Keeping an accurate compliance matrix while facing multiple amendments? Ask the Proposal Doctor

Dear Proposal Doctor,

I use a homegrown tool to strip my RFP into a table with all the technical requirements. This is supposed to be my tool for checking compliance, and it works well if there are no significant changes. Once the government starts issuing multiple amendments and answers to questions, my compliance matrix becomes obsolete.

What is the best way to keep an accurate compliance matrix in the face of multiple amendments?

Searching for a Solution

Dear Searching,

As wonderful as the automated tools are, they don’t provide a good answer to your problem. I can only share my own approach.

First, if the customer issues a revised RFP, I re-do the shred in its entirety, and I have found that to be the most efficient method.

If the customer does not re-publish the RFP, I go through the questions and answers (Q&A) to determine which really affect compliance. Many answers are just clarifications or confirmations of assumptions I had already made. For each answer that is significant, I do two things: I put a note in the hard and soft copy of my RFP that includes the answer in its entirety or just notes existence of an important answer. If the RFP is a PDF, I use the sticky note function. If it is in MS Word, I use the comment function. Then I manually insert the clarification into my requirements shred.

It is a slow process, but I don’t know any other way. I used to cut and paste the answer into the soft copy of the RFP text itself until I realized that those insertions threw off the page numbering. That’s why I switched to comments and sticky notes.

In a perfect world, we could hand this job off to a proposal coordinator or an administrative assistant. Because compliance hangs in the balance, I do it myself.

All the best,

Wendy Frieman, The Proposal Doctor