By Global Services on June 25, 2021
Although agencies try to give accurate timelines for when RFPs will drop, there are many reasons these timelines may be delayed. This was especially true for major contracts with numerous stakeholders, such as CIO-SP4, which experienced several delays.
Unfortunately, it’s these same major contracts that tend to require the heaviest proposal lifts for contractors, and unexpected delays can create significant logistical challenges as companies try to allocate their proposal resources. In this post, we’ll look at ways you can adapt to shifting RFP release timelines.
Follow Every Reputable Source of RFP-Related Information You Can
It goes without saying that you will want to follow the solicitation on beta.SAM.gov so that you will be aware of any draft solicitation documents or timeline updates posted there.
However, not all updates are released via beta.sam.gov. For major contract vehicles, agencies will often create a page about it on their own site, and these may be updated more frequently.
In addition, you’ll want to attend any informational webinars/industry days that the agency hosts for the solicitation – often, anticipated schedule changes will be mentioned at these events first. Take these with a grain of salt—they’re not official, written notices, and people answering unscripted questions may misspeak or be misinformed—but they’re still a good way to get a tentative sense of upcoming changes to the timeline.
All that said, keep in mind that rumors abound when it comes to major contract vehicles. Make sure to base your planning around reputable, verifiable sources only.
Focus Your Pre-Solicitation Efforts On the Requirements That Are Least Likely to Change
By following the sources described above, you can usually get a sense of which parts of the Draft RFP are likely to stay more or less the same in the Final. In the case of CIO-SP4, for instance, there have been many significant changes to the narrative requirements and the details of the scored elements, but the requirement to submit past performance projects that meet the general scoring requirements has stayed relatively constant throughout. By focusing on identifying which projects you plan to use and gathering the relevant contract documents, you’ll be able to address the final project requirements quickly and with minimal reworking when the Final RFP drops.
Get RFP Sections as Ready as Possible
Once you’ve identified the sections that are least likely to change, you’ll want to get them as complete as possible. This means following the same review-and-recovery cycle that you’d follow for the Final RFP, at the Draft RFP stage. Once these sections are fully completed, you can put them on the shelf, ready to go when the Final RFP drops. Usually, the changes required will be relatively minor. That, in turn, will give you more time to focus on writing the sections that did change significantly.
Know When to Press Pause
Eventually, you’ll reach a point where you’ve done all that you can realistically do, and further prework wouldn’t be a good use of your resources. You’ll want to continue to monitor for any verified news and update your documents accordingly, but otherwise, you’ll be standing by until the Final RFP is released. Once you reach this stage, you can set the project aside, knowing you’re as well-positioned for success as you can be.
If you are interested in pursuing a major GWAC, reach out to our proposal experts today!