The action plan presents a waterfall of new deadlines in the short term for agency officials responsible for implementing the new plan.
Learn about government contracting directly from the source. Take a look at Army Contracting Command's recently published training video describes the different types of exchanges with offerors that are used after receipt of proposals.
You'll gain insight into how contracting officers are trained to draw the line between clarifications and discussions.
I got a chuckle out of this cartoon that appeared in my Linkedin feed yesterday. It was shared by one of my connections, Lynn Ann Casey of Arc Aspicio. It got me thinking about all of the times I've seen people try to reinvent the wheel on proposal process.
Gregory W. Pease of Tenzing Consulting presents some fundamental advice on improving your company's proposal writing efforts in his article "How Do I Avoid Reinventing the Wheel on Every Proposal?”
In my opinion, the three most important ways to avoid caveman mentality are to:
Greg presents some ideas on how to leverage proposal content via repositories. This concept is a double-edged sword. You run the risk of having the wrong customer name in a graphic, or worse, being non-responsive because your writers leveraged content designed for a completely different solution. Reuse squelches the creativity of the storyboard process and can inundate reviewers with too much text in the early color reviews.
Bottom line, the use of proposal boilerplate must be handled with caution.
I agree with the idea of developing a culture of improvement. Proposal people can burn out quickly, so it's important to reward them and encourage them to drive improvements in the process. Greg offers good advice to company executives to develop a list of 3 to 5 investment priorities and expected benefits and then share with everyone to achieve buy-in.
In the end, Greg sums it up nicely: Eliminating “reinventing the wheel” in your proposal environment is about committing to change in the way you apply people, process, technology, and investment.
The Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) is a legislatively-mandated, 4-year review of DOD strategy and priorities. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel presents it as a 10-year plan with three priorities:
The QDR sets a long-term course for DOD as it assesses the threats and challenges that face our nation. It re-balances DOD's strategies, capabilities, and forces to address today's conflicts and tomorrow's threats.
Download a PDF version here:
Quadrennial Defense Review 2014
I had the opportunity to attend Bloomberg's BGOV Defense Summit at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center. We spent the day with DoD officials and industry experts (partial list at bottom of post).
I must add that Peter Cook, Bloomberg TV's chief Washington correspondent, did an excellent job interviewing some of the senior defense officials. He's a native Washingtonian and seems passionate and knowledgeable about what's going on in government. Kudos to Bloomberg Government and its staff for putting on an fantastic event.
For me, the most exciting aspect is meeting new people and hearing their amazing stories. During the summit, I was fortunate to meet some super smart people including:
Bloomberg Government Video Highlights
Partial List of Participants
Michele Flournoy, Senior Advisor, The Boston Consulting Group, Fmr. Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
Jim Talent, Distinguished Fellow, The Heritage Institute
Admiral James “Sandy” Winnefeld, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Heidi Shyu, Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics & Technology)
Elliot Branch, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Acquisition (Navy)
LT. General Charles Davis, Military Deputy, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition
Jeremy Bash, Founder and Managing Director, Beacon Global Strategies, Fmr. Chief of Staff, Defense Department and Central Intelligence Agency
John Dowdy, McKinsey & Company, Aerospace and Defense
Byron Callan, Director, Capital Alpha Partners
Rep Adam Smith (D-WA), Ranking Member, House Armed Services Committee
Rep Randy Forbes (R-VA), Chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, House Armed Services Committee
Rear Admiral Matthew Klunder, Chief of Naval Research, Office of Naval Research
Nancy Harned, Executive Director for Strategic Planning and Program Planning with the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research and Technology
Ricky Peters, Executive Director, Air Force Research Laboratory
Deborah Lee James, Secretary of the Air Force
Robert Hale, Under Secretary for Defense (Comptroller) and Chief Financial Officer
I help federal government contractors win new business in the for-profit arena; however, I'm often approached by non-profit organizations for advice on grant writing and how to locate a grant writer. Following are some of my recommended books and websites to help with grant search and grant writing tasks. Good luck to you!
