Past Performance Matters!

In government proposals, Federal Acquisition Regulations require agencies to use past performance in the evaluation of proposal bids.  Consequently, past performance is a very important element in proposal development.

Agencies have broad discretion when it comes to using past performance as an evaluation factor.  In a recent study, past performance was used as the highest evaluation factor or tied for the highest evaluation factor in 38 percent of Request for Proposals.

There is an important different between relevant experience and past performance.  Relevant experience usually is a general description of the applicant’s background and experience and it often is sprinkled throughout a proposal.

Past performance does address background and experience, but it is a separate section of a proposal and focuses on how well your organization did on work similar to the Statement of Work in the Request for Proposals.

These are the areas that are usually considered in past performance:

  • Recent work.
  • Relevance in size, scope, and complexity to the current bid.
  • Quality of products and services.
  • Timeliness of work performance.
  • Forecasting and controlling costs (staying within budget).
  • Adherence to schedules.
  • Customer satisfaction.
  • Performance of key personnel.

Most government agencies believe that past performance is one of the best indicators of future performance.  As a result, your descriptions of past performance must be very specific and detailed.

Past performance is like a resume.  General descriptions will not be highly evaluated.  You must tailor your past performance descriptions for each proposal bid.  This can be a time-consuming process.

Past Performance matters!  Because it is often a major factor in the evaluation process and takes time to do well, you must develop your past performance descriptions carefully and early in the proposal development process.

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