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A strateGY that either the federal government or offerer could take to avoid the mistake in the fut

Evaluate the list of common cost proposal mistakes based on the recommendations in Chapter 15 of the textbook. Select three from the list, and determine the most likely cause of each. Then, recommend a strategy that either the federal government or offerer could take to avoid the mistake in the future.

Osborne (2011) listed twenty (20) common cost proposal mistakes provided by a major government contracting agency. I have chosen the following three (3) mistakes as my focus for evaluation.

• Not responsive to RFP instructions

• Referencing paragraphs that do not exist

• Assuming cost summaries are enough substantiation

The burden of proof is on the offerors. The government does not care why a bid is not complete or substantiated. They will simply move on to the next proposal. The most likely cause of the first mistake is not paying close attention to the RFP instructions, Section L (Instructions to Offerors). If there are ambiguities in the RFP or a need for clarification, there are usually opportunities for the vendor to ask questions. Building on lessons from previous chapters, the task of ensuring all RFP instructions are adhered to should be assigned to specific members of the capture team based on areas of responsibility. After the cost proposal is completed, it should be reviewed/evaluated against the instructions to make sure all have been addressed completely. (Osborne, 2011)

The most likely cause of the second mistake may be due to changes during proposal revisions. A recommendation to mitigate this error is to ensure traceability throughout the proposal, namely from the WBS to statement of work and vice versa. (Osborne, 2011) When items are deleted, follow through with deleting/updating all related elements. This should also be checked for during the review process.

Not substantiating cost summaries can be a costly mistake. This miscalculation probably results from inexperience with government bids. The burden of proof for cost reasonableness is on the offeror, and they should substantiate all cost estimates to prove they are reasonable and realistic. (Osborne, 2011)

Determine which proposal review would be the most effective in gaining a competitive advantage based on the reviews in Chapter 15 and explain why. Create a new review that’s not part of the review process listed in Chapter 15 and describe how the review adds value to the process.

The Red Team Review is the most effective in gaining a competitive edge. This review verifies whether all RFP instructions, requirements, and evaluation criteria have been followed, and mimes the customer evaluation

process to determine proposal strengths and weaknesses. The Red Team Review also assesses the flow, logic, clarity, and persuasiveness of the proposal, and determines specific corrective actions to correct deficiencies. (Osborne, 2011)

A new review that would add value to the process is a Green Team Review. This review will be an assessment of the team members at the capture team formation point to determine if they will have the time and resources available to fully do their proposal duties. This assessment will evaluate expected workload during proposal preparation and recommend adjustments to schedules.


Osborne, S. R. (2011). Winning Government Business: Gaining the Competitive Advantage with Effective Proposals (2nd ed.). Vienna:

Management Concepts.

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