Part 4 – Past Experience


This article is part of the shortened content of a training course I held last year at our company for a number of trainees on how to write winning proposals for MATOC or IDIQ contracts. There are 10 parts to this training. In the previous article, we went over the Past Performance section of the proposal. This article is about the Past Experience of the proposal.

What is Past Experience?

We explained the difference between Past Performance and Past Experience in the previous article (Part 3). As mentioned, the Government usually requires Past Experience information to assist it in its evaluation of the relevance and quality of your past experience as it relates to the probability of successful accomplishment of the project you are bidding for.  Obviously past experience must be relevant to the RFP you are bidding for.  Relevant experience includes your past, similar experiences. Relevant experience applies to your organization as a whole, the specific actions being performed, or the experience of the individuals contributing to the services proposed.

Presenting Your Past Experience:


  • Include all relevant experience data in your proposal in the exact location the RFP requires. Just because you mentioned the same contracts for past performance, does not mean that you should not include the same under the past experience section. You must consider situations when there are different reviewers for past experience and past performance. Thus, if need be, do repeat the contracts and necessary info as requested by the RFP.
  • Include all information required by the RFP, using the same titles that the RFP calls for. This ensures that no information is missed and the reviewers will also have a simpler job of verifying the information is complete and relevant.
  • Emphasize experience graphically if possible. Histograms can be helpful.


  • In selecting relevant (similar) contracts to show your past experience, select those with the largest dollar value in which you were prime contractor, if possible.
  • Also try to choose contracts that exhibit experience in providing services of a similar nature, size and complexity.
  • Don’t just give basic information about your previous contracts. Include a narrative for each in which you explain how that contract shows your experience. Make your reasoning stand out. If relevancy or similarity has any ambiguity, try to explain it in the narrative to make it clear.
  • Inclusion of a list of previous contracts awarded and completed is very helpful (some RFPs require it anyways).
  • Integrate examples and success stories as support wherever you make claims of experience.
  • Emphasize personal lessons learned.
  • It is proper to distinguish company experience from personnel experience; although, both are usually accepted and evaluated by the reviewers, unless otherwise mentioned in the RFP.
  • When you have a team in place, list the technical personnel on the team, the number of years of experience, and any other demographic information you deem necessary or appropriate. You can do this in the context of the contracts you are presenting for your past experience. Ensure the education/experience level of the proposed team highlights your capabilities and shows leadership experience that can be leveraged for the project.

Necessity of Teaming Up:

Successful proposals are highly correlated with the education/experience level of the proposed team, team size, and the number of technical personnel. If you are a small business, you may need to make alliances and teaming arrangements to illustrate that your small business can deliver additional resources. Team with other businesses that can provide the required staff experience or work with a larger prime contractor to pursue the opportunity. Also the requirement might ask for certain experiences that your company does not possess or the number of contracts performed are not enough for the past experience; again, the solution is to team up with other companies to resolve this shortcoming. Lastly, use of personnel’s experience in lieu of company experience (contracts) can usually be exercised but will usually receive a lower evaluation rating from the reviewers.


In the next article, we will go over Key Personnel.

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