Have you ever participated in a proposal debrief where the evaluator claimed your project experience didn’t quite demonstrate that you have completed similar size, scope and/or complex projects? This is especially difficult to swallow when your experience is relevant, but perhaps wasn’t presented in the most effective way.
Strategy is a broad word but does not only encompass big-picture thinking. It also applies to the minor details within a proposal response.
Proposal and success strategies should trickle all the way down to the simplest of tasks, including the way you title a project in a proposal’s Project Experience section. I believe strategy is simple, NOT complex. Don’t dilute a message by including irrelevant information, or making it too complex. Take the following simple strategy. It’s simple, yet requires active involvement to ensure it’s implemented on every single proposal.
Demonstrate size, scope and/or complexity relevance in your project title. The easier you can make an evaluation on a proposal reviewer, the less chance for deficiencies and/or need for clarifications. Now, I am NOT recommending modifying the context or full title of a project. Rather, I am recommending adding items that may help tell your story and show compliance! So how does this work in practice? Check it out this example (not real):
Let’s say a Project Experience section requires the following project characteristics to demonstrate relevancy:
2. New construction
3. Over 20,000 SF
4. Housing, barracks or similar
5. Federal experience
Let’s pretend you are submitting the following project (below representing the official contract title):
New Unaccompanied Personnel Housing (UPH) B123
Why not just take it one step further and add to the title? (assuming these are true to the project):
Design-Build New Construction of 42,000 SF Unaccompanied Personnel Housing (UPH) B123 at Minot AFB
By simply reading the title, the evaluator now knows that all five (5) relevancies apply to this project. Simple, yet very effective.
Here are a couple of additional tips for adding project experience to titles:
- Building numbers: Many official project titles include only a building number without facility type and/or function. Including only a building number in a project title does not convey the type of facility the experience represents. I am not recommending omitting the building number, but perhaps include the type of building alongside of the building number if it helps demonstrate relevancy. For instance, if proposing on an Administrative Facility, rather than write “New Construction of Building 1121” add: “New Construction of Building 1121 Administrative Facility” to the title.
- Design-build versus design-bid-build: If a project you are proposing on is design-build, and so is the project experience you are submitting to demonstrate relevancy, then add “Design-Build” to the title. This immediately conveys one of the most important relevancies.
- Size & complexity: If size compliance is based on square-footage, dollar value or another form of quantity, don’t hesitate to add it into the project title, as in the above example.
- Location: If the project you are submitting is in the exact or similar location as the project you are proposing, add the location to the end of the project title to further emphasize its relevancy and your ability to work at that installation.
So next time you cut and paste a project experience title from one proposal to the next…stop and ask yourself, “Can I demonstrate relevancy and compliance in my project’s title, or am I inviting additional scrutiny to the relevancies of the project?”
If you would like more information on proposal strategies and/or increasing win rates, please contact us at www.strategiccreations.com/contact.