When we last donned our EV suits, the Polaris GWAC was scheduled to be released in mid-summer of this year. We all need to carry some additional oxygen canisters as the solicitation’s release is now apparently delayed until sometime in September. That’s the Deltek estimate at least, as there has been no official information out of the Government at least since March 9th.

While the response will be complicated, Polaris offers small businesses the opportunity to each grab a share of the multi-billion-dollar Government funding expected.  It will be incumbent of each bidder to put forth their best effort, and you should not hesitate to use third-party support to make that happen.

If you have never won a GWAC- or BPA-type contract, consider why, and assess whether your internal resources include the experience and breadth of knowledge needed to win. This is particularly true considering that the self-scoring worksheet will be graded in a fairly cut-and-dried evaluation model. Your only chance to shine will be in the narrative portions of your response, so they must count! The Small Business targets of this solicitation typically don’t have the expertise to effectively respond given that everybody has a “day job” — that’s the nature of small business.

You are going to need a team (whether organic or contracted) that has extreme attention to detail, with the effort compounded by the addition of any JV, CTA, or subcontracted members. Each and every addition beyond the prime will increase the number of files required to be reviewed, edited, and uploaded, increasing the chance for error. A dedicated staffing model for this response effort may be the best thing you can do to increase your Pwin.

Proposal Readiness Review (PRR) for Polaris GWAC

Many companies find it helpful to perform a Proposal Readiness Review (PRR) to assess their capability against the RFP.  An analyst examines the company’s offering compared to both the solicitation requirements and potential competitors to locate holes that can potentially be covered, for example by a partner company. The results of the review provide a road map of what needs to be done to win.  Or the review might determine that the lift required to win this contract is too high, and precious B&P dollars should be spent elsewhere.  A PRR can be completed in 4 days and should be done ASAP to give you time to fill the holes.  The review can be performed by qualified in-house personnel.  Or for an unbiased review by an industry professional, you can contact us here.

Updated Polaris GWAC Timeline

The following is a suggested set of tasks by month that should assist in managing the response burden:

Timeframe Tasks
June ·       Download the draft RFP and become familiar with all the moving parts

·       Develop a tracking capability for all the materials that will need to be gathered and submitted subdivided by team member

·       Review the Self Scoring Worksheet contained at M.6 and begin to gather the requisite information

·       Join the Small Business GWAC Community of Interest. GSA has recommended the site as a way to stay current on the acquisition effort

·       Monitor SAM for the release of new information/files

July ·       Identify your proposal team and get your Proposal Manager involved with the draft RFP

·       Begin working with your intended teammates and identify to each the information they will be expected to provide

·       Identify any required data calls and begin rolling them out, as appropriate

·       Start reviewing candidate program for both Relevant Experience and for Past Perform. Recognize that some information will need to come from Government systems so plan accordingly

·       Monitor SAM for the release of new information/files

August ·       In the near future, determine if outside proposal resources are needed and if so start finding them

·       Establish a schedule for status calls to track your data calls

·       Start to finalize your Relevant Experience candidates as well as Past Performance candidate – begin getting the required data together

·       Monitor SAM for the release of new information/files

September ·       Continue gathering information and refining content based upon the draft RFP

·       Monitor SAM for the release of new information/files and the final solicitation


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Previous blog article on Polaris: Reach for the Stars with a Win on the Polaris GWAC