5 min read

How Capture Planning Leads to a Win in Federal Government Contracting

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Usually, the team that wins has the best team. To build that winning team, the Team Manager needs to know each player’s strengths and weaknesses and then create a plan to work together. You can win government contracts, if your company can get the most from their business development team.

24 Hours -7rPlan Early and Select the Best Team

In the GovCon world, you need a strong team, one that is well-qualified, can perform well, and will support the prime contractor’s vision for contract execution. But first, you have to win the contract by being selected as the best team for the contract.

A lack of Capture planning during the Capture Phase can lead to big problems in the proposal process. Implement a proactive capture management process and avoid many problems later in the process.

Issues that are not addressed in capture can cost valuable proposal time and add chaos to an already tight proposal window. As previously stated, there are a lot of tasks to complete during the Proposal Development Phase, and it is not an easy job. The Capture Manager should appropriately evaluate potential teammates during the Capture Phase to avoid increasing the workload later in the process.

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Your potential teammates need to know your expectations. It can be very beneficial to involve BD leadership to interface with senior management of potential teammates. This needs to be done early in capture both to convey the importance of the bid and to request full support for the Proposal Manager, Capture Manager, and Volume Leads. These managers and leads can then request technical experts to contribute to writing or reviewing, and request support personnel to complete data calls or other needed tasks.


Avoid Last-Minute Game-Changing Revelations

Not having an appropriate contract to use as a past performance citation is a common problem that arises during the past performance volume development. Typically, prime contractors ask potential teammates to complete a capability (meatball) chart aligning their capabilities with the Performance Work Statement (PWS) or Statement of Work (SOW). This helps the prime contractor ensure 100% coverage of the PWS/SOW and to prevent a weakness in the technical evaluation process.

When a prime contractor provides a matrix to potential teammates to indicate experience in the PWS elements, potential teammates will respond with a checkmark, unless further instructions are given. This is merely asking potential teammates – ‘Do you have capability in XYZ?’ Those checkmarks can create an impressive matrix that demonstrates the depth of your combined team capability, but they may not help your team be a strong contender if the capability checkmarks are not representative of strong past performance citations.

To communicate effectively on performance, you need more than a simple capability in a technical area. Instead, you need strong contract execution on a similar contract within a customer-determined time period and with exceptional CPARS.

With the possibly of growing their business as a subcontractor, sometimes BD personnel are overly excited to be asked to join a team. Unfortunately, some BD personnel may not accurately reflect their company’s abilities to support the prime contractor and may not help the team across the finish line by providing an appropriate past performance citation that strengthens the team’s position. This can result in the prime contractor getting blind-sided by a game-changing revelation. Late in the race, when past performance citations and Past Performance Questionnaire (PPQ) data calls are issued, is not when you want to find this out.

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Relationship of Capability to Past Performance

The solution? Uncover past performance information required during the Capture Phase while there is still time to look at other options, recruit a better teammate, and build a stronger team instead of not wasting precious proposal time dealing with this problem.

Do not rely on a traditional Capability Matrix to translate to past performance. Instead, use a Past Performance Evaluation Matrix. Simply, to get to the heart of the capability/past performance question, you need to ask potential teaming partners a very detailed series of questions.

This rigorous selection of teaming partners helps to ensure that you have assembled the best team for the bid. The evaluation criteria will determine what the term ‘best’ means. Your team needs to be the best team in the field because the best team has the best chance of winning. To have the best team, you need the strongest, most qualified, most respected, and most desired companies on your team!


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This is the 3rd in a 12-part series Get More from 24 Hours. This series is based on the eBook Get More From 24 Hours in a Day and Win More Government Contracts, which contains the entire series with additional bonus content and tutorials. The eBook is evolved from a presentation at APMP's International Bid & Proposal Con 2021, given by OneTeam's Product Manager, Donna Hamby. Download your free copy of the eBook.

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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.

OneTeam provides free webinars on Pipeline Management, Capture Management, and Proposal Management and Automation. These webinars address some of the best features of OneTeam and include a live Q&A session. 


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