I thought I’d share a quick story about my company’s first foray into Government 2.0. I’d love feedback or tips especially from government folks after you read our story.
In November, we were approached by a City agency to bid on a contract to help them modernize their Internet Marketing efforts. The contract was for a relatively modest amount of money… far less than our rates for a similar project in the private sector. However, the RFP was written as if it was intended for us. The skills required were a perfect fit for our company. Given that we wanted to reach out to this particular City anyhow, we decided to draft a proposal to fit within their budgetary needs.
The proposal writing experience was not difficult, but it was very time-consuming. All proposals were required to include extensive details on how the project was to be conducted. At times, we were expected to explain proprietary methods of completing certain types of work. Several of the sections of the proposal were duplicative or a few shades off another section of the proposal. In the end, two people on our team spent 7 days getting the 38 page proposal completed… all for a project in the low five figure range.
We delivered the proposal on time and in conjunction with City guidelines. The Award Date for the proposal was February 10. We waited with great anticipation of the Award, because we felt that we had a great chance to win the contract.
It’s March 6th now, and we haven’t heard a single thing from the City regarding the contract. As far as we can tell, it hasn’t been awarded. I have called three people in the City to just get an update, and I only get voicemail. I can’t get any information.
I’m a little burned up about this experience because we spent a lot of time putting the proposal together & fitting it into the way this particular City does business. We did everything that was asked of us, which included a lot of paperwork that seemed duplicative in some cases… unnecessary in others. We haven’t even gotten the courtesy of an update.
So… my questions for government professionals out there:
1) are delays like this common in the public sector?
2) are government professionals generally aware of the difficulty/time involved in producing proposals?
The proposal time is a big deal because it eats into the profitability of projects. I would think government folks would want these types of endeavors to be profitable for consultants/service providers, so you’d get the best/brightest from industry working on your problems. I am beginning to wonder if the process is so difficult, that Industry & Government can’t really come together in meaningful ways that benefit both sides of the equation.