Proposal Development- building fundamentals


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  • Opening (25 minutes)
    - Cover agenda (3 modules on FC)
    Note that this first module will build fundamental knowledge of the basic proposal processes and terminology encountered in developing plans and approaches to working with the government.
    The other modules cover how to effectively respond to solicitations and how to navigate the post-submission process.
    Introductions (10 minutes): to share their name, who they work for, what experience they have working with the government and/or writing proposals.
    Before class: put up agenda on FC; bring up websites
  • The federal government is a major potential revenue source for large corporations and small businesses, minority owned businesses and woman owned businesses alike, who wish to sell product and service offerings.
    In this class, you will be learning things that can help you now, as well as in future roles that may look quite different from where you are now.
    Ask: how many of you are in a role currently where pursuing contract opportunities is NOT a part of your job? (NASA). If so, I want you all to put yourselves in the shoes of someone – perhaps your future self – who is in an organization that does business with the government, and winning new government business is the lifeline to the organization, and is what pays your paycheck.
    This class is to help you think broader, so there will be multiple times during the next two days where you need to take yourself out of where you are in your career at this moment, and think, “what do I need to learn if winning government business was how my org stayed afloat”?
    Cover module 1 objectives
  • -(10 minutes): Regulation is a hot topic in 2008 news – we are a regulated country.
    - 1863: the first regulatory body of the U.S. Federal Government was the Comptroller of the Currency which was charged with chartering and regulating national banks.
    - The early 1900’s: on slide
    - During the 1930’s, federal regulation began in earnest with the implementation of the New Deal. The Federal Depositors Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), FCC, FDA and National Institute of Health (NIH) began regulating bank insurance, securities, airwaves, food processing as well as monitoring the health of our nation.
    - In 1947, President Truman put forth legislation to create the Department of Defense.
    - The 1950’s saw the creation of National Aeronautical and Space Agency (NASA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) to promote the progress of science.
    - The 60’s and 70’s brought pushes for environmental controls. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as well as Department of Energy (DOE) are just two of the many agencies created during that timeframe.
    In the 80’s the Department of Education was formed to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness.
    - Currently we have over 70 agencies and departments making up our federal government. It’s enough to make your head spin. Fortunately, the birth of the internet has given us the ability to see all of these agencies in a compact list.
  • The Federal Acquisition Jumpstation plays host to all of our federal agencies and departments. With a simple click, you can jump to the website for the selection you make. This website can help you do research on agencies of interest.
    - Ask: Who has been to this site? Let’s take 10 minutes now and in your groups, explore the FA Jumpstation website.
    - Each and every one of the gov’ts 70 agencies and departments pursues procurement requirements in strict compliance with the acquisition regulations and is run by process and procedure.
    Therefore, government contracting is all about process and procedure. If you fail to dot your “I’s”, cross your “T’s”, forget to include a required piece of information or miss a deadline you will be out of the running for the contract you are trying to win.
    This class is is designed to help you understand government processes and procedures so that you won’t inadvertently fail to do something that would make you lose business.
  • P. 6 of IG: Before we start discussing federal contracting we need to distinguish the differences between grants and contracts. Many of you have worked with grants before. Ask: Can you define a federal grant for me?
    According to, (on slide). Federal grants are not federal assistance or loans to individuals and may not used to acquire property or services for the federal government's direct benefit.
    Essentially a grant is hope. Hope that the organization using the funds will produce the desired outcome. For example, the Dept. of Education might grant monies to study the effects of head start programs in hope that the results will prove these programs work and are worthy of additional funding. The organization conducting the research receives the monies from the grant regardless of the outcome.
    - A federal contract is the complete opposite. Federal contracts are based on rules cited in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), which we will discuss shortly. There is no hope involved here, only expectations of results. If the results are not what were promised, the organization which was awarded the contract might be considered in default.
    For those of you in the room who have worked with both grants and contracts, what are some of the differences between the two? SEE LIST IN IG
    What are some of the similarities between grants and contracts? SEE LIST IN IG
    During the next two days you will be learning how to be successful government contractors; building the fundamental knowledge about the process and the procedures you must follow to be awarded a contract, not a grant. So, if you are used to grants, this class will help you make that transition.
