Unofficial Oral Proposal Guide
What Submissions May be Oral
You can also switch from the usual written proposal format to an oral presentation of several submissions you may not have considered. These depend on your specific requirement, but the possibilities include the technical proposal/capability/approach, past and/or present performance, work plans, staffing or organization charts, transition plans between incumbent and successor, sample tasks/scenarios, and an actual task to be awarded as the first task order in an Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract.
If you plan to award an IDIQ contract that requires the vendor to react quickly, an oral proposal that includes a representative task can give the evaluation team a real-life sense of how fast the task can be turned, how well it can be resourced, and any issues that might arise out of a vendor’s inability to move fast.
One way of using a real-time test is to allow the vendor to finish their prepared presentation, then give them the quick-turn task with a limited amount of time—either in the presence of the evaluation team or with a brief preparation period in another room—to propose orally how they would solve the problem. I recommend you let them know in advance in the instructions to the vendors/offerors that their response will be evaluated. When you give the vendor the task instructions on the day of the orals, the instructions should be in writing for them to refer to while they are prepping a response and to ensure that all competitors receive the same instructions.
This method of assessing their abilities will improve the likelihood that the team the vendor sends to brief the oral proposals are the actual minds behind the expertise needed and not a team of eloquent actors. You’ll also get to see how the minds of your vendor’s team work, how they work together, what the team dynamics are, and how they handle real-life pressure to move fast and get it right. If those things are meaningful to your acquisition, then they should also be reflected in the evaluation criteria.