Put It In Writing

Put it in writing

Sooner or later, all Government Contractors will be faced with a situation like one of these:

  • Your government client wants you to do something you consider out of scope
  • You’re under contract and come across a circumstance you didn’t anticipate and need to deviate from the scope of work
  • Your bid / proposal made assumptions that you later determined to be incorrect and you find out after award

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Complying with Proposal Requirements

Complying with Proposal Requirements – So Easy a Kindergartener Can Do it, Right?

The famous “Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” is a list of simple, common-sense “rules” for leading a successful life … one of which is “Follow Directions.” Seems easy enough, something we all can do and have done (just ask anyone who uses Google Maps).

In the proposal world, “Follow Directions” takes the form of “Be Compliant” – and the majority of companies for whom I’ve consulted always agree, in theory, that organizing the proposal according to RFP Sections L&M is non-negotiable. So I go along my merry way and prepare an annotated outline that does just that. Nine times out of 10, during the course of proposal development, that outline morphs mysteriously – a slight change here, another there – and we’re fixing non-compliance issues discovered by Red Team or Gold Team reviewers at the 11th hour.

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Replacing a Rainmaker

Replacing a Rainmaker

One of our clients, call them Highland Technology, has one individual who has, for the last 10 years, brought in more contract funding for our client than anyone else in the company.  He is a real rainmaker.

Lately, he has been talking about retiring.  For Highland Technology, a small company, it is a scary thought that your main source of contract opportunities and funding will soon no longer be with the company.  This is a common problem for many small companies.  Continue reading

Color Blind: Conducting Valuable Proposal Reviews

Color Blind: Conducting Valuable Proposal Reviews

My 12-year-old son recently overheard a conversation I was having with a Client and asked “Mom, what’s a Red Review?”

Me: “It’s a process in which a bunch of people who didn’t write the document read it and comment on whether the people who did write it, wrote it well.”
My son: “Why is it ‘red’ though?”
Me: “The color indicates the level of the review, how far along the document should be developed. ‘Red’ means all sections should be written and graphics included – kind of near final.”
And then I chuckled to myself … “And this one is NOT ‘Red’ ready.”

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Follow the Rules

Follow the RFP Rules

Recently I was discussing a Compliance Review we conducted for a client on a draft proposal.

We typically use a ‘traffic light’ system to code our assessments – Green for compliant, Yellow for Close But Needs Work and Red for Fix This or Be Disqualified. The assessment also provides specific guidance on how to fix or improve the non-compliant section.

Compliance is an interesting topic because it’s the details that get you thrown out. Compliance can have one or both of the following: (1) a Binary Component and/or (2) an Objective Component. Continue reading

The Cause of Bad Proposals?

The Cause of Bad Proposals?

Imagine you are the CEO reporting to your Board of Directors at next quarter’s Board Meeting and you present the following:

“During the past three months Vague and Foggy, Inc. invested in four lots of lottery tickets at $10,000 each. We bought 10,000 tickets for a total of $40,000 and thought we had a very good chance of winning more than $3M. However, to date we have only won $3.00 on one ticket. Therefore, next quarter we plan to invest in six lots to improve our chances of winning.” Continue reading

Good Firms and Bad Proposals

After more than 40 years of leading, and consulting to, Government contractors, I continue to be puzzled by the common practice of a good firm submitting bad proposals. In this context a Bad Proposal is a proposal that will very obviously lose. This seems to be a bad disease and somewhat contagious. Continue reading