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PTW (Price to Win) G&A vs. Overhead in Developing Aggressive Costs

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Developing Aggressive Pricing: Overhead vs. G&A

The government contracting arena is filled with words, phrases, and acronyms that can be difficult for the less experienced to define, let alone distinguish subtle differences between. G&A (General and Administrative) costs and OH (Overhead) costs are two good examples. What do they mean and, more importantly, what are the differences between the two?

What is Overhead?  

Overhead costs support the revenue-generating projects of the company. If a company had no projects, it would have no overhead expenses.   

What is G&A?  

General & Administrative support the overall management and operation of the business. Even if a company had no billable projects, it would still have G&A expenses. Think executive staff and leadership team.

Does My Company Need Separate Cost Centers for G&A and OH?

Early in a company’s evolution, it may not make sense to differentiate between OH and G&A expenses into a single cost pool. As the business grows, and you have more costs than base labor, breaking out OH from G&A may allow you to recoup some of the costs associated with processing those direct costs to which G&A can be applied.

Just to clarify, if an employee works on direct labor projects, any indirect labor or expenses that the employee incurs would be charged to an Overhead account. Similarly, if an employee does not work on direct labor projects, their time would be considered G&A and should be charged, along with any expenses incurred, accordingly.

How Flexible are the Classifications?

Many people believe they know which items go into each cost center, but every company is different. The process of classifying costs as G&A or OH is not as static as may first appear.  

When a new RFP comes in, you can define how your company is structured so you can spread the cost of the people involved in servicing the contract across a wider swath of employees, thus containing costs and keeping your pricing aggressive. 

Too many people in OH drives costs up, possibly making your bid non-competitive. Keep OH basic and contract-specific; classify company-specific costs under G&A. This isn’t always possible, but there is flexibility and in many cases, you can use both OH and G&A to arrive at pricing that is most aggressive and competitive. 

A lot of factors must combine to win a government contract, but learning how to get the most benefit out of OH vs. G&A costing is an important component in developing an effective Price to Win strategy.

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Parametric Price to Win (PTW) Analysis: When & How to Use It to Win More Work

business cityscape

When you’re looking for a ballpark estimate, an analogous (AKA “back of the envelope”) calculation may be all you need. After a quick look at the budget over the last five years, you can do a quick run rate, determine trends in play, and extrapolate those numbers into a rough estimate. Ultimately, this technique is based on assumptions and arbitrary percentages of planned growth, so the margin for error is significant. That said, it’s an approach that can still have value, especially in the absence of a lot of information; in fact, it may be the best you can do. 

A Parametric PTW strategy, however, is a quantitative approach that determines the expected cost of a project depending on market or historic information. Using the statistical relationship between past information and specific other variables, a parametric model looks at every requirement listed and applies costs to each. Far more granular than other estimating techniques, a parametric approach will yield more accurate information when the ingredients to perform one are there.  

Doing a Parametric PTW analysis is most accurate when you’re looking at building a project from the ground up. Below is a simple example to illustrate the concept. Keep in mind that, in reality, there are many other things that must be factored in, making the parametric model far more complex.

Example: A project team has been asked to estimate the cost of a new hotel, similar to facilities their company has built over the past five years. Using a Parametric PTW strategy, the team can use the company’s in-house database to track the costs, schedules, and other specifics of the previous projects. 

For an initial evaluation, the team will use the cost per square foot as the appropriate input parameter, extrapolating the future building’s cost per square foot using the rule of three. For exact types of buildings, the cost had amounted to $200 for every square ft in the past—the cost for every parameter unit. The current building is intended to occupy a space of 3,000 square feet—the parameter value for the new project. The calculation of the construction using parametric using the rule of three will be as follows.

Estimated construction cost (ECC) = $200×3,000 square foot = $600,000.

The parametric values, of course, can be reduced and adjusted as the needs of the project get more specific and requirements change.

When using a parametric PTW strategy, it is critical to understand the requirements the RFP is asking for. Look at minimum requirements and work to fulfill those. Create the cost to build the customer what they are asking for, not what you want to build or have built in the past.

When companies lose work, one of the reasons is frequently that they did not build what the customer was asking for. It’s important not to add unwanted bells and whistles to the client’s product.

Because obtaining historical information requires a lot of resources and effort, using a Parametric PTW technique can be expensive and time-consuming. However, when sufficient historical information is available, a Parametric PTW strategy is one of the best approaches for estimating resource requirements, duration, and cost.

