Set your shaping plan

  • Goal: The goal here is to:
    • Identify ways that the content of the acquisition, or the process the government plans to use to complete the acquisition, could change to increase your chances of winning (shaping goals)
    • Create a plan to implement your shaping goals
  • Creating your shaping strategy: Shaping is a significant topic and we have a course that that covers that most common shaping strategies and how to operationalize those strategies (see bellow)
  • The plan: In this lesson we will focus on how to plan and manage your shaping strategy to make sure it actually happens

The principle shaping phases/events

  1. Pre-RFI/SS: As soon as an award is published you can know the end date and be pretty sure that it will re-compete a year prior. So the pre-RFI shaping phase starts the moment you identify an opportunity/decide to invest time into pursuing it and when the government releases its first official notice to industry (typically an RFI or sources sought)
  2. The RFI/SS response: RFI & SS are the government’s way to formally ask for input from industry. As such they are excellent opportunities to influence and shape

Pre-RFI/SS shaping

  1. You should plan and project manage your RFI and SS responses but they are well defined events with due dates and a predictable process. So we will discuss them in our course on proposal writing.
  2. In this lessor we want to focus on how to plan your shaping activities before an RFI/SS comes out.
  3. Why you need a plan: I’m a firm believer that people always prioritize urgent work over important work and if you are years away from an RFP being released the shaping to prepare for that RFP will always be “important but not urgent” making it very likely that you will never actually get around to doing it
  4. What goes into the plan: The key activities in your shaping plan are:
    1. Assessing each of the major shaping tools to see which ones could help you win this opportunity
    2. Developing your theory for why it is in the government’s best interests to adopt your recommendations
    3. Identify the people to target
    4. Develop a strategy to get a warm introduction to each of the stakeholders you want to engage
      1. Mutual connection
      2. Agency OSDBU
      3. Other
    5. Develop your presentation and a leave behind document for each stakeholder
    6. Schedule an initial meeting and meet
    7. Monthly follow up calls and emails to make sure they remember you
  5. Creating the work plan: If you use FedScout there are integrated work management tools and automated reminders to help you execute your shaping work plan. If you are not using FedScout we highly recommend adding reminders to your calendar and adding the shaping activities to your work management system
  6. Assign owners: Shaping can seem vague or ambiguous or like it is everyone’s responsibility, which makes it no one’s responsibility. We highly recommend assigning all the shaping responsibilities for an opportunity to one person