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How to Best Leverage Proposal Schedule and Cost Estimate at Contract Award

Published 06/13/18

Have you thought about the process you follow immediately after contract award? Are the project teams assigned to a new project using the proposal schedule, cost estimate, and basis of estimate (BOE) data to their full advantage? With the right process and tool-sets in place, including proposal and project cost management software, you can get through the initiating and planning phases easier and faster – and increase the quality of the schedule and budget data.

What we often see is the hand-off between the proposal team and project team isn’t planned very well. Frequently the project team is an entirely different set of people. After contract award, the project team is handed the proposal response and they are left to their own devices to sort through the data content.

No surprise what happens next. The project team concludes it is easier to redo the schedule and budget plan than leverage what was created for the proposal. Why? It’s too hard for them to sort through how the proposal team arrived at their schedule and cost estimate. Proposal teams often don’t capture their BOE rationale so the next person can understand their thought process and validate or update their assumptions. Clear, specific BOE details help the next person to verify and confirm the results and build on them.

The project team needs the BOE details to substantiate the project’s integrated master schedule and time-phased budget plan. They need to understand and own the planned approach to complete the work because they will be living with the schedule and budget plan for the life of the project – is it executable? How did the proposal team determine the work tasks, durations, sequence of work, how many and what kind of resources, and material requirements? Did they use historical data and extrapolate from there? Expert judgement? What assumptions were made? What risks and opportunities were considered and how did that get translated into the proposed schedule and cost estimate?

Here’s a short list of practices that we have seen companies use to ensure project teams leverage the hard work that went into producing a winning proposal.

1. It all begins with quality schedule and cost estimate data.

Using a tool like ProjStream’s BOEMax proposal software makes it easy for the proposal team to build the WBS and map the statement of work to break the work effort down to the level they need to determine resources and estimate the work. They produce a data-driven cost estimate, price it, and capture a complete set of BOE details including proposal team notes or other attachments so they can easily document their rationale. With bi-directional integration between the schedule toolset and BOEMax estimate software, the schedule and cost estimate tell the same story with a complete list of resource requirements and bill of materials (BOM). They can also document their make or buy decisions and include the selection criteria for subcontractors included in the proposal. All of this data and information is saved in the bidding software, ready for the post-award activities.

2. Produce a transition schedule and establish a transition team as part of the pre-award process.

Once the proposal is submitted, this functions as the hand-off between the proposal team and an assigned project manager or other designated management lead in anticipation of contract award. This project lead creates a schedule of startup activities with a small team of assigned project control personnel so they are ready for the initiating phase immediately following contract award.

The complete set of proposal data is handed off to this assigned transition team. The team reviews the schedule, cost estimate, and BOE details with the proposal team. The transition team works through the BOE rationale, verifies the results, and adds their notes in the BOEMax proposal software.

Immediately following contract award, the project manager executes the transition schedule. Working with HR and procurement, the transition schedule helps the project manager ramp-up resources and issue any immediate purchase orders to suppliers and subcontractors.

The project team verifies the contractual statement of work and updates the BOE details as applicable. Cost estimate data in BOEMax seamlessly imports into ProjStream’s MaxTeam project budget management software to establish the budget data. MaxTeam then integrates with the schedule tool set so the project team can easily update the proposal schedule details and verify the schedule and time-phased budget data tell the same story. The project team is able to quickly produce the project’s schedule and budget baseline because they were able to use the proposal source data as the foundation.

3. Include a kick-off meeting with the project control team and customer early in the transition schedule.

This meeting creates the opportunity for everyone to review the statement of work, assumptions, resource requirements, risks and opportunities, and other details about the project. This helps the project control team to verify accomplishment criteria and factors important to the customer so this can be incorporated into the integrated master schedule and time-phased budget data details. Where applicable, the BOE details are updated to reflect new insights gained from the kick-off meeting and reflected in the project’s schedule and budget plan.

Add Value to Your Proposal Data

The BOEMax basis of estimate software and MaxTeam project budget management software work seamlessly together to help you increase the quality and traceability of your schedule and cost data for the life of the project. Leveraging the proposal schedule, cost estimate, and BOE source data makes it easier and faster to get through the initiating and planning phases of the project. And, you have produced better historical data for the proposal teams to use.

Schedule a software demo today to see how BOEMax and MaxTeam can help streamline your post-award process.