JK Waldie & Associates
Project information is important, as your company’s project experience can often win (or lose) a project. The details, or gold, in those projects can help you differentiate yourself from your competitors. Evaluators want to see that your team has the experience handling a similar size project to theirs and can problems as they arise during a project.
But managing historical project data is a challenge for both small and large proposal centers. Here are some suggestions on how to track and retain project details that you can use later in proposals. This may seem like more work than you have time for, but it will save you immense time later during the proposal phase. You can use these ideas as stand-alone or in combination.
- Work with your accounting department to provide you with a monthly list of project numbers. This list can tell you of new projects as contracts are signed. You can also use this list to determine wins if you have project managers who forget to tell you! Have them include project close dates so you know when a project is complete.
- Obtain access to the project directories. This way you can look up project information as needed, including scope of work or photos.
- Keep an electronic copy of the RFP until you confirm whether the project is a win or a loss. If a win, keep electronic copies of the scope of work from the RFP. That, combined with the technical response of the proposal will give you a great base-line to develop a project write-up from. Then when you are ready, obtain a copy of the contract scope of work from the appropriate department.
- If your company does not already have a means to track this detail, prepare a detailed project data sheet using all the information from the RFP, proposal, and contract once the project has started. Do not wait until the project is over. Include all possible information you think an RFP will ask for: client name, reference, contract value, total project value, start date, estimated completion date, and team members who worked on the project. Also, include the project working directory. Having all that information in one spot will save you a tremendous amount of time from having to track down the information the next time you need it.
- Update the information when the project ends; including any changes in the scope of work and actual completion date. Take the time to interview the project manager to find out what issues and solutions they developed and the project metrics: final cost, number of change orders, cost of change orders, and whether they completed ahead of schedule. If after original date, find out why.
It is important to always confirm your references, even if you have the data in your file. Staff comes and goes at our clients’ sites just as they do at our own companies. By keeping track of company projects, it makes your job much easier in writing targeted project experience sections in your proposals. It also saves time as you do not have to track down project information for every proposal.
Based on a previously published article, “There’s Gold in Them There projects,” in The Perspective, Volume 18, Issue 4, 2008. Published by the Association of Proposal Management Professionals.