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Evaluating Proposals

Posted 7/13/2022

The Basics: evaluation criteria are reconciled to what is stated in the RFx; the evaluation tool is prepared, evaluation committee chosen and

 vetted all prior to the closing time or earlier.

The Strategy: know what you are looking for in a superior proposal and put it in writing at the procurement planning stage. Be careful about mandatory requirements. For example, I often see a requirement for similar experience performed in a defined time frame. Is this because the project requires current knowledge or is it because that is “standard” practice? A time limitation could cause an otherwise experienced proponent to self exclude or if a proponent’s similar experiences were outside the time frame, then they must be rejected as non-conforming. Know the difference between experience with current and fast evolving technology vs. experience that transcends time limits.

Rectification: If you allow proponents to rectify proposals after closing to bring them into conformance, the process must be stated in the RFx.

The Process: I recommend that evaluators independently evaluate and score each proposal using the evaluation tool. At the consensus meeting discussion is focused on criteria for which a statistically larger variance in scoring is given. All evaluators should note the reasoning behind the scoring given. Records are kept and can be referenced when providing a debriefing to proponents. This process both demonstrates fairness and transparency while also being time and resource efficient.

Due Diligence: Do you really want to check references of every proponent? Unless the RFx states otherwise you are bound to do that. I recommend that only the leading or if scoring is very close the top ranked proponent’s references are checked. This process and the consequences must be disclosed in the RFx. Reference checking should be done by one person using a standard set of questions. Again, the results must be documented.

Summary: State what you will do, do what you state and no more, record everything, and keep those records. If you engaged in suitable procurement planning at the outset the end result will deliver the expected value.