Should we start writing text, in advance of the final solicitation? No.
This is universally a mistake. Such text NEVER survives a review process, as the text doesn’t match the solicitation. Further, such text creates text management costs, and gives the false impression of progress toward a final version of the proposal, when in fact there IS no progress.


I disagree. There are many times in procurements where advanced writing is justified, required, and can provide an edge to either the new competitor or the incumbent.

First: When a recompetition’s requirements have not substantially changed from previous contract requirements. (This works for both incumbents and new players).

Second: When a draft has been issued and the Government has provided sufficient feedback on its planned course of action for the procurement. (Unless there are expected significant delays, a solution and outline with supporting technical data – and basic writing – is mandatory. Especially on large procurements)!!

Third: When your solution is not going to change materially from what the company is capable of providing and what the Capture Manager knows to be the Government’s intended needs and course of action for its requirements.

All writing gets revised, but under these circumstances, pre-release writing efforts are fully justified. Refinement and adjustment is always made easier and produces better quality under these conditions.

Basic management plans, technical solutions, and past performance data and contract selection should be developed, selected, and put to paper with supporting text – even in unknown conditions – if you want the team to start thinking.

Under the above conditions, writing should begin based on previous Solicitations and draft solicitations (somewhat more risky). Old solicitations provide excellent draft outlines when requirements and market conditions have not changed, and should be used to get things going (and monitored through the process). A company’s capabilities that will not change should and can be outlined and written to in advance!

I agree with the other guidelines offered in the article.


a Letter from John Shores to the Editor