How many of you woke up last Sunday and predicted that the best offense in the history of the NFL wouldn’t score a point until the third quarter? Most people figured that the game would be relatively even, but the thought of the blowout that occurred didn’t even seem fathomable. Olessia went to the University of Colorado, so for her it wasn’t a question that Broncos were going to dominate the game. She thought that their likelihood of winning was close to 70 percent. Dave, on the other hand, figured it was closer to 55 percent.
The theory behind predicting the odds of winning a game is similar to that behind predicting the Probability of Winning (Pwin) for a given opportunity capture. We bet by investing precious Bid & Proposal (B&P) dollars into capture and proposal development hoping for a successful outcome. We fill our pipelines with opportunities that we believe stand a chance of winning. And, no matter how high we rank our Pwin, just like in sports, on any given bid, the underdog always has a chance of coming out of nowhere and upsetting us.
Predicting Pwin is often a guessing game for most companies who don’t have an established methodology. Some use tools while others do it manually. Some capture managers put more thought and process into it, others are content to make an educated guess. On a side note, one of the major reasons GovWin IQ purchased Centurion was its module for predicting Pwin.
There is a variety of methods, which range from labor-intensive to more simplistic, for determining Pwin. Labor-intensive methods include answering a slew of questions, for example, one of the top five government contractors uses 40 different questions. Each of the questions has their own weights and scoring. That list is great but it takes a lot of time and resources to research and answer every question.
Another method is to conduct a Black Hat or SWOT analysis on the top competitors, and then you score yourself and them against the expected evaluation criteria. The scoring approach goes something like this:
|Evaluation Criteria||Maximum Possible Score||Home Team||Competitor 1||Competitor 2|
|Key Personnel and Staffing Plan||20||13||19||8|
Home Team Pwin is 69/(69+75+58) = .34 (34 percent)
Competitor 1 Pwin is 75/(69+75+58) = .37 (37 percent)
Competitor 2 Pwin is 58/(69+75+58) = .28 (28 percent)
This method is more complicated. The scores are predicated using a detailed analysis in advance of a Black Hat session, and then they are modified during the Black Hat. Additionally, based off of your predictions of the evaluation criteria, the sections may carry different weights. For example, if the contract is best value then the Technical Section will carry the highest weight, and you will need to adjust your scores comparatively.
But many companies actually resort to a much simpler formula. They narrow down, in their heads, the number of competitors who have a viable chance of winning the opportunity, and then they evenly split the score between all the serious contenders. In other words, it is the number of awards divided by the number of serious contenders. Ironically, this method may yield results that are not all that different from the more complicated Black Hat method mentioned above. For example, if you simply divided 100 percent by three, the Home Team’s Pwin would be a little over 33 percent. The downside of using a simpler method is that this prediction doesn’t give management a very good idea of how to increase Pwin relative to their competitors, or how to decrease the competitors’ Pwin.
Predictions are inherently based on the assumptions made from the information available, and one’s bias in favor of their own company. The result of the method that involves thorough competitive analysis, however, will help you identify yours and your competitor’s, weaknesses so that you can adjust your strategy accordingly.
The secret of winning bids, just like football games, is the same. Be realistic about your chances of winning and leave no stone unturned. Spare no effort and do whatever it takes in order to turn up a stellar performance, because someone else may work harder, be more tenacious, and want the victory more.
What Pwin calculation methodology or tool do you use? Do you favor a quick-and-dirty method, or go with a more sophisticated analysis?
Business Development and Operations Manager
OST Global Solutions, Inc.
…Because There is No Second Place in Proposals! TM