News & Knowledge Center

Get the Most Out of Your Contract Debriefing

Be prepared to ask questions and learn as much as possible.

Win or lose, you are entitled to receive a debriefing from the government to help you understand the basis for an award decision. You must request your debriefing in writing within three days after receiving notification of contract award, otherwise your request might be declined. The government will do its best to provide the debriefing within five days of receiving your written request. The debriefing might be done orally, in writing or via another method acceptable to the contracting officer. Most bidders prefer oral debriefings because they provide an opportunity to discuss the findings and ask follow-up questions. For some debriefings, travel costs might be a factor, requiring a debriefing through a teleconference. The least-preferable debriefing format, from a learning point of view, is a letter debriefing. The contracting officer who led the procurement usually leads oral debriefings, supported by the people who participated in the evaluation of proposals. For...

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Better Reviews Equal Better Proposals

A systematic process can raise competitiveness and increase win probability.

Independent reviews ensure that proposals are compliant and responsive to the request for proposals. They also guarantee that proposals are feature-rich and technically and politically sound. Reviews should begin early in the proposal process and continue throughout proposal development. Each review builds quality into the proposal. When done well, reviews raise your competitiveness and increase your win probability. A solid review begins with experienced, knowledgeable reviewers and a comprehensive review plan. Your reviewers should include technical and management experts who deeply understand the subject of your proposal. Be sure to include customer experts who can bring the voice of the customer to your review process. The better your proposal reviewers, the better your review. Assign sections of the proposal to each reviewer that match his or her areas of expertise. For planning purposes, in a one-day review, assume reviewers can review about 40 pages of the proposal and provide constructive...

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To Succeed, Deliver What You Promised

Contract failures often trace back to poor performance.

The victory celebration is almost over, and people are starting to say it’s time to get to work on the new contract. All the parties involved have raised their glasses and toasted to the many contributions made by all the players: the business development, capture and proposal teams. All players deserve a share of the glory that accrues to the winner, and yet there is this nagging feeling that we should put away the champagne glasses and begin preparing to perform the newly awarded contract. For the next five years, it is the operations team that has to carry the ball and fulfill all the promises we made in our proposal. Throughout our winning proposal, we made claims about how we would perform the contract if awarded. We bragged about the tools and technology we would use and how we would use those to deliver services that exceed the performance...

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