Most government contractors plan to become leaner, smarter and more efficient in 2013.

But with a more challenging year ahead, this year’s list of resolutions should get even more specific. Deltek has come up with three key rules to help keep contractors around to make resolutions in 2014 and in years to come.

Always team: Contractors talk about teaming, or agreements through which a prime contractor can partner with other companies to add skills, as a way to increase the likelihood of winning a government contract.

But this year, look to such partnerships as a more long-term way to fill the gaps in your company’s skillset. If you work with others effectively, you can turn a basic agreement into a thriving business venture.

In 2013, companies with successful teaming arrangements should come out on top as federal agencies look for those who don’t just talk like a team but perform like one.

Attack the GWAC: The contract vehicles known as government-wide acquisition contracts — or GWACs — give agencies a convenient way to manage their spending. Agencies only have to issue task orders when needs arise, and contractors unaccustomed to the versatility needed to win those task orders won’t last.

Contractors need to understand their client agency’s needs, plan for potential task orders and share information with partners so that they too can prepare.

Some contractors are creating “GWAC centers,” or specialized divisions that manage task orders from these contract vehicles. These centers may also include a task force that understands procurement strategy, compliance concerns and congressional policies and can decipher the many contract types to find new lines of business before solicitations begin.

Prime contractors should act like prime managers: In 2013, agencies are likely to increasingly rely on prime contractors to take on duties once performed by agency or contracting office staffs. The move toward contract vehicles seems built for just such a change, providing a way to fill needs as they occur.

Prime contractors will function as “umbrellas” to manage contracts and subcontractors, evolving away from merely filling task order needs to helping develop acquisition strategies.

These “umbrella” primes can help ensure that contracts are staffed with qualified, cleared experts and maintain consistency.

Rachel Doherty is manager for federal defense information services and government community liaison at Deltek, which conducts research on the government contracting market and can be found at