Some notes on technical content: what drives the requirement, what it looks like, and where your focus should be. RFP responses can seem complex and intimidating, especially to the uninitiated. Simplify the task by dividing and conquering.
Where Does the Requirement for Technical Content Come From?
As with contractual content, the short answer is: “The RFP.” But in this case, the underlying driver is the Work. Clients don’t make up response requirements for the fun of it. Instead, they determine what they need to know about the goods or services (or both) that they want:
- To validate that a bidder’s offer is what they want, or to assess how close it is to what they want
- To make bidders commit in writing to delivering the goods and/or services
- To distinguish bidders’ offerings
- To identify and quantify any risks that they might be accepting in going with a bidder’s technical solution
What Kind of Technical Content is Required?
Whatever it says in the RFP: Designs, drawings, specifications, plans, procedures, schedules, miscellaneous narrative . . .
Is it a Good Idea to Submit Additional Technical Content?
Ah, the $64,000 question. Here’s the dilemma:
- In bidder debriefs, clients sometimes note that they wanted more detail, or even that another (unnamed) bidder submitted not just a plan as requested, but also an operating manual. That suggests that more is better.
- In bidder debriefs, clients sometimes note that they took issue with the bidder’s approach, as detailed in extra content. That suggests that while more may be better, sometimes less is more.
There is no single right answer: What is good will depend not only on the client but on the preferences of the individual evaluators.
Where Should the Focus be on Technical Content?
Technical content should be clear.
Technical content should be compliant with the technical requirement (that is, the solution described by the technical content should be compliant).
Technical content should be complete against the response requirement.
Technical content should be consistent.
Boy, I’d say that was enough work for any proposal effort.