February 2016: Avoiding Unintended Consequences of Increased Proposal Risk Caused By Arbitrary, Last-Minute Changes
February 20, 2016
Because proposal risk is usually the umbrella over all evaluation factors, it is often the single most important “lever” which can mean the difference between winning and losing. And, as I am sure you know, disconnects between BOEs/Cost and Tech/ Management Volumes can significantly increase proposal risk.
The most obvious issue arises when the BOE/Cost describes a Tech solution different (e.g. less robust) from the one described in the Tech/ Management Volume. However, another, more innocuous, problem can occur when linkages between the BOE “Page/ Paragraph” cross-reference field (which indirectly maps SOW/CDRL from the CWBS and Dictionary) and the SOW/CDRL map in the Tech/ Management Volume cross-reference matrix are out-of-synch. For example, hypothetical BOE 1.1.1 (containing SOW 3.4.5 and CDRL A123) points to Section 2.2 of the Tech/ Management Volume, but the Tech/ Management Volume’s cross-reference matrix shows SOW 3.4.5 and CDRL A123 mapped to (and written about in) Section 4.4 because of a last minute, un-thought-through decision.
The best fix to this disconnect is to move the SOW, CDRL and discussion topic from your Tech/ Management Section 4.4 back to Section 2.2, where it aligns to the BOE cross-reference field pointer. The simple reason is that there are many more internal connections within the BOE/ cost/ WBS/ Dictionary documents (and cost estimating systems) which would have to be updated and resynchronized with one another, with high risk of human error.
To avoid this situation altogether:
Brief your proposal team so they understand the less-obvious linkages of the BOE cross-reference field to the Tech/ Management Volume, and the BOEs to the CWBS and Dictionary mappings of SOWs and CDRLs
Put the Tech/ Management Volume cross-reference matrix under strict configuration control, and not arbitrarily change it, for example, because one organization does not want to “own” a CDRL during execution (a non-concern for the proposal)
If either of two choices of topic location within a proposal is plausibly/ reasonably correct, make the call and stick with it… at the end of the day, it just won’t matter to the evaluator
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