Microsoft Project® is a key tool for any proposal effort - both to manage the day-to-day proposal activities and to plan the proposed work. Project supports - and interfaces with - other key programs to create the necessary project management files used in the proposal to demonstrate to the customer that the offeror understands the customer requirements. Project is a key tool used to create the Integrated Master Project Schedule, the Work Breakdown Structure, and the resource loaded project schedule.
Government contracting proposals (other than for Commercial Items) may require some degree of cost or pricing data be provided by the offeror. The requested information can be in the form of "Certified Cost and Pricing Information" or "Other than Certified Cost or Pricing Information" but, in the long run, it usually ends up that the distinction between the two data sets is pretty slim. Many companies use Excel® spreadsheets for generating these costs … but there is a MUCH better way to collect costs, organize them and report them to the government in a FAR 15.408 Table 15.2 format. That's with PROPRICER® - a tool I recommend and am an authorized consulting partner for. PROPRICER captures all the essential data, applies indirect rates consistently, and produces a properly formatted cost or price estimate.
WNS Schedule Pro (WBS Edition) is a fantastic tool for the proposal writer and one I highly endorse. I use it on every proposal I do to create a pictographic representation of the project Work Breakdown Structure. For anyone who has used tools like the Microsoft Word or Power Point org chart creator to build a WBS diagram 5 minutes with this product and you'll be wondering why you didn't get it sooner.
Intaver Institute makes a fantastic tool for cost and project risk analysis called "Risky Project®" which captures risk register data and applies it intelligently to both the project duration estimate and the project cost estimate. Risky Project Pro includes a MS Project compatible scheduling engine, a Monte Carlo simulation capability, and full integration with MS Project thru the Ribbon Bar.
Most client proposals I have worked on try to use Microsoft Word® as their writing, editing, and publishing tool. There are better alternatives and the one I recommend (and use whenever possible) is Adobe FrameMaker®. Why? FrameMaker® is a desktop publishing tool designed for publishing large documents using very closely controlled and uniform page layouts. When it comes to generating a several hundred page proposal as a .pdf and wanting to be sure the page numbering, paragraph numbering, figures and table headings etc. are all perfect - there is no other choice. FrameMaker® is the tool used by professionals for military technical manuals for that very reason.
My "value add" is helping the customer create a proposal template, set up a content library for the proposal content, and help them import the content into the template. Along the way we look at important issues such as version control to ensure there is one - and only one - version of the proposal for publication.
One neat feature of FrameMaker® is it's ability to create alternate text inside the main proposal document such that by selecting an option the proposal is a fully compliant proposal or an alternate proposal without the need to maintain two separate files and risk the inevitable version control issues.
The Contract Coach LLC, Albuquerque, NM 87120 +1 505.259.8485