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SWOT—So What?

SWOT analyses have been around a long time, and continue to be popular in the business development community. Unfortunately, the vast majority of SWOT analyses are essentially useless—not because the tool is broken, but because its not being used properly. The ultimate goal of a SWOT analysis is to produce actionable intelligence—and yet that is precisely the step that is most often neglected.

For the uninitiated, a SWOT analysis is a simple four-quadrant assessment of a competitors Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) in the context of a specific opportunity. It is a simple, easy-to-understand tool that helps identify the internal and external factors that either help or hinder a companys probability of winning.

Despite popular belief and practice, a SWOT analysis is not complete when the quadrants are filled.  When the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats have been identified, and documented in the four quadrants, this is merely the first step. The final step requires moving from observation to analysis. Observation provides the what,” while analysis provides the so what.” This requires developing key strategic implications from the SWOT factors. To put it another way, the next step” is to use the completed SWOT chart to predict likely actions the competitor will take.

Competitive analysis of any company must include a predictive element, which attempts to answer the question What is the company most likely to do next?” The four elements of a SWOT chart, if accurate, can be extremely useful in developing these predictions—but they do not explicitly provide the answers in and of themselves.

So how does one take this next step? There are several ways of deriving implications from a traditional SWOT chart—one of the more effective methods involves examining the intersections of the various factors two by two, in an attempt to discern the most likely action on the part of the company. For example: if the company has [Strength #1] and [Opportunity #1], therefore they would most likely do [Implication #1]; if the company has [Weakness #1] and [Opportunity #1], therefore they would most likely do [Implication #2], etc.

This may seem daunting, but the payoff is great! The result of this step is a list of likely competitor actions that are both rational and defensible. Can you see the value of providing such a list to decision-makers? It enables informed decision-making in a way that a SWOT chart simply cannot do. Yes, its more time-consuming, and prediction is inherently risky, but taking this step is the only way to get true value out of a SWOT analysis.

For more information on Competitive Intelligence or Price to Win Analysis, please contact Richter & Company.

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Gathering Competitive Intelligence Ethically

man researching on a computer

A common misperception is that “competitive intelligence” is synonymous with “corporate espionage.”  

Nothing could be further from the truth.  

Corporate espionage is an illegal activity where companies steal valuable information from their competitors in order to gain a competitive advantage.  It may involve tactics such as wiretapping or hacking into proprietary systems to gain unauthorized access to private information. In contrast, competitive intelligence is a legal and ethical activity that uses publicly available information to gain insight into a company’s capabilities, strengths and weaknesses, performance, and general approach, which can then be used to develop likely competitor strategies in a given competition. Competitive intelligence is a widely-used and valuable business practice that leads to developing customer-focused and competitor-countering strategies that improve a company’s probability of a win.  

With that said, it is important to understand the legal and ethical boundaries of competitive intelligence, so that your company will remain above reproach in all of its competitive intelligence efforts.  Following are a few best practices to keep in mind when gathering competitive intelligence:

Define Ethical for Yourself & Your Company

Ethical boundaries are ultimately determined by the customer. For example, in the federal contracting space, the customer is the US government. Because the US government is funded by the American taxpayer and is therefore accountable to them, federal agencies are obligated to ensure that the way they use their allocated dollars is completely fair and free of any fraud, waste, or abuse. This results in a very high standard for what is ethical. Other industries and other countries, however, may have different ethical standards. That’s why it’s so important for you to determine what your company’s definition of ethical is and direct everyone at all levels of the organization to follow those standards. 

Develop a Culture of Ethics and Integrity

Be careful to avoid any ethical gray areas so that you can avoid being removed from a competition because of a real or perceived breach of ethical boundaries. As you collect competitive data, make notes about where you found it. It could be important in the future in case you need to prove that it did not come from a protected source. Talk frequently and openly inside your company about the safe sources to tap for information-gathering and ways to steer clear of any ethical danger zones.

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OutsideIn™ Analysis: Seeing Yourself As Others See You

man examining analyses on wall

Capture teams in the government contracting world spend a lot of time trying to determine the right balance of solutions and strategies that will differentiate them from their competitors and make them more attractive to their customers. Deciding how best to position your company, understanding what your competitors know about you, and analyzing how that is likely to impact any potential decisions means challenging all your assumptions about your business. Our experience is that the best way to do that is through an unbiased view of your capabilities that is free from internal influence.