Grant Writing Books
The Only Grant Writing Book You'll Ever Need (August 2009)
Authors: Ellen Karsh, Arlen Sue Fox
I own this book. The authors are successful, experienced grant writers who have done an excellent job providing all of the information you need to develop a grant proposal.
New edition to be released April 8, 2014
Grant Writing for Dummies (new edition to be released March 31, 2014)
Author: Beverly Browning
I'm not usually a fan of the "Dummies" books, but this one is very good. I own this book.
Perfect Phrases for Writing Grant Proposals (October 2007)
Author: Beverly Browning
This book provides specific examples of how to construct your needs statement and provides a lot of example narrative that shows you how to describe your solution and the evaluation activities/plan that are usually required as a part of receiving grant money.
Grant Writing Websites
Grants.gov - search for federal grant opportunities http://www.grants.gov/applicants/find_grant_opportunities.jsp
FoundationCenter.org - search for private funding opportunitieshttp://foundationcenter.org/findfunders/
Grants Alert - search for funding opportunities
American Grant Writers' Association (AGWA) http://www.agwa.us/
American Association of Grant Professionals http://grantprofessionals.org/
Association of Fundraising Professionals http://www.afpnet.org/
Volunteer Match - find a volunteer to help with your grant proposal http://www.volunteermatch.org/nonprofits/
The Grantsmanship Center http://www.tgci.com
The Grantsmanship Center video series: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXiAsoeSN0Q&list=UUQKwClajjqdn9UdrbP7v5xg&index=1&feature=plpp_video
Based on my experience on a U.S. DoJ grant effort, I have two key recommendations to increase your win probability on any grant:
If you pursue opportunities with NGB, this 38-page statement is MUST READ. Have you ever heard the phrase "use the customer's language" when writing a proposal? This document will help you understand the NBG's current language.
This 38-page document communicates NGB's four key priorities:
Download a PDF version here: http://www.nationalguard.mil/Features/PostureStatement.aspx
GSA announced that 123 small businesses have won the right to compete on its 10-year, $60 billion professional services contract, known as OASIS. The small business awards include 220 slots across six pools with some companies winning multiple pools.
GSA has not announced the awards for the large business portion of the OASIS program.
As a small business, you may have been coached to prepare a one- or two-page capability statement for your company. Your company representative presents this document to government acquisition personnel in an effort to raise awareness about your company's business data, core capabilities, and past performance. At a minimum, it typically includes:
If you don't have a capabilities statement or need to refresh your own, I highly recommend reviewing Gloria Larkin's Refreshing Your Capability Statement.
I can help you create a capabilities statement. Feel free to give me a call at 281.865.8648.
New Obama budget coming March 4th
The Obama administration will send its FY15 budget proposal to Congress on March 4, about a month past deadline. The Budget and Accounting Act of 1921 requires the President to submit his budget request for the upcoming fiscal year no later than the first Monday of February.
When it goes live, the information will be available at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget
Following is what happens when a proposal consultant gets bored while writing a paper about Federal RFP analysis.
I discovered a shiny new toy called Wordle www.wordle.net and decided to see what would happen when I dumped my 10k-word draft into its java-based engine. I set the tool to create the Wordle based on the 150 most common words in my narrative, went with a soothing green and blue color scheme called "Chilled Summer" and selected the Grilled Cheese BTN font. Hint: common words appear more prominently.
POOF! Here's my Wordle word cloud:
Here are a few resources to help you unravel the mystery of this often confused topic. BLUF: Paul Heron nails it.
Proposal Guide: Compliance vs Responsiveness (pdf)
APMP Podcast (mp3)
Proposal Guide: Compliance and Responsiveness (pdf)
Paul Heron's Clear Thinking
Bid Proposals / Complex vs. Responsiveness
Essential Proposal Books for Professional Library
Larry Newman PPF. APMP (Author)
Shipley Proposal Guide
As of March 7, 2014, the Kindle Edition is $13.99.
