customer to appreciate the adaptability as we strive to find a suitable time that aligns with their availability.

Conducting the Interviews

Since TPAs are an informal process, we establish an environment and opportunity for impartial feedback during conversations with the Government customer. We incorporate a mix of open-ended and straightforward questions to allow respondents the chance to delve deeper than just numerical figures, focusing on actionable improvements that can truly impact the program. We ask probing follow-up questions regarding both positive performance and potential problems, emphasizing actionable changes to improve performance over scores on any of the sections.

Interview Checklist

If we focus on performance improvement and create an open dialogue environment, then the Government customer will be more likely to provide useful feedback. While it's important to uncover valuable insights into contractor performance, we approach our questioning with a delicate balance, ensuring we gather information effectively without overwhelming our Government customers with excessive pressure. We look for consistent patterns of issues and gain deeper situational awareness with each interview, allowing us to see the big picture from multiple perspectives and getting us one step closer to identifying real opportunities for improvement.  

Interpreting the Results

Now that we have focused on assessment goals through contractor feedback, coordinated interviews, and created an open dialogue environment, we must pull out the details and figure out how the answers can be applied to overall program improvement. We can pinpoint the issues and relay the information to a team member who can begin to solve the problem if we focus on the areas that received an overall low score. Since these answers can be left up to interpretation, we can gain additional ideas or insight if we bring in a colleague who was not involved in the process.


Approaching the results and interpretation as a team can ensure that the Government is aware that we take their comments seriously. The Government is the one to approve the assessment process, so this is an opportunity to show a commitment to the customer and internal growth with specific steps for addressing any newly discovered issues. You will improve your business relationship if you properly address the issues that the assessment uncovered.  

Final Report


Third-Party Assessments are a great way to gain performance feedback that individuals may hesitate to speak on during day-to-day activities. We gain specific and actionable feedback on contractor performance by establishing a friendly and comfortable space throughout the assessment process. 

Since the Government customer approved and committed time to the TPA, they will likely anticipate a summary of results and next steps. This provides an excellent opportunity to grow the business relationship with a client and work as a collaborative team to solve program issues or missteps. Better client relations and a focus on improved performance can go a long way toward retaining your customers in the long term. When properly executed, a TPA can result in a positive experience for you, your client, and the taxpayer’s dollar. 

If you're interested in learning more about a Third Party Assessment, contact KSI. 

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Thomas Abraham

Written by Thomas Abraham

Thomas Abraham is a Proposal Development Consultant at Key Solutions. He is certified at the Foundation Level by APMP and is a skilled proposal writer. Thomas has extensive experience in conducting Third Party Assessments to help government contractors improve their program performance. He is an alumnus of Virginia Commonwealth University where he studied English, Literature, and Creative Writing.

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