Traditionally, businesses have evaluated their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats from an internal vantage point. Known as an “inside out” strategy, this approach looks at what the company can accomplish using existing resources, typically by streamlining operations and reducing spending. While the “inside out” strategy may create short-term shareholder gains, this focus ultimately limits the company’s ability to note emerging trends and adapt to changing markets. 

A landmark book entitled Strategy from the Outside In: Profiting from Customer Value upended conventional wisdom about how to analyze a company and make improvements. This is the first reference in print to the concept of “outside in” thinking, an approach that uses customer trends as benchmarks for product and service development. Its premise is built on the idea that studying customer trends from an external perspective is the most effective way to design their strategy. 

At Richter & Company, we have adapted these strategies into a service called OutsideIn™ Analysis. By turning our proven competitive intelligence-gathering process onto you instead of your colleagues in the marketplace, we can leverage open-source research to identify how you, your team, your capabilities, and your solutions are being perceived. 

Our OutsideIn™ Analysis provides you with a third-party, objective assessment based on our independent research, interpreted using our sophisticated tools in light of our extensive experience. Only open-source material is collected and analyzed; no proprietary information is gathered. The earlier an OutsideIn™ Analysis can be performed in the capture process, the more effective it can be. 

Businesses can be slow to adopt an outside-in analysis because it goes against the grain of traditional systems planning. Whereas “inside out” thinking leverages software to smooth processes and increase efficiency for back-end systems, an “outside in” approach embraces forward-compatibility with an emphasis on designing systems based on emerging data to create value for the end user and solve evolving customer issues. 

As fast as the market changes, it’s increasingly important to know and understand your customers. In a down market, it’s a temptation to overlook the long view, instead of focusing on short-term strategies that will increase revenue and decrease costs. It’s proving more effective, however, for companies to focus on external trends, customer behaviors, and new technologies that are changing the industry landscape going forward.

OutsideIn™ Analysis is one of the best ways to help you see what your competitors are seeing, and in many cases, deliver the eye you need to win.

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Price-to-Win: The Trade-off Between Capabilities & Price

Competitive analysts studying

A big part of winning a deal in the federal marketplace depends on how effective your PTW (Price-to-Win) strategy, or position, is. Keep in mind that a winning PTW position starts with a bottom-up analysis based on the requirements spelled out in the solicitation documents, but it doesn’t stop there. In order to arrive at an effective PTW strategy, you also need to consider open-source data and a set of defensible assumptions…

…which brings me to the most important thing about Price-to-Win. PTW isn’t a number. It’s not the amount you need to bid to win the deal. Think of PTW as a strategy or a position that represents the trade-off between the capabilities you offer within the context of your understanding of the customer’s requirements, and the cost, price, and strategy they will use to evaluate proposals. (Also keep in mind that what is used in government contracting is an artificial construct meant to create an “apple to apples” comparison.)

It’s important to keep in mind that we bid on work for different reasons, and the price we submit reflects those motivations. If our objective is to win the deal at all costs, we will offer to perform the contract’s requirements at a price that’s well below what we expect everyone else to offer. I’ve heard of federal contractors positioning themselves to win jobs at all costs to inflate the company’s value in light of a near term sale. Companies who are entering a new marketplace who want to take the field by storm may be willing to offer an extremely low price in order to make a splash, get their foot in the door, and earn a little brand recognition. And in those cases when we are asked to bid by a customer who is concerned about the level of competition, our courtesy bid is likely to be too high to win.

Depending on your motives, you can throw something over the transom that’s either artificially high or low to protect yourself against the win or to maximize your chances of being awarded the contract.

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Winning in the Federal Marketplace: Does the Incumbent Still Have the Advantage?

businessman-signing-contract

Time was when incumbents nearly always won the day in the federal marketplace. Typically, service contracts repeat themselves at the end of a 3–5 year contract period, and, despite the incumbent’s inherent advantage, federal agencies allow these contractors to bid on the repeat contract. I can’t give you the exact statistic, but I have been paying attention, and I estimate that it used to be that over 90 percent of incumbent contractors were successful in winning the contract again… and again.

It used to be that unless your Competitive Analysis (CA) was indicating that the incumbent was underperforming or had fallen out of favor for some other reason, submitting a bid was close to an exercise in futility. Government agencies used to view the transition from one contractor to another as costly and full of risk; therefore, come rebid time, the incumbent was more than likely to capture — again. Unfair? Maybe. But when you play in the government’s sandbox, they make the rules. You can take your pail and shovel and go home, or stick around and learn how to play the game when you are not the incumbent.