  • (40 minutes) Most products or services needed by an agency of the federal government are solicited from the private sector.
    If the cost of these goods and services is less than:
    $2500: agency credit card; micro purchases and no competition is required.
    If the cost is greater than $10,000 but less than $25,000, the agency must post the opportunity in a public place- their agency websites and ask for bids and proposals.
    If the cost will be $25,000 or greater however, each agency is required to post those needs on the Federal Business Opportunities website (FedBizOpps)
    There are varying thresholds depending on the type of acquisition method, dollar value for total cost, mandates on supply sources, and whether or not construction products are involved.  "Just remember to ensure that your contract requirements are development or administered in accordance with the correct policies stated in FAR Subpart 12, paragraph 12.102."
    If you have a GSA contract, different thresholds will apply under the GSA Schedules (also referred to as Multiple Award Schedules and Federal Supply Schedules) Program; competition has taken place to be put on the schedule
    Gov’t has classified goods and services into areas (IT) – area Special Item Number – SIN – tells you how to you can use those services on that schedule
    With the simplified acquisition thresholds, and GSA Schedule Contracts prices already competed – up to negotiated ceiling and other GWAC (Government-wide Acquisition Contracts), they have raised the ceilings because the contractor's pricing was competed in awarding the schedules to the contractor, so now those ceilings are $5.5 mil if using Simplified Acquisition Procedures (FAR 13).
  • Ask: who is familiar with the FAR?
    As we saw earlier, we are a much regulated country. it comes as no surprise that we have a Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) to abide by.
    - Within that code Title 48 is the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). These regulations are a system for codifying and publishing uniform policies and procedures for the acquisition of goods and services by all executive agencies.
    - The FAR consisting of fifty-three parts, and are broken into Subchapters.
    (Key elements: FAR 52 Solicitation Provisions and Clauses , Publicizing Contract Actions (Part 5); Simplified Acquisition Procedures (Part 13); Types of Contracts (Part 16);and Small Business Programs (Part 19). )
  • The entire set of Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) can be viewed online at
    - The FAR covers all the provisions and clauses used in government contracting. These federal agency regulations and policies help you understand the basis and rationale for the contract awards.
    GO TO WEBSITE and ask them to do the same (URL in their PW). Clicking on the HTML format instantly brings up the fifty-three parts and subparts of these regulations.
    Go to next slide for details
  • A sealed bidding process is formal advertising which involves the issuance of an Invitation for Bid (IFB) by a procuring agency. Sealed bidding is how the government contracts with vendors competitively when the requirements are clear, accurate and complete. Can use any three methods (RFQ for less than $100K, IFB for $100K+). (Can use shipping example here)
    The Request for Proposal (RFP, RFPs) or Request for Tender (RFTs, RFT) - an RFP, while generally used for requirements of $25,000 or more, is often employed for requirements where the selection of a supplier cannot be made solely on the basis of the lowest price.
    The Request for Quotation (RFQ, RFQs) is normally sent out when a requisition is received for goods and services valued at less than $25,000. The bid documents are kept simple so that the contract can be awarded quickly.
    A negotiated acquisition, or an RFP, is used to procure the most cost-effective solution based upon evaluation criteria identified in the RFP. It involves a far more complex selection process where the contracts office will prepare acquisitions packages including the specification and standards, performance requirements, and publish the procurement request/solicitation. When the timeframe for receiving responses has elapsed, they are evaluated for selecting sources. Use RFP and RFQ.
    It is the negotiated acquisition methods of source selection that we will draw our attention to over the next two days.
  • (Part 15, point 3. Sub-part 3.)
    - Ask: How does the government solicit proposals for negotiated acquisitions? What is the process?
    Here it is at a high-level.
    Note: We’ll be covering all aspects of proposal development and submission in Module Two.
  • - Agencies also post their projected budgets. The National Science Foundation is projecting to spend over $5 billion dollars in research and related activities in 2008. Contractors are going to be awarded those monies.
