Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Atheists and bureaucracy (thoughts on proposal costs)

Companies often keep track of various projects. Since I am employed in a pre-sales capacity, I am interested in the cost of pre-sales projects. I was doing some outside research on this when I ran across this Government Express piece by Russell Smith. Someone like me who was looking for an easy answer would be disappointed:

Usually, the people asking [about proposal costs] want a cut-and-dried answer. They want to be told, “a proposal should cost you X percent of the contract value”, or “Y dollars per page” or something like that. A meaningful answer is more complicated.

In essence, some multi-million dollar proposals can be completed with just a few hours of work. And even within a certain range of more complex proposals, the amount of work can vary:

The cost to prepare a complex proposal requiring a significant system / product design to be submitted for a program valued in the tens of millions of dollars or more, is frequently in the range of 1 – 2% of contract value. When field conditions are challenging, these costs can rise to 3% or more. For example, several years ago, TRW (now Northrop Grumman) was bidding a multi-hundred-million dollar contract to provide a large system to the Air Force. The Air Force kept withdrawing and resubmitting the RFP over a 4-year period. TRW ended up winning the contract, but the cost of the proposal was 10% of contract value. In this case, TRW suffered from an act of God (otherwise known as Government inefficiency).

My question - if Government inefficiency can be categorized as an "act of God," does that mean that people who want to reduce Government inefficiency should be atheists?
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