Today, incumbents have a very large target on their backs. Where at one time their past history with the federal agency was nothing but an advantage, in many ways, that’s changed. For one thing, incumbents have established price and performance expectations with the customer that may not be viable anymore. The incumbent’s numbers may have changed, yet the customer nevertheless expects the same pricing structure. Regardless, incumbents are often stuck with the structure and approach they’ve always used and may be penalized when they try to convert it to one that is more efficient and cost-effective now.

Another disadvantage the incumbent may have is that, at the end of the day, they know too much. You’ve probably heard the adage “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.” If you believe that, you’ll understand when I mean when I tell you that, in the federal marketplace, a lot of knowledge is an even more dangerous thing.

Translation?

Anyone who’s been around the block even once in the federal contracting world knows that nothing is more important than 1. understanding what a solicitation’s requirements actually are, and 2. addressing them in meticulous detail. However, when an incumbent reads a new proposal from a contractor for whom they have worked — especially on the same contract — they often “read between the lines” rather than focus on what the solicitation is actually asking for. And that’s a big mistake.

Certainly, leveraging CA and your own intuition about the customer and their solicitation makes sense, but only up to a point. When you have knowledge about a customer that you have gained from experience, even if it’s not germane to the solicitation at hand, it can be difficult NOT to think you know more than the customer does about what they want. Thinking you understand what the customer really, really, REALLY wants more than they do is the beginning of the end.

Bottom line? If you’re a non-incumbent, you have a better shot at winning than you used to… especially if you follow a few basic rules that will amplify your advantages:

  1. Understand in detail what the solicitation requirements are. Whether you’re the incumbent or not, you need to understand what represents the most value to the customer. That said, as a non-incumbent, you have the advantage of viewing a solicitation with fresh eyes, making you more likely to focus on what’s actually being requested, and that’s a big plus. 
  2. Understand how the evaluation process will be performed. Do your homework so you can understand the process the decision-makers are likely to use as well as any bias that the people doing the evaluation may have. Address these, but make absolutely certain your response sticks to the requirements as written and that you adhere scrupulously to the eval process.
  3. Create a solution. Your solution needs to be minimally compliant with the requirements defined at a price point that is competitive with where you believe the incumbent will be in the competition. This is no time to show off. Don’t provide too much value. You don’t want to be kicked to the curb because your solution is either too expensive or not achievable.

Finally, capture strategies are very much based on “What have you done for me lately?” Incumbents tend to think that the customer is more invested in their future working relationship with them than they probably are. It’s a mistake to think that a customer you’re currently working with really, really, REALLY wants to keep you and will do so at all costs. After 30 years in the federal marketplace, I can tell you that if someone else builds a better mousetrap and/or at a lower price point, most customers are all over it, which is good news for the non-incumbent.

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Price To Win: Know When to Hold ‘em and When to Fold ‘em

In today’s federal marketplace, anyone can compete for business.

And anyone can win—at least some of the time. It’s the possible losses, however, that can provide more than experience to learn from—they can, at times, be ruinous.

Therein lies the rub.

Because opportunity incurs costs—in resources, bid and proposal feeds, and your staff’s time, smart would-be government contractors know that Price To Win (PTW) strategies are a key part of capture. Smart government contractors can tell you that identifying your Price To Win position is more than a number; a true PTW strategy reflects the complex relationship between your customer needs, their allocated budget, and their spending patterns.

Industry expert Randy Richter, Chairman and Price To Win Director at Richter & Company will tell you that even smarter contractors take the definition of PTW a bit further. These competitors know that determining their PTW position for a given opportunity not only involves factoring in the impact of their customers’ needs, budgets, and spending patterns, but also analyzes their competitors’ solutions, strategies, tactics and degree of aggressiveness throughout the bid cycle.

But only the smartest contractors, says Richter, understand when the PTW process should actually begin. “Some will say that the process should begin early in the life cycle of the bidding process, but in reality, the smartest competitors begin crafting their PTW strategies well before a draft RFP is in place,” he says. “The wisest decision a contractor can make is not to try to decide how to win a bid, but whether to compete at all. Sometimes, the better part of valor in government contracting is to step back from a given opportunity so you can live to fight another day.”

