Working with project managers on recompetes: project manager as proposal SME (Part 3)

Lisa Pafe’s previous blogs discussed how capture and project management can work together during recompetes to influence the customer and gather competitive intelligence. This week, Lisa discusses how the project manager must work with the proposal manager to provide essential information for the recompete proposal itself.

In addition to providing customer and competitive intelligence, the project manager also has a role to play in helping the proposal manager gather artifacts that can be used as proof points for discriminators. Additionally, the project manager serves as an essential subject matter expert (SME) for the recompete.

Before RFP release, the proposal manager should make a list of the artifacts the project team must gather to help support and prove the win themes, features and benefits, and discriminators. Some items the project manager can continuously gather and share include:

  • Congratulatory emails
  • Awards and certificates of appreciation
  • Customer quotes and kudos
  • Award fees achieved
  • Achievements (e.g., performed testing with zero rollbacks, brought in web redesign under budget, identified efficiencies and/or new technology that saved the customer money)
  • Project library (examples of strategic plans, deliverables, research)

The project manager supports the ongoing task of keeping the project’s past performance write-up current. As part of this effort, the proposal manager should ensure that the project manager prepares the customer so they are ready to provide a glowing reference. Additionally, the project manager should work with project personnel and the company’s Human Resources department in updating project staff resumes every 6 months.

Once the RFP is released, the project manager serves as a resource to help with management, transition, technical approach, and past performance sections of the proposal. The project manager should compare the new solicitation to the existing scope of work to understand the significance of any changes and communicate them to the proposal team as a whole:

  • Do changes reflect changes/technological advances in your industry?
  • Does the new RFP reflect the processes and methodologies you already employ?
  • Does the RFP require certifications you do or do not have?
  • Does the scope of work indicate the customer’s desire to increase or decrease the current level of service?
  • Do any requirements in the RFP seem to relate directly to incumbent performance issues?

Expectations are high for the incumbent’s proposal. Accordingly, the project manager must participate actively during the proposal stage to help develop a winning bid.

What suggestions do you have for how project managers can support recompete efforts? Send your thoughts to me at, and I’ll share your advice in upcoming posts!