Trident Blog

Keep up with all the latest content from Trident Proposals

Making a PWin Decision (Part 2)

capture management proposal management Nov 30, 2022

We’re picking up from our last blog where we listed the four factors that can help you determine whether a bid is or isn’t for you. In that blog we explored some fundamental but vital questions about your bid strategy that you’ll want to answer before you invest hundreds if not thousands of dollars into your response and ultimately, your delivery approach. With that foundation in mind, this second blog explores the self-evaluation process and how it can help you make a better-informed bid decision. We really like checklists (have you seen our work on compliance checks?), so to help streamline your decision process, we developed a free PWin checklist you can download (LINK) and apply to every bid decision before you invest precious resources pursuing bids you can’t win!  

Understanding PWin

Probability to Win, or PWin, is a contracting industry term for a statistical value that reflects a team’s readiness to bid on and overall ability to win a specific opportunity. More simply, it’s a percentage that sums up how likely you are to win a bid. The higher the number, the better your perceived chances of success. We say “perceived” for two reasons: 1) a self-assessment will always carry some inherent bias and subjectivity, and 2) for many solicitations, you are graded not only against the government’s evaluation criteria but also relative to your competitors’ proposals, and you may not have great insight into the strength of their bid position.

Why PWin Matters

Why does the PWin value matter? From the perspective of company leadership, PWin reflects the business development and capture team’s structured assessment of your chances of winning. This can help substantiate the time, money, and resources spent to perform contract bidding, or it can help you justify not to bid at all. And you’ve heard us say it before – sometimes the best bid decision is not to bid – but we know that can be a tough call to make. The beauty of calculating your PWin – in addition to showing your odds of success in a concise way – is that the assessment itself can help you identify and address proposal readiness areas that might need additional resources.

A well-developed PWin assessment should include a combination of qualitative and quantitative analysis of the award environment, the customer and their needs, the bidding and proposal process, price, and competitor analysis. Without this combination, a thorough analysis is not possible.

Common PWin Assessment Areas

There are multiple ways to calculate PWin based on the type of goods or services you provide and the industry or market you operate within. We know not every organization relies on a well-defined or methodical process to calculate the PWin, but the bottom line is, a structured PWin evaluation process is critical to helping any business development or capture team organize and assess their preparatory efforts.

The following are some of the most common PWin self-evaluation questions used today. We’ve organized these by category, which we’ve listed in order of importance. Positive answers to each of these questions will help identify, manage, and in some cases even eliminate risk both during the proposal and during contract execution:

Putting it All Together

A successful bid strategy maximizes a company’s strengths and minimizes or eliminates its weaknesses. An effective PWin assessment should be part of this overall strategy as it provides a proactive method for identifying and fixing problems before the bid is even released. 

If you’re like us and need something tangible where you can check off items as you perform your assessment, a checklist is what you’ll need. Click on the image (CLICK) below to download this checklist and add it to your analysis toolkit. If you are interested in having one of our proposal SMEs assess your upcoming effort, contact us and we’ll help steer you in the right direction. Remember, every sailboat needs wind to move forward or to change course. Use our checklist or one of our SMEs as your wind to ensure you’re charting the right course toward a potential win.

 Check out our Free Download: PWin Checklist
(Click on the PWin Checklist on the page it redirects to) 


Written by Meg Ashton
Meg is a Capture and Proposal Manager at Trident. With proposal writing, proposal management, and analyst experience, she is our go-to when it comes to discussing these topics. She’s also well versed in teaming agreements, tech editing, and compliance checks. As a military spouse based in Palm Springs, she supports clients around the world as part of our globally dispersed team.