    - When you know how to win contracts with the government, there are plenty of resources available to fund proposals. The key is looking to those agencies or departments with which you share an affinity.
  • NSF is just one example – it is important to get a sense of all the agencies engaged in initiatives and projects that are involved in science, technology, engineering and math disciplines.
  • You must have your Dun & Bradstreet, Inc (DUNS) number to register with the Government.
    If you don’t have one, you can request one on the CCR website. It takes 24 hours to process that request, then you can proceed with the CCR.
  • If you work for a commercial services vendor, you might pursue this registration process so that your company will be eligible to receive federal contracts.
    Primary database for the federal government
    Required for all companies to work with the government
    Specific requirements for completing this registration:
    Tax Identification Number for your business or org
    Statistical information for the business – average # employees & receipts
    Information to set up EFT for invoice payments
    Can start registration once you’ve gathered this information.
  • We are all familiar with a host of acronyms affiliated with various federal agencies and processes.
    These are just a few of those we will see as we discuss the best practices for “winning government contracts.”
  • Explain that the government standardizes business industries to determine statistical data for monitoring national performance indices for business and industry.
    A numerical code identifies each industry type
    Beginning in 1987, they used the existing 4-digit Department of Labor Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) Codes, to track business performance.
    In 1991, they determined that the SIC codes did not provide the clear economical data for assessing and projecting business performance
    Office of Management & Budget (OMB) directed the Bureau of Census to develop these economic indices. In 2002, Census implemented government-wide usage of the 6-digit codes we know today as NAICS
    measures business productivity and track companies performance in various governmental agencies.
    NAICS was developed jointly with Canada and Mexico to assure we can statistically compare business activity across our vast continent.
  • NAICS Codes are assigned for all acquisitions
    These codes aid contracting agencies is categorizing acquisition, and aid companies in deciding which opportunities to pursue
    We will use Industry Codes 54 and 61 for examples in this discussion
    54 – Professional, Scientific and Technical Services
    5411710 – Research & Development (R&D) in Physical, Engineering & Life Sciences
    5411720 – R&D in Social Sciences and Humanities
    61 – Educational Services
    611210 – Junior Colleges
    611310 – Colleges, Universities and Professional Schools
  • All agencies and departments post procurement opportunities through this internal portal – Newly updated with enhanced features; Can access user guides from this page.
    Registration for contractors – can access restricted information required to respond to solicitations – design specifications; floor layouts; system requirements
    For contractors, it allows you to search and monitor all agency/department requests from one location
  • Portal – new, just in the last month the site has been updated;
    Serves as single acquisition point for both government agencies and vendors
  • This pages shows opportunities for NASA.
    A – Global Precipitation Measurement Project Star Trackers
    Research & Development – (Modified)
    Can navigate this page and find loads of information and documents about this solicitation, additional documents, and links to attachments
  • Proposal Development- building fundamentals

    1. 1. Winning Government Contracts Module One Building Fundamentals
    2. 2. Objectives: Module One Upon completion of this module, you will be able to: • Identify how the government purchases products and services  Define and understand how to use the Federal Acquisition Regulation • Recognize the federal agencies with STEM relevance • Locate contract opportunities
    3. 3. The History of Regulatory Agencies  1863: Comptroller of the Currency (Chartering and Controlling banks)  Early 1900’s: Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA ), and the Department of Commerce  1930’s: The Federal Depositors Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and National Institute of Health (NIH)  1947: Department of Defense  1950’s: NASA & National Science Foundation  1960’s & 1970’s: Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy  1980’s: Department of Education
    4. 4. Grants vs. Contracts Grant: “Transfer of money or property to accomplish a public purpose of support or stimulation as authorized by Federal statute.”* Receives money regardless of outcome Contract: A legally binding document in which a product or service is promised by one party and paid for by another party Expectation of results Based on rules and regulations in the FAR *The Federal Grants and Cooperative Agreement Act of 1977
