Sometimes we see what we want to see, not what really is. In like manner, some incumbent program managers are too close to the recompete to see reality objectively.
With rare exceptions, incumbent PMs have vested interests in the status quo. They want to run on the program’s record. Despite evidence to the contrary, they often steadfastly deny things are broken and insist on applying band-aids when more aggressive treatments are in order. They think customers love their companies and their impressive records of accomplishment. They subconsciously resist change under the theory that if change was necessary they would have changed it already.
Plus, the PMs often bid with a view to operating and to managing nearly every conceivable risk. In theory, there is only one thing wrong with this view: the challengers’ capture managers, hungry for awards, bid to win and are willing to take calculated risks to do so.
Having a separate capture manager and program manager creates an internal check and balance. Ideas are vetted from both a capture and an operational perspective. The skills required to win are often quite different from those required to operate. A creative tension between capture and operations is healthy and supports a win.
If asked for your advice, you might think about suggesting no. Do not dual hat these positions.
What is your experience? Have you ever dual-hatted these two functions? Sound off in the comments below.