For most competitions, the source selection memorandum articulates the critical insight as to why the winner was chosen, as well as insights as to why others were not.
These insights are typically experienced as a strategic surprise to the loser, a eureka moment particularly when the offers are truly distinct. These experiences have led to a common practice of conducting an in-depth lessons-learned when such a competition is lost to better understand why the surprise was missed and the underlying competitive choices that were not taken.
In hindsight, these insights are oftentimes obvious, but were masked and obfuscated in the inherent complexity of executing the capture. Our Prospective Lessons Learned (PL2)™ solution is used to generate prospective insights, similar to those gained from hindsight as a result of a traditional lessons learned. The methodology identifies the different paths a competition might evolve either by customer or competitive dynamics. PL2™ provides a structured approach to shaping the opportunity towards a preferred pathway. PL2™ delivers the most value in situations where distinctly different solutions are being offered by competitors, there are considerable uncertainties around acquisition strategy and stated/unstated requirements, or when the opportunity trade space is not clear as a result of customer priorities external to the opportunity. PL2™ has several key features:
- It identifies uncertainties associated with those dimensions that will most impact a competition, mapping the range of potential acquisition paths, the likely outcomes for each path, and inform which path to take.
- It identifies the key levers customers and offerors can use to shape the acquisition, providing insights for mitigating competitive threats, mitigating protest risk or creating protest opportunities, and avoiding strategic surprises.
- It informs the opportunity shaping actions necessary to ensure a particular competition pathway is not changed during the competition to ensure a sustained competitive advantage.
- It enables effective contingency planning to address customer or competitor actions outside a preferred acquisition path.
Our PL2™ approach and steps is shown and described below:
Step 1. Identify Key Competition Dimensions and Uncertainties that serve as the basis for possible acquisition outcomes. Factors and uncertainties we consider are acquisition approach, affordability, customer risk appetite, capability gaps and related operational threshold/objective KPPs, and key attributes such as range/speed, etc.
Step 2. Define Acquisition Outcomes, a set of mutually exclusive scenarios, based on key dimensions and uncertainties that could drive the competition, e.g. revolutionary technology requirements/ KPPs with little schedule flexibility. The defined scenarios consider the unique competitive advantages of each offeror, the range of possible alternatives available to the customer, and uncertainties associated with each.
Step 3. Map End-States to Key Customer Decisions, the various acquisition paths that result in mutually exclusive acquisition scenarios by mapping how key customer decisions can affect each possible acquisition scenario.
Step 4. Identify Preferred Acquisition Paths that provide a competitive advantage for you and for your competition. We also identify the current path being pursued by the customer. The preferred paths consider the sources of competitive advantage that must be preserved to create or maintain the differentiated position of each offer.
Step 5. Identify Leverage Points that you can use to drive the customer towards your preferred acquisition and leverage points that can be used to prevent customer adoption of an undesirable acquisition path.
Step 6. Contingency Plan for Non-Preferred Acquisition Path, customer decisions or competitor actions resulting in selecting a non-preferred acquisition path.
Step 7. Contingency Plan for Accepted Acquisition Path. To avoid a strategic surprise, we develop contingency plans to identify the significant actions a competitor or the customer may take that will radically change the dynamics of the competition.
We can implement PL2™ either as a detailed 8 to 12-week project or as a 4-week fast-cycle strategy offsite. The detailed project results in robust conclusions with high-fidelity recommendations on critical pivot points, identification of levers, and contingency plans. The fast-cycle strategy offsite provides an assessment of your current capture strategy, and preliminary recommendations on critical questions that are foundational elements of your capture strategy. The fast-cycle project is typically conducted early in the campaign and is an effective way to focus the capture team’s activities and drive commitment to the strategy.