    5. 5. The Federal Procurement Process • Needs determined by department/agency • The agency must promote competition to get the best deal • Depending on the nature of the procurement, and which agency you are in, various rules and/or acquisition thresholds apply • • • • >$2,500: “Micro-purchases”* $2,500-$10,000 $10,00-$24,999 $25,000 or greater: posted to FedBizOpps • GSA Schedules have their own thresholds • Also referred to as Multiple Award Schedules and Federal Supply Schedules • Establishes long-term government-wide contracts with commercial firms to provide access to over 11 million commercial supplies (products) • Proposals prepared by interested parties • Proposals evaluated and contracts awarded * Sample thresholds
    6. 6. The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR)  Part of the government’s Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)  53 parts  Codifying and publishing uniform policies and procedures for the acquisition of goods and services by all executive agencies  Specifically outlines how a contracting officer must:  Publicize a contract opportunity (e.g., agency website vs. FedBizOpps)  Define what methods can be used (e.g., sealed bids vs. negotiation)  Define contract types (e.g., fixed price vs. time and materials)  Delineate what contract cost principles and procedures must be followed  Define what type of proposal (e.g., request for information vs. request for proposals) is being sought
    7. 7. Part 15.3—Source Selection  15.302  Source selection objective:  To select the proposal that represents the best value.  Three methods for acquiring for goods and services: Invitation for Bid (IFB), Request for Proposal (RFP), or Request for Quote (RFQ)  Sealed bidding process  Well-defined product or service  The winner is the lowest bidder  A negotiated acquisition*  More complex; requirements not as straightforward/well defined  Contracting Officers solicits proposals from potential vendors/contractors  Proposals evaluated for best value; contract awarded to the best *Our focus
    8. 8. Negotiated Acquisitions (FAR 15.3): The Process 1. A procurement request is announced by the government 2. Potential contractors submit proposals 3. Proposals are analyzed and evaluated by the requesting agency/dept. 4. Proposals deemed potentially successful are identified and included in 5. 6. 7. 8. what is called a “competitive range”; unsuccessful proposals notified in writing If applicable, the government evaluators ask contractors questions After the questions are answered, contractors whose proposals still fall in the “competitive range” are allowed to issue a BAFO, Best And Final Offer Best And Final Offers are evaluated and a best value winner is chosen Those that were not selected are notified in writing and debriefs held upon request
    9. 9. STEM Supported Agencies  Departments of the Executive Branch  Agriculture  Agricultural Research Services  Commerce  National Institute of Standards and Technology  National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration  Defense     Army Navy Air Force Defense Logistics Agency  Education  Energy  Health and Human Services  National Institute of Health  Transportation  Independent Agencies  Environmental Protection Agency  National Aeronautics and Space Administration  National Science Foundation  National Transportation Safety Board  Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    10. 10. Locating Government Opportunities •Registering with the Government •Learning to use FedBizOpps •Planned and Forecasted Opportunities •Initiating Points of Contact
    11. 11. Acronyms Acronym Meaning CCR Central Contractor Registration DAU Defense Acquisition University DES Data Encryption Standard FAR Federal Acquisition Regulation FBO FedBizOpps GPE Government Point-of-Entry GSA General Services Administration IAE Integrated Acquisition Environment IFB Invitations For Bid MATO Multiple Award Task Order NAICS Northern American Industry Classification System NAIS NSPIRES RFI NASA Acquisition Internet Service NASA Solicitation and Proposal Integrated Review and Evaluation System Request for Information RFQ Request for Quotation RFP Request for Proposal ROSES Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Sciences
    12. 12. North American Industry Classification System Joint venture between the U.S., Canada and Mexico
    13. 13. Home Page – For Federal Procurement Portal
    14. 14. A multiuse Announcement (Pre-solicitation , Solicitation, and Award)
    15. 15. NASA Procurement Opportunities
    16. 16. Another view of the Goddard Solicitation with details.
    17. 17. Examples of various documents accessible from this portal.
    18. 18. Planned/Forecasted Opportunities •Business Opportunity Development Reform Act of 1988 •Forecasts: • Are not set in stone • Provide insight into potential business opportunities • Fiscal year starts October 1
    19. 19. Summar y: Building Fundamentals •The federal procurement process •Locating contract opportunities