How To Create a Winning Past Performance

Sep 26, 2022

Do you want to improve your chances of winning more Federal contracts? Never underestimate the role of past performance.

In government contracting, past performance refers to information regarding a contractor’s actions under previous contracts and orders. An offeror’s past performance is an important evaluation factor in many solicitations, and government agencies often use it to evaluate the offeror’s ability to deliver successfully on the contract. It determines your competency as a “responsible prospective contractor.” A winning past performance will impact your ability to win new businesses, option years, and recompetes. It is employed to showcase how successfully you accomplished similar work.

This blog explains how you can create a winning past performance and some best practices to be followed in the process:

Steps & Best Practices For Drafting A Winning Past Performance

  • Pick the Right Past Projects: To make an impact with your past performance, you need to choose the most appropriate previous contracts and then draft the past performance in a way that reflects your competency with respect to the required contract effectively. When choosing a past performance, you should not only consider including your highest-ranking projects; instead, you should choose a past performance that is the most recent and relevant and demonstrates your ability to complete all tasks specified in the Statement of Work (SOW) within the allotted time frame. Many factors can be used to find comparable, appropriate, and relevant performance, including size, scope, complexity, contract type, NAICS code, and industry. Make sure the projects you choose demonstrate good performance in terms of quality, cost control, punctuality, or any other aspect that may be crucial to the current project. You should not include a contract where your performance was below par in your past performance unless it is a must. Ideal past performance is both current and relevant to the solicitation.
  • Create a Past Performance Template: If an attachment for past performance information submission is not given, create a standard template, typically a tabular field, which comprises the details of the project that was shortlisted per the specifications stated in the RFP. Make sure to include all necessary information in the proposal page layout. After creating the project template and choosing all applicable projects to utilize, start by filling up all of the necessary criteria, starting with the factual data first, such as the contract number, money amount, performance duration, Contracting Officer details/ Point of Contact details and Point of Contact information. The next stage will include all the available narratives to characterize each project component or phase.
  • Create a Compelling Past Performance Narrative: After you have shortlisted the highly relevant, recent, and high-performing contracts to include in your past performance section, consider the following points to demonstrate your capability and dispel any concerns about your company’s ability to perform on the task. Tailor your past performance narrative to the proposed project as much as possible; for example, highlight all similarities of scope, environment, construction or design type, and comparable features and verify that the size, scope, and complexity of the contracts you have included are equivalent to the proposed contract. The information should be clear, concise, and responsive to the solicitation instructions and evaluation factors.
  • Explain the Gaps (If Any):  Ensure that the contractual performance of the element or sub-element under review was finished with just a few minor concerns for which the contractor’s corrective actions were highly effective. FAR 42.15 states that as long as the “contractual performance of the element or sub-element being evaluated was accomplished with few minor problems for which corrective actions taken by the contractor were highly effective,” an Exceptional rating is warranted. Therefore, instruct the team to mention these effective corrective actions in the proposal.
  • Keep Your Performance Records Up to Date: When deciding whether a contractor is sufficiently “responsible” to be given a government contract, federal agencies are obligated to take into account whether the firm has a “Satisfactory performance record. To assess the level of performance for the contracts presented as Past Performance in the proposed response, Federal Agencies consider the Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System (CPARS) rating or ask you or your reference to include the completed Past Performance Questionnaires (PPQs). A good track record is important whether or not you have previous experience working for the government. How well you’ve done is always significant. Always ensure to have a good past performance record, and you can achieve this by:
  • Updating your CPARS by keeping an eye on the clients’ performance reviews for federal contracts and collaborating with them to address any false performance reports.
  • Managing the Past Performance Questionnaire (PPQ) if necessary by designating someone to remain in touch with the client and ensure they complete and submit the questionnaire on time.
  • Giving an honest assessment of any performance problems, followed by an explanation of the corrective actions, serves as evidence that the problems won’t recur. If there is a necessity to mention any performance issues on the contract, do not say “none”; instead, construct a lesson learned.

Your past performance should meet or exceed contractual requirements. Justify previous performance by identifying major events and describing how they benefited the government. On the other hand, a single advantage may be so important that it warrants an Exceptional rating on its own.

To receive good ratings,

  • Summarize the factors that an evaluator should consider when evaluating a contractor’s past performance data.
  • Recommend a suitable performance scenario for the evaluator to consider.
  • Provide adequate justification for each previous performance and relate the events that occurred during the performance period to justify the response.

Analyzing a solicitation and then choosing the right past performance can be tricky and requires experience. Our proposal development professionals at iQuasar can help you draft compelling, tailored past performance narratives. They will review your current contracts, build templates, design questionnaires, and draft descriptions to help you present the right set of data to the agency to help you win.

Past Performance Free Template

You can use this template to address the important factors for creating a specific past performance. The template can be customized based on the requirements of the solicitation.

Download the template here.



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