Government evaluators have arduous jobs. When assigned to a Source Selection Evaluation Board they’re tasked to read and score several proposals to select the right contractor. Depending on RFP Section L and M requirements – that can amount to reviewing hundreds, if not thousands, of pages, in addition to fulfilling their ‘day jobs.’ This is one reason why the Government smartly sets page limitations,, much to the chagrin of contractors, who are often challenged to be compliant, never mind compelling.
I remember one customer’s struggle with a particularly challenging proposal. Volume II was to include an Executive Summary, Management Capabilities, Experience, and a Technical Approach within 75 pages at 12-point font. While this may seem reasonable at first blush – it was not. Addressing the Technical Approach was particularly onerous:
- Per L&M, responses had to demonstrate a “clear understanding, the methodology and flexibility that will be utilized, and how the approach will accomplish all tasks, subtasks, and administrative tasks as are necessary to ensure program success within the required time frame.”
- High-level technical requirements, part of a 43-page PWS, included 7 Objectives with 36 “Key” Tasks.
Situations like these challenge Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), whose strengths may not include concise technical writing.
ClientView helped by providing a framework to facilitate a succinct, compliant response. Our annotated outline included page limits, simple guidance, and example text that demonstrated how to achieve compliance and a high score within relatively abbreviated page real estate.
We attacked the requirement to address “tasks, subtasks, and administrative tasks” as follows:
Address each PWS Key Task with this outline:
- 1-2 sentence Task Understanding
- 3-5 sentences on your solution (approach) – discuss HOW you will accomplish the task (e.g., people, process, tools), not WHAT you will do
- Proof example – this is brief but replete with quantitative results your solution/approach provided to other customers
“Conduct inquiries (PWS 3.2, Assess/Plan). Good Voice of Customer (VoC) information is at the heart of successful CPI: without it, organizations risk investing resources in projects and initiatives that do not improve the customer experience – or worse, negatively impact it. With all-inclusive VoC, GOV’T AGENCY [CUSTOMER] is better informed and, therefore, better equipped to prioritize needed process improvement.
Typically, inquiries regarding CPI initiatives are conducted via impersonal “paper” methods. COMPANY X’S approach includes face-to-face interviews, led by KEY PERSON, geared toward engaging GOV’T AGENCY customers as integral process improvement team members. If a particular stakeholder is unable to commit in-person, COMPANY X uses a variety of classical organization- and process-level VoC identification methods (e.g., surveys, focused telephone interviews, Kano model-based inquiry, CTQ tree development, and Quality Function Deployment matrices) to ensure we are continually working on meaningful projects.”
By following this template, the SMEs were able to focus on crafting language that 1) addressed the Government’s requirements, 2) was scorable, and 3) avoided unnecessary elaboration.
Having trouble being compliant, compelling, and succinct? Give us a call – we can help.