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In the article Getting Involved in the Global Development Market (available in full in Latest News at I commented that while tendering skills are critical, in isolation of other key activities success is a lottery.


Preparation must remain as a key and ongoing activity if organisations and individuals are to expect success from their tendering involvement.


While there is no doubt that some of this preparation may require investment if site visits and the like are to occur, as they need to, not all preparation is costly.


So often, when working with some of the smaller organisations that seek activity in sub-components of larger projects, the tendering effort is stressful, time-challenged and often without system.


This can be managed by planning in advance.


As discussed in Getting Involved in the Global Development Market, tender responses, even for sub-components, invariably require details of your team, approach and methodology, management, price and past experience.  With the often tight timelines for the tender response, it is critical that time is spent on ensuring the best possible solution to the project’s requirements at the best possible price.  Hence, time should be mostly devoted to new thinking, not administrative compilation of past information.


There is no doubt that a successful track record of implementing or involvement in similar activities will be assessed and contribute to your success or failure for any tender.  But this does not mean taking two weeks to find and compile a list of past experiences is time well spent – this can be done now and on an ongoing basis.


All tenders are likely to request a range of information that demonstrates your experience in past, similar activities.  Information required invariably includes the activity name, location and duration, client, project value, key personnel by name and title, and a synopsis of the activity.


Collating this activity is obviously going to be a challenge if it requires seeking out personnel and past team members for information, relying on memory etc.  The solution is to encourage the habit of compiling relevant information as soon as a project or activity commences, and keeping the information current.


This can be made even easier by capturing information from the beginning of a project consistent with how a future tender might require the information presented.


Major agencies require a Project Data Sheet (PDS, or similar name) for each project example that you are presenting with your tender.  This is usually one page per example, and captures all the information required in the assessment of your tender.  I have prepared a word document that is consistent with information that would be required by the World Bank, ADB and AusAID etc, and any sub-components within project from those agencies.  This can be downloaded from the Latest News page at (it is listed as PDS Template.doc).


So what do I do now I have the PDS Template?


Simply stated – start using it!


If you have a number of project examples in different formats, then consider updating the information to use this format.  If you have yet to compile capability information, then this would be a useful format to start populating.


Importantly, as any new project or activity commences, set up a new PDS immediately and update it regularly.


Can I use each PDS just as it is for any tender I submit?


Remember that while this template is consistent with what is currently asked, it is important to check exact tender requirements before submission to ensure compliance.


Secondly, each tender has different considerations because each project is different, so a generic response is seldom successful.  Similarly, each project you have undertaken would have contained a range of activities, approaches etc.  So, before just adding a PDS example to a tender submission, consider what the tender’s (project’s) focus is, and ensure your PDS examples demonstrate this.  Occasionally a slight re-write to place greater emphasis on a key aspect of relevance is important.


What if I do not tender for activities?


The information that the PDS template captures is useful for submissions direct to client, or as a data capture tool for drawing information from for developing capability documents, case-study information and the like.




Preparation is the key.


Whether preparing a tender for a complex project, or a proposal direct to a client, it is important that time is spent coming up with the best possible approach to ensure implementation creates the best outcomes.  Taking time away from this critical aspect of tender and proposal development to prepare Project Data Sheets is not time well spent.


Download the PDS Template, a word document, in Latest News at



Mel Dunn is Managing Director of Global Business and Development Solutions, which works with individuals and organisations that are committed to business success and the success of others.  We work globally and locally and focus on providing sustainable solutions for our clients.


We offer a range of services including:


·       Proposal and tender development

·       Technical assistance

·       Research and strategy development

·       Quality review of submissions

·       Market entry support

·       Partner identification

·       On-ground representation


Visit the website for more information about how we could assist you at  You will also find a ‘contact us’ form there or you can contact us immediately using  We make every effort to respond to your enquiry within 24 hours.



This Business article was written by Mel Dunn on 3/31/2005

Global Business and Development Solutions offers a range of services including
research, analysis and international business strategy, proposal writing, tender
development, tender management, tender pre-submission review, and on-ground
representation and support.

Full details of the services and approach of Global Business and Development
Solutions are provided at

Mel’s career has covered senior management, international business development,
teaching, technical assistance and project management in Australia and
internationally. This has taken him to Africa, Asia, particularly China, South
America and the Pacific.