Most requests for proposal (RFPs) ask you to define past performance in terms of relevant size, scope and complexity. The term size is easy to understand because it is numeric. Size refers to the dollar value of the contract, the number of staff, the number of users served, the number of locations served, etc.

Scope is also easy to understand, too. We simply compare how well the requirements in the RFP’s statement of work or align with those of our past performance reference. For example, in the case of a help desk, does the help desks deliver the same tiers of service, support the same equipment, or use the same tools and processes to perform their jobs?

However, the term complexity is vague. Complexity could involve many factors including the:

  • Involvement of many teams or stakeholders
  • Numerous moving parts
  • Numerous schedule dependencies
  • Aggressive project timelines
  • Budget/restraints
  • Work in remote locations
  • Complex scientific, mathematical or engineering work

To earn the possible score for demonstrating complexity, consider these five tips:

Tip No. 1: Provide a brief overview of the complexity of your past performance reference to the RFP requirements using factors such as those described above.

Tip No. 2: Drill down on each the major requirements listed in the RFP and describe how your past performance is of equal complexity. Provide quantitative or qualitative proof that demonstrates your past performance reference is of equal complexity.

Tip No. 3: Provide a brief example of how you overcame a complex challenge or mitigated a risk.

Tip No. 4: Provide examples of the sophisticated skills or expertise that your team used to address complex requirements or complex hardware or software your configured or developed.

Tip No. 5: Demonstrate how you can lead teams to address complex problems and accomplish your tasks on schedule and within budget.