When it's good to be Blue - the #9 Proposal Development Process Improvement Lesson Learned
(9) Write the response to the evaluator and address the evaluation criteria (Section M).
The basis for contract award, or how proposals are evaluated to determine award, are defined in the RFP Section M. By directly addressing the criteria for each factor evaluated within your proposal, you can ensure ease of evaluation and score higher ratings.
Proposals are evaluated (scored and graded by Volume and Overall) by the Source Selection Board (SSB) using the Section M Evaluation Criteria. Typically, proposals are scored using color ratings (Blue, Purple, Green, Yellow, Red) associated with adjectival ratings (Outstanding, Good, Acceptable, Marginal, Unacceptable) for each factor that is evaluated.
For example, suppose RFP Section M utilizes this typical color rating scale to evaluate the Technical Factor, with Blue / Outstanding defined as follows:
Proposal indicates an exceptional approach and understanding of the requirements and contains multiple strengths, and risk of unsuccessful performance is low.
To indicate an exceptional approach, your proposal response for the Technical Factor should provide a description of the methodologies applied, procedures utilized, processes employed, and tools leveraged to perform the work and meet the requirements. An exceptional approach provides a clear picture of how you are proposing to deliver what the customer needs with specific benefits to the Government (e.g., time savings, cost efficiencies, process improvements, etc.).
To indicate an understanding of the requirements, your proposal response for the Technical Factor should demonstrate customer intimacy through your knowledge, mastery, and insight of the customer environment, including requirements (stated and unstated); technologies; problems; politics; their current situation and where they want to go (and what they want), as well as understanding reflected in your experience in meeting similar requirements.
Low risk is typically defined as follows:
Proposal may contain weakness(es) which have little potential to cause disruption of schedule, or degradation of performance. Normal contractor effort and normal Government monitoring will likely be able to overcome any difficulties.
While an exceptional approach and understanding of the requirements provides an opportunity to demonstrate low risk, additional ways to demonstrate low risk is through similar experience, use of an approach (e.g., established procedures) that has been successfully applied to meet similar requirements, effective project management oversight of technical tasks to meet schedule performance standards; and quality control procedures to ensure technical services and deliverables meet quality performance standards.
As for including multiple strengths in your proposal to achieve a Blue / Outstanding rating, that’s the topic for our tenth and final Proposal Development Process Improvement Lesson Learned…