FP writing developing proposal best practices

Assessing your government proposal writing and whether your strategies meet common proposal best practices starts with figuring out what has worked in the past that still continues to work today.

If your worst practices outweigh your best practices, then it might be time to review all of them and start a proposal development approach that increases the overall outcome –winning.

When compared to previous source selection strategies, the federal government has adjusted its evaluation approach. As a result, thousands of government contractors are at a loss and have not learned how to overcome common hurdles that prevent them from winning federal projects.

  • Your company has to readjust its previous and strategies to stand a chance of winning.
  • You simply have to align them with the most recent government technical evaluation changes.

Basic Government Bid Proposal Best Practices

There are a wealth of government proposal best practices on the internet. However, the below ideas are developed based on a large group of published GAO decisions.

  • General articles by self-proclaimed government proposal experts do not address the real issues of why bidders fail to be even considered for selection of government contract awards.

Developing an overall approach means first learning how the government must evaluate your proposal. The following is a list of areas that you can start your focus.

Developing a compliance matrix: this is a good place to start developing additional bid proposal writing best practices. You should read the proposal in its entirety and avoid temptations to simply skip to sections L and M. You want to capture all the important things that you are supposed to do during the proposal bidding stage.

This could mean developing a more competitive technical approach that solves the government’s problem. The matrix will suggest the level of detail –a lot of detail or a brief discussion of the PWS sections. This carries a long way at the evaluation stage.

Many government proposal writers find themselves with assessed weaknesses for not addressing the level of detail anticipated by the solicitation. It is common to see weaknesses in your bid for failure to adequately explain your approach. You want to avoid this at all cost. Learn about the Best Ways to Choose Proposal Writing Services for government contracts.

Proposal Writing Best Practices # 1

Gathering any specific qualifications of assigned personnel: the government makes it a habit of telling you what level of expertise it expects to see from your proposed staff. For example, it could need that your project manager has ten years of experience and a degree.

If your project manager only meets the ten-year need but has no degree, then you can bet that the agency will assess a weakness for your technical proposal.  You could potentially overcome this hurdle by pointing to another person that has the missing need and show how the two will work together on the project.

  • This proposal best practice could lead to increased technical evaluation or management approach scores.

Proposal Best Practices # 2

Assessing the historical data provided in the RFP: sometimes the solicitation would give information such as historical data about hours or staff used in previous projects. This is one of the many proposal best practices you should blend into your approach. As a general rule, when the government tells you that part of the statement of work was traditionally accomplished at 1000 hours, then this information should mean something to your proposal preparation effort.  It means submitting your approach and amount of people to meet the 1000 hour need.

If your proposal offers substantially fewer hours than the information provided, you can expect a weakness or risk from the government. On the other hand, if you propose hours that are substantially more than the given information given in the solicitation, you can also get a weakness assigned to your technical proposal or pricing submission.

Proposal Writing Best Practices # 3

Develop a written plan for overcoming low past performance ratings: One of the most used government proposal best practices to combat issues with your lack of past performance is to consider using a teaming partner that has the requisite experience.  Although the solicitation may not expressly tell you otherwise, procurement regulations anticipate consideration of your teaming partner’s (or key subcontractor) past performance. If the solicitation expressly tells you that it will not be considered, then it means just that.  Although you are confident that your company can do the work, you do not want to take a chance of getting low past performance scores.   You can start developing relationships with qualified companies today. Do not wait until the government publishes the solicitation. It may be too late.

    • The above are but a few tips for developing government proposal best practices.
    • Given the complex regulations on proposal evaluations, you should consider having your proposal writers to consider the above best practices.

Proposal Best Practices # 4

Take advantage of question and answer sessions: Oftentimes, the government contracting agencies offer question and answers sessions. You should take advantage of them. Solicitations are not always clear. Sometimes you need clarification on key aspects of your proposal. You should ask questions that address your concerns. However, there is always the question of exposing your ideas to your competition.  Nevertheless, the focus should always be around preparing your proposal to get the best possible result. 

Tip: The government’s answers to your questions do in fact have a binding effect on the solicitation.  Read information on tips for project proposal writing.

Proposal Best Practices # 5

Understand the basics of the government’s best value and trade-off evaluation rules. GAO has often ruled that when reviewing an agency’s evaluation of proposals and source selection decision, it examines the supporting record to determine whether the decision was reasonable, and in accord with the evaluation criteria listed in the solicitation and applicable procurement laws and regulations.

Many negotiated proposals state in the solicitation that the RFP contemplates that the relative merits of the proposals will be qualitatively compared. This is the underlying principle of how the government conducts its best value and trade-off evaluation.

When preparing your bid proposal, it is important to understand that evaluation is not limited to determining whether your proposal is merely technically acceptable; rather, the Agency must further differentiate and distinguish competing proposals to their relative quality under each stated evaluation factor by considering the degree to which technically acceptable proposals exceed the stated minimum requirements or will better satisfy the agency’s needs.

Therefore, when preparing a proposal for the federal government, you must write to also beat your competition.

  • Offer more than the basic solicitation requirements.
  • You must always keep your bid aligned with the evaluation criteria.

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