Working with project managers on recompetes: Project manager as an ethical spy (Part 2)

This week, Lisa Pafe provides additional insights into how incumbents can work with their project managers when preparing for recompete procurements.

Project managers have an enormous role to play in gathering competitive intelligence that the capture manager can use to build recompete win strategies.

Because the project manager is on-site, the capture manager can coach the project manager to serve as an ethical spy in preparing for a recompete:

  • Who is visiting with the customer?
  • Who has offered brown bags, seminars, and other freebies?
  • What other companies are working for this customer?

Because the project manager knows the scope of work intimately, (s)he knows what is most important to the customer. Capture and project management working together can ethically influence the new solicitation to favor incumbent discriminators. For example, if evaluation factors rate key personnel, relevant past performance, and seamless transition as of greatest importance, then the incumbent has an edge. Similarly, if the pendulum can swing from low price/technically acceptable (LPTA) to best value, the incumbent team has a greater advantage.

It much easier for the project manager to get to know potential Source Selection Board (SSB) members than it is for the capture manager. The project manager can find out who will be on the SSB, who the key decision-makers are, and who makes the final decision. This information feeds into building hot buttons and discriminators.

Finally, there is the issue of teaming. In recompete situations, there are two possible scenarios: you remain the prime or you become a subcontractor. If you plan to prime the recompete, then capture and project management must work together to:

  • Keep your performing teaming partners loyal
  • Replace non-performers early
  • Possibly eliminate a potential competitor by adding them to the team
  • Listen to who the customer likes to add potential teammates

If you need to become a subcontractor on the recompete, either because you have outgrown a size standard or the work is moving from large to small business, then the capture manager and project manager need to strategize:

  • Can one of your teammates be the prime?
  • If not, who else fits?
  • Can potential teaming partners be brought in now as subcontractors to fill open positions so the client gets to know them?

All of these aspects of competitive intelligence require a strong partnership between capture and project management professionals.

As an incumbent, how do you gather and refine your competitive intelligence and prepare your company for recompetes well before RFP release? Send your suggestions to me at, and I’ll share your advice in upcoming posts!


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Lohfeld Consulting