Richter says his firm’s PTW support is provided by experienced analysts who understand the government process, know how to price, and can think outside of the box. “We train our team to ethically gather information, analyze it to create actionable intelligence, and develop solid assumptions,” said Richter. “We then customize our proven processes and tools that we’ve developed to each potential competitor’s situation to produce accurate, defensible results.”

There are two ways to build a PTW strategy:

  • The Top Down process uses historical data, including information on bids previously awarded and budget information to identify the parties’ “comfort zones.” In other words, a Top Down determines in what range customers tend to award bids, and where competitors tend to receive them. The Top Down approach is best used in early gate reviews to help firms decide whether to compete at all, and/or to develop proactive solutions using “design to cost” approaches. Effective Top Down efforts can be pursued easily and affordably as ongoing projects because very little data is required.
  • A Bottom Up PTW analysis is best performed as soon as customer requirements and evaluation processes are known, typically once the DRFP is released. Based on identifying targeted competitors’ solutions, building up their costs, and identifying how these costs will be prices using their strategies, is the foundation of Bottom Up PTW reviews. Results are updated as new solicitation documents become available, with work continuing to cover amendments, ENs, FPRs, and negotiations.

Once you have your PTW position, what needs to happen next? To compete, or not to compete. To engage in the game and work to win the hand, or—like The Gambler—know when to walk away and when to run? Hold ‘em or fold ‘em?

Richter says this is one of the most important moments in the entire process—where a business decision must be made that only the potential federal contractor can make. “Our job is to show our client the position they need to achieve to beat their competitors, but whether they should attempt to move their company into that ‘win zone’ is entirely up to the firm’s leadership.

If you need more information to decide about whether to engage, my best advice is to ask questions,” said Richter. “I always told my kids that the only dumb question is the one you don’t ask, and I extend that advice to our clients today. Unless the project is classified, of course, why not take a chance? Ask the question. You just might get the answer you need to make an informed decision.”

Richter & Company’s consistent process, innovative tools and experienced staff have helped customers win over $30 billion since 2006.

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Competitive Analysis Leads to a More Successful Price to Win

Businessmen discussing an analysis

“It is wiser to find out than to suppose”. – Mark Twain

Many organizations and capture leaders understand and appreciate the value of Price to Win analysis in enhancing Pwin. Unfortunately, some view Price to Win as a standalone activity that does not require Competitive Analysis to support it. For those who are not familiar with Price to Win, it is more than a number; it reflects the complex relationship between customer needs and budgets and bidder solutions and strategies. It represents a tradeoff between price and capability that forms the foundation for successful bid strategies.

Therefore, Price to Win is based on data and assumptions about the customer and the competitors. So where does that data come from if not from Competitive Analysis? Oftentimes, capture teams believe they already have all the answers thanks to their years of experience in a given market– but this often leads to a rude awakening when they lose to a surprise competitor or an unexpected strategy. There are questions that must be answered– questions as simple as:

  • Who is the customer (decision-makers AND influencers), and what are their hot buttons?
  • Who are the competitors?
  • What are the competitors’ capabilities? solutions? strategies? discriminators? strengths and weaknesses?

There are also more complex questions that are more specific to a Price to Win– questions such as:

  • How will the customer calculate the total evaluated price?
  • What are the competitors’ cost structures?
  • How do competitors plan to bid in terms of teammates, locations, and aggressiveness?
  • What component pricing data is publicly available to help develop the bottom-up cost estimate?

These are all questions that Competitive Analysis can help answer, and as Mark Twain said, “It is wiser to find out than to suppose.” Early engagement in the procurement process allows more time to gather competitive intelligence and identify additional questions that can further increase win probability.

Competitive Analysis allows an understanding of customer requirements and the ability to craft solutions that beat the competition. This allows for an independent assessment of the competitors’ capabilities, strategies, and potential solutions.

As organizations approach Price to Win, it is important to remember that price is NOT simply cost + profit, as most tend to think of it. More accurately, price = cost + strategy. This makes Competitive Analysis the other strategic half of a successful Price to Win process. It is nearly impossible to develop the optimum strategy to position your solution without both.

For more information about Competitive Analysis or Price to Win, contact Richter & Company, and we’ll be happy to help you take the guesswork out of a potentially winning solution.