Mark Amtower (Author)
Selling to the Government
Bob Frey (Author)
Successful Proposal Strategies for Small Businesses: Using Knowledge Management to Win Government, Private-Sector, and International Contracts, Sixth Edition [Hardcover]
Tom Sant (Author)
Persuasive Business Proposals
Small eBooks Focused on Capture Process and Strategy
James Baker (Author)
How To Win Business From the Government: A Tactical Guide to Understanding the U.S. Federal Government Information Technology Marketplace [Kindle Edition]
Jerry Evans (Author)
Marketing and Capturing Federal Contracts as a Small Business [Kindle Edition]
I recently attended Army Intelligence Day to gain insight to drive capture strategy in pursuit of Army business. Attendance at this event was limited to a small audience of cleared professionals. The Army's investment model was briefed during the morning session by LTG Mary Legere, Deputy Chief of Staff, G-2 (Intelligence). If you are currently formulating Army BD strategy, I encourage you to study this investment model.
Conference slides are available at AFCEA's website:
Background paper for the event: Army Intelligence 2020 (Oct 2012) http://www.afcea.org/mission/intel/ArmyIntel.pdf
Get answers to questions including the following:
The Army's DCGS-A Innovation Showcase provided an overview of the future of Army Intelligence and the DCGS-A program. This was an excellent opportunity for current and future industry partners to learn more about the technologies currently under development within the DCGS-A framework. Presentation and discussion topics included:
About Distributed Common Ground System Army (DCGS-A)
DCGS-A is the Army's flagship Intelligence system supporting intelligence Tasking, Processing, Analysis, Exploitation, and Dissemination at every echelon from Company to Echelon-Above-Corps.
DCGS-A ingests data from every sensor - from space-based sensors to the Soldier as a sensor, and fuses that data together in a common environment that is compliant with Intelligence Community (IC) and Department of Defense (DoD) standards. Benefits include: Powerful Analysis - because the analyst can easily access global data from 500+ data sources through the DCGS-A global architecture; and Enhanced Collaboration, because DCGS-A is also built within an open architecture - compliant with the Defense Intelligence Information Enterprise (DI2E), IC and Joint Information Enterprise standards.
Have you heard of the Haiku Deck app for iPad? I just created this deck "Federal RFPs Decoded" in about 20 minutes. Haiku takes your story and sets it free by searching the Internet and suggesting an array of high-quality images that photographers have licensed under Creative Commons. Navigate forward and backward by clicking the arrow buttons about midway down on the right or left side of the slide.
GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) is developing a next generation contract vehicle for complex professional services.
This contract vehicle addresses agencies' needs for professional service requirements that: 1) span multiple professional service disciplines; 2) Involve significant IT components, but aren't IT requirements; 3) Require flexibility for all contract type task orders and other direct costs at the task order level; 4) Are difficult to specify or quantify prior to award; and 5) Create an environment of elevated risk due to their unanticipated nature.
Did you attend the May 13th OASIS Industry Day? Slide decks are now available for both large and small businesses.
Follow the GSA OASIS Blog: https://interact.gsa.gov/group/oasis-industry-community
Download a PDF version here:
Take a look at this self-interview where I reveal some of the tips on proposal management including recommended reading, industry experts and practical tools for developing winning proposals. For example:
What's Your Favorite Proposal Book?
The Shipley Proposal Guide v4.0 is an excellent resource for anyone involved in developing proposals. I encourage my clients to develop a proposal library and this book is #1 on the list.
Interested in doing business with the Federal government? Use the buttons below to navigate to your target federal agency to view the latest procurement forecasts.
FAA Procurement Forecast
FAA Procurement Assistance for Small Businesses
FAA Opportunity Search at FBO.gov
Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Site Selection (UASTSS) Solicitation Number: DTFACT-13-R-00002
Pam Silverthorn, Government Proposal Consultant
Federal RFP Analysis
- Federal RFP Analysis >