Proposal Writing Process
Responding to a Request for Proposal can be a time-consuming challenge for organizations. If you don’t have template paragraphs to drop into a response, it can take a lot of effort to source the right information. And what proposal truly warrants a templated response? You are more likely to win the bid with a tailored, well-thought through proposal that adequately addresses all the relevant points.
That’s why it is important to follow a structured proposal writing process to create a winning RFP response for your client.
We took a structured approach when we worked with AMEC, one of the world’s leading engineering, project management and consultancy companies. They asked Ten Six to assist in the creation and preparation of an RFP response, specifically around responding to the Earned Value Management (EVM) mandate within the proposal. We’re used to doing that with clients, and we have a proven proposal-writing process.
Here are some of the key activities we undertook with AMEC that are essential for creating a solid RFP response.
Understand the RFP requirements
AMEC Environment & Infrastructure, Inc., a key division within AMEC, worked with a government contractor to provide design and construction services as part of a $1B program. Part of the requirement for this contract required AMEC to have a fully complaint Earned Value Management System (EVMS).
Specifically, their RFP identified the following requirements to address:
- Contract Funds Status Report (CFSR) compliant with DI-MGMT-81468, SDRL E063.
- Contract Performance Report (CPR), Formats 1 through 5 compliant with DI-MGMT-81466A or B, SDRL E031.
- Cost Data Summary Report (CDSR) compliant with DI-FNCL-81565B, SDRL E064.
If all that sounds like jargon to you, rest assured that it does to a lot of organizations facing working as DoD contractors or with other government bodies when they first get started! Make sure that you get support if you do not understand what the requirements are asking for.
Review any existing artifacts
Next, make sure that the team understands exactly what currently exists. For example, in the case of needing a compliant EVMS, you may already have Primavera P6 in place, and simply need the addition of earned value management software to sit alongside your scheduling engine.
Create internal awareness of EVM
With AMEC, we created internal awareness of what EVM is all about by presenting an overview of ANSI-748 to the proposal team and senior management. For example, it’s worth your senior team knowing about how the different elements of an earned value system integrate and how data integrity carries from system to system. Your internal education sessions can also cover what is involved in the EVM compliance process and what to expect during an audit or interview.
EVM compliance is more than simply having the right software and generating the right reports. It’s an ecosystem; a performance management method that relies on having a supportive organizational culture. That’s why it is important that the senior leadership team can answer questions on EVM if asked during a review.
Carry out an initial assessment
The gap analysis is an essential part of your RFP response. You might not have many gaps, or you might uncover a lot of holes. We carried out an initial assessment of AMEC people, processes and tools compliance and the associated gaps compared to the ANSI-748 Guidelines.
That information ensures you can present an honest and transparent picture of your current position as part of your response.
Develop a comprehensive EVM compliant implementation/certification schedule
Next, build out a comprehensive schedule for getting to compliance. If you don’t yet have a system in place, this will focus on the steps you’ll be undergoing to implement a system. If you do have a system but need to gain EVMS certification for it, then this section of your proposal planning will ensure you can evidence what you will be doing to meet the requirements.
Write up the proposal
Finally, write up the proposal response. Work with executive management and the RFP response team to coordinate the deliverables, tracking the work and making sure that you can evidence progress at any audit or review.
Your proposal response doesn’t have to say that you are perfect and fully compliant as of this minute. It can include further steps that you have identified which will support the implementation of EVMS in your organization. For example:
- You can call out the need for a more detailed gap analysis to assess people, processes and tools readiness.
- You can recognize that staff need EVM training classes to build the correct skills to operate in the proposed environment.
- You can specify that the organization will need to write processes that specifically address the EIA-748 EVM Guideline process groupings, and integrate these with existing business processes.
You don’t have to have all of this in place before you pitch for the work. You don’t even have to have the software in place. We know many clients who have bid for government contracts without yet being fully compliant and who have won the right to go on and complete the contract – while working towards compliance at the same time.
The goal with your RFP response is to have a considered, evidence-based document that shows how you can and will meet the requirements of the RFP. The response should give the government awarding body confidence that you can stand up a compliant EVMS system within the timeframes relevant to the project.
Read more about our work with Amec and contact us if we can help you achieve the same results.