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Virtual Black Hats — Five Success Factors

Group of business peopleThe COVID-19 pandemic has forced all of us to adapt to new ways of doing business virtually. Many of us who previously looked askance at telework and virtual meetings have been forced to embrace them along with many now-familiar tools and platforms such as Zoom, GoToMeeting, and Webex.

But what about Black Hats? Can a Black Hat be conducted virtually? And if so, can it be done effectively? As someone who for years spoke out against the idea of a virtual Black Hat, I’m pleased to say the answer to both questions is YES! I’ve now had the privilege of organizing and facilitating multiple virtual competitor Black Hat sessions, with more to come, and I have found that the success of a virtual Black Hat depends on the following Five Critical Success Factors:

  1. Participants
  2. Preparation
  3. Facilitation
  4. Engagement
  5. Virtual Platform

The more experienced readers may notice that the first four of these success factors are pretty much the same as a standard in-person Black Hat — TRUE! However, there are some subtle differences that apply in a virtual context.

  1. Participant selection remains the most crucial success factor of any Black Hat, for the simple reason that the participants are the Black Hat. The findings, conclusions, and recommendations of a Black Hat represent the collective belief of the group. As in computing, so in Black Hats — “garbage in, garbage out.” Finding the right participants can be challenging, but the virtual setting can make it a little easier by removing the need to be local or able to travel.
Recommendation: Look for employees who are knowledgeable about the customer and/or the competitors, and willing to spend the time to share that knowledge over the course of a day or so. Remember to include employees of teammates (assuming a firm teaming agreement and NDA are in place), as well as outside consultants as necessary.
  1. Preparation refers to pre-Black Hat homework for the participants. This is important for the same reason that participant selection is important — because the more knowledgeable participants are, the more accurate their conclusions will be. So participants must be well-prepared, bringing not just their historical knowledge, but enhancing and refreshing that knowledge with up-to-date research.
Recommendation: Provide participants with read-ahead materials (on the opportunity, the customer, and the competitors) and urge them to augment it with their own independent research in advance of the Black Hat.
  1. Facilitation is just as crucial, if not more so, in a virtual setting as it is in-person. The facilitator is responsible for guiding the discussion by asking questions, capturing and clarifying responses, drawing out insights, and seeking consensus, all while quelling the inevitable “rabbit trail” discussion or capture team interjection. In a virtual Black Hat, the facilitator has the added burden of grappling with the technical elements of the meeting itself — in other words, setting up and operating the virtual platform and running the meeting.
Recommendation: Appoint or employ a skilled, strong, yet flexible facilitator with good listening skills and excellent communication and IT skills; conduct practice sessions ahead of time to test screen sharing and editing functions; consider delegating meeting logistics to a co-facilitator.
  1. Engagement of all participants has historically been a challenge for virtual meetings, where participants have the ability to mute cameras and microphones and “go dark,” but this is where the collective quarantine has helped us somewhat. With the in-person option eliminated, a switch has been flipped in most of our brains that says, “I have to make this work.” And since necessity is the mother of invention, we have adapted out of necessity. But disengaged or disinterested participants undermine even the most well-planned Black Hat, so organizers and facilitators must do everything they can to keep people engaged.
Recommendation: Encourage and incentivize active participation (webcams and mics unmuted), take frequent breaks, direct questions to specific people to keep them alert, and avoid “side-bar” discussions that exclude some participants and tempt them to “check-out.”
  1. The Virtual Platform is the one critical tool that separates a virtual Black Hat from a standard in-person Black Hat. Whether you use Zoom, Skype, Webex, or GoToMeeting (my personal favorite), the platform you choose must provide the basic functions of screen sharing for the facilitator, and audio for all participants. Quality is important, so participants should ensure good bandwidth and minimal background noise. Video for participants is optional, but can help people feel more connected and stay engaged.
    NOTE: Some organizations prefer to conduct Competitor Black Hats in multiple parallel “tracks” or “break-out sessions.” This admittedly is more complicated to do virtually, but not impossible, as some virtual meeting platforms (e.g., Zoom, GoToTraining) provide the ability to divide the team into smaller groups temporarily before coming back together as a large group. But using this feature has drawbacks, introducing more complexity and potential for confusion.
Recommendation: Research platform options to identify strengths and weaknesses and verify compatibility with company networks and systems. Thoroughly test well in advance of the Black Hat session; consider assessing competitors in serial instead of in parallel tracks for simplicity.

For more information about Virtual Black Hats or Virtual Black Hat Reviews, please contact us at Info@RichterAndCompany.com.