How to Develop a Proposal Plan Part 1: Understanding the RFP Requirements

Jul 16, 2018

In government proposals, experienced Proposal Managers develop a Proposal Plan to guide them through the proposal effort.

A Proposal Plan is a comprehensive set of documents, instructions, processes, tools, and templates that aid in the proposal development process.  The Plan addresses and guides proposal activities at six major points in the proposal process:

  1. Understanding the Requirements
  2. RFP Analysis
  3. Win Strategy
  4. Proposal Logistics
  5. Proposal Writing
  6. Color Team Reviews

In this six part article series, we discuss each of the points in the process and the elements of the Proposal Plan that address each point in the process.

Part 1 - Understanding the Request for Proposal Requirements 

During Part 1, Understanding the Requirements, the Proposal Manager gathers all available intelligence about the Request for Proposal (RFP) in order to understand and document what is required to propose on the effort.

At this early stage in the proposal process, the Proposal Manager may work closely with the Sales/Business Development staff member who brought the opportunity to the company, as well as the assigned Capture Manager, in order to understand the scope of the effort.

The Proposal Manager may receive documents put together for the monthly/quarterly Sales/Business Development forecast, any opportunity analyses prepared as part of the preliminary bid/no-bid reviews with upper-level management, proposed win strategies, the initial competitive analysis document, and any other relevant information.

The Proposal Manager creates, or works with the Sales/Business Development and Capture Manager to create:

1. The Procurement Background, a 1-to 2-page document that describes the customer, its mission, its roles and responsibilities, and a high-level overview of the requirement, (i.e., information on what the customer has procured in the past or known facts about the upcoming acquisition). The background document also discusses the nature of the holders of the prior contracts and the current incumbent contractor, and the incumbent’s capabilities and areas of expertise.

2. The RFP Profile, a 1 to 2-page document about the current procurement. The RFP profile includes the title of the RFP, the RFP number, the customer name, and the Contracting Officer’s name, the RFP issue date, the due date for questions, the proposal due date, and the anticipated contract start date, the type of contract, the period of performance, and the expected contract value. The RFP profile also includes a summary of the proposed statement of work.

3. Source Evaluation Board Member Profiles, which are profiles of potential Source Evaluation Board members or other key players in the procurement process for the upcoming procurement. The profile document lists the name and title of the potential board member/key player and identifies the anticipated role that each person is anticipated to play in the selection of the contractor to perform the proposed effort. It also lists any relationships each of the members has to one another and any unique biases or hot buttons of the members that could substantially impact the evaluation of proposed contractors.

These documents will be used during the preliminary stages of the proposal process to plan the proposal effort. The first two documents will be included in the proposal kick-off meeting presentation as a briefing to the proposal team about the upcoming procurement.  The Source Evaluation Board Member Profiles will be used to further refine the Win Strategy, the third proposal planning activity.


How does your company’s proposal planning process stack up? Is your company taking advantage of the time available before an RFP is issued to develop a winning game plan? Successful companies do.

download the proposal plan graphic

Ellen Perrine

Written by Ellen Perrine

Ellen Perrine is a Proposal Development Consultant with Key Solutions with more than 30 years of experience in federal proposals including strategy development, proposal management, compliance management, and technical writing.

Post a Comment

Lists by Topic

see all

Posts by Topic

see all