Start With Compliant Volume Templates and Outlines - #6 Proposal Management Process Lesson Learned
(6) Develop volume templates / outlines that are compliant with Section L for ease of evaluation.
Proposals must be compliant with RFP. Compliance is providing everything the Government asks for in the manner and order they ask for it according to the RFP Section L Instructions. These instructions typically include page limitations and formatting requirements.
The Proposal Manager is ultimately responsible for proposal compliance. Developing compliant proposal Volume templates is the essential first step in ensuring a compliant proposal is submitted. The basic template should incorporate the Section L formatting instructions, including:
• Line Spacing
• Header Content
• Footer Content
• Table of Contents
• Cover Page Content
Once the basic template is created, then it can be duplicated for each Volume to create the Volume templates. Within each Volume template, the Proposal Manager develops the Volume outline. The outline is comprised of major section heading and subheadings based on the Section L instructions for each Volume’s proposal content. These headings should be as consistent as possible with RFP language to allow for ease of evaluation.
In addition to compliance, proposals must also be responsive, to address all requirements stated in the RFP Section C [i.e., Statement of Work (SOW) or Performance Work Statement (PWS)]. These SOW / PWS requirements are typically addressed in the Technical and/or Management Volume(s). Statements that use the word “shall” are requirements. This is something the contractor must do. Statements that use the word “will” are weaker requirements. This is something the contractor should do. All “shall” and “will” statements in a SOW / PWS are requirements and should be addressed as part of your proposal for compliance and responsiveness. The outline headings should be as consistent as possible with the requirements sequence in the SOW / PWS to allow for ease of evaluation.
Section L Instructions typically ask for Understanding, Experience, and Approach for each of these SOW / PWS requirements. The outline provided by the Proposal Manager should include the specific guidance for writers per the Section L proposal content instructions so that compliant, responsive proposals can be developed.
Non-compliant and non-responsive proposals can be thrown out of competition. This scenario can be avoided by developing a compliant proposal Volume template and Volume outlines.