• Deb Yeagle

Prevent Technical Data Dumps - #8 Proposal Development Process Improvement Lesson Learned

Updated: Sep 12, 2018


(8) Develop responses without including too much technical information or too many unimportant details.


Proposals are NOT meant to be read as technical papers or journal articles. Responses that include too much technical information or too many unimportant details are difficult to read. Even evaluators who have the technical background to understand the information may become sedated. To other evaluators, the proposal may be too technical to easily digest (and evaluate). This is why it’s important to know who you are writing to and their level of expertise. Identifying the Source Selection Board (SSB) Members BEFORE you write the proposal is an important part of capture planning.


To avoid including technical data dumps in the proposal, follow these guidelines:

- Write to the evaluators, not to yourself.

- Make the proposal about the customer, not about you: emphasize what matters to the customer, and then demonstrate how you can help them.


To determine if a response contains potentially unimportant details, read it from the customer perspective and ask the question: “So what?”

- “Does the customer care?”

- “Does this demonstrate how your solution benefits the customer in terms of what matters to them?”

- “Does this differentiate you from the competition?”


There are cases, however, when proposals must include depth of technical details. It may be inherent to the nature of the work. In these cases, follow these guidelines to keep the technical information at an acceptable level:

- Use simple, clear, uncomplicated language and sentence / paragraph structure.

- Preview complex sections.

- Use lists.


And finally, the best way to prevent overwhelming the evaluators with too much technical detail is to focus on the factors that will be evaluated and the criteria against which they will be evaluated. These factors and their associated evaluation criteria, as defined in the RFP Section M, will be used to score your proposal and are the basis for contract award, the topic of our Proposal Development Process Improvement Lesson Learned #9…

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