3 min read

Complete Checklist to Create an Effective RFP Response

Featured Image

If an Offeror waits until the Final RFP is released to begin working on the RFP response/proposal, they are already behind. Proposal preparations begin during the Capture phase of BD and are worked in conjunction with the Capture Manager. The proposal pre-planning can start with a Draft RFP or even a Draft PWS. If Capture intel on the customer reveals that the PWS will be similar to the previous contract iteration, use a previous solicitation PWS and Sections L and M to begin proposal activities.

  • Create Proposal Volume Outlines per Section L, which may be called Instructions to Offer, Notice to Offerors, or something similar.

  • Make Outlines as detailed as necessary to separate sections between writers and break the requirements down into manageable sections.

  • Review Section M, Evaluation Criteria, and include additional outline elements found there, but not included in Section L instructions.

  • Build the Compliance Matrix based on the RFP mapping and Outline.

  • Map all Section L requirements to the Outline.

  • Map all Section M requirements to the Outline.

  • Map Section C, also called the PWS, SOW, or SOO, elements to the approved Outline.

  • Include Sections L, M, and C reference numbers in section headings.

  • Thoroughly review Sections G and H for requirements that are not in Sections L or M. Map the requirements to the Outline.

  • Have a peer validate outline for accuracy.

  • Map Contract Data Requirements List (CDRLs) to the Outline.

  • Map approved Capture Strategies to Outline - Features & Benefits, Proof Points, and Win Themes.

  • Hold a Blue Team Review to assess the Proposal Outline and Strategies.

  • When the Final RFP is released, review the RFP and note any changes that need to be made to the Outline or Strategies, based on RFP changes.

  • Review the Final RFP and submit questions to the Government as detailed in the RFP.

  • Update mapped strategies based on Blue Team recommendations and the Final RFP.

  • Hold a Writer Kick-Off Meeting to give instructions to the Writers.

  • Assign Writers based on their abilities and areas of expertise; they will develop content, including narrative, graphics, and tables.

  • The Proposal Manager or Volume Lead reviews Writers’ content, helps complete any gaps, and combines the content for a Color Team Review.

  • The Proposal Manager schedules and leads a Pink Team Kick-Off Meeting and instructs Reviewers.

  • Conduct the Pink Team Review of proposal volumes.

  • Pricing development follows a parallel path and is usually completed by a different group of content developers and reviewers.

  • Gather comments and edits from the Reviewers and make edits to improve the proposal based on Pink Team recommendations.

  • The Proposal Manager sets the schedule and keeps the proposal team on track.

  • The Proposal Manager assigns tasks to various members of the proposal team, including assignments to subcontractor partners.

  • Writers revise content as instructed to improve the proposal content.

  • The Proposal Manager reviews corrections and makes edits.

  • The Proposal Manager holds regularly scheduled stand-up meetings to focus the proposal team on task completion.

  • The Proposal Manager consolidates content for a Red Team Review, where reviewers assess how the evaluators will score the proposal.

  • The Proposal Manager coordinates final edits and updates, and then a small group of Reviewers performs a Gold Team Review.

  • Minor changes are made and the Proposal Manager leads a White Glove Review.

Copies of the RFP response may be printed and bound in notebooks, burned to CDs, or sent electronically through a portal or via email to the contracting office.


This is the 10th in a 13-part series focused on learning about Government RFPs and your response to RFPs as a government Contractor. Be sure and download our complete guide, Government RFPs: What you Need to Know. Check back each week for another installment in the series. Happy Bidding!

New call-to-action

OneTeam is a complete, secure, cloud-based collaboration platform for GovCons to track, qualify, capture, propose and win more contracts with fewer resources by streamlining and automating processes. OneTeam was designed and developed by a federal government contractor to address the lack of resources and time, as well as the pain associated with winning government contracts. Our team of Proposal Managers, Capture Managers, and BD Managers write extensively about business development topics and best practices.


6 min read

How to Turn Your Incumbentitis Into a Proposal Winning Strategy

Winning a federal government contract is a long and arduous process. It takes time, effort, and resources to put...

6 min read

How to Score More Proposal Points with Your Government RFP Response

When creating a proposal in response to a Federal Government RFP, the Proposal Manager needs to ensure that every word...

5 min read

Highlight your Management Team to Transform your Contract Management Plan

In the Federal GovCon world, most RFPs contain both a Technical and a Management factor. The Contract Management Plan...