What to do when RFP requirements are vague

What to do when RFP requirements are vague

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for the government’s statement of work requirements to be unclear or vague.

The Request for Proposal (or Tender) Statement of Work or Performance Work Statement is often a separate document (or section C of an RFP) that describes the work your company or team is to perform to fulfill the requirements of the contract. Figuring out where to put all of this in the proposal is often a challenge. Items that are clearly technical should be placed in the technical response in the section that tells you to “demonstrate your capabilities to perform the scope of work”. You can list the SOW elements in order or group them in some logical fashion, depending on available page count. Make sure that you identify the SOW/PWS elements by header and by number so that evaluators can find them and adequately score them, for example, (PWS 3.2.3, Help Desk Support). Non-technical elements can be placed in the management response (for example, program/project management, risk management). These elements should also contain headers and numbers similar to those in the technical section.

Additionally, there are some PWS elements which can be addressed in either the technical or management section of the proposal if no specific instructions are given as to their location. Quality Assurance/Quality Control is a prime example of this. You can include a quality assurance discussion in the technical section as it relates to specific work to be performed (for example, software engineering) and have a more global discussion about your quality management process at the program level in the management section. However, all quality activities discussed in the technical section must support the overall quality management process in the management section and vice versa. To absolutely ensure compliance, a little redundancy might be the best approach here, since it is conceivable that the technical and management sections of the proposal may be split in two and reviewed by different evaluators, both of whom may be looking for quality assurance information in their sections.

– Ellen Perrine, AOC Key Solutions

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