The EXA Way Supplement

Pink Review Report 

Page 195

The Pink Review identifies weaknesses and gaps in the proposed solution — not in the writing — at a stage when corrective actions are comparatively straightforward and inexpensive. The Pink Review seeks to uncover serious gaps in the solution before the Red Review, at which time corrective actions may prove disruptive, costly, and less feasible. 

It is not a preliminary Red Review. The Pink Review evaluates the author’s understanding of the problem, the soundness of the solution, and the quality of the organization and presentation skills. The Pink Review examines the thought processes the author applied when responding to the requirement elements in the work package. 

The Pink Review breaks each document into sections, and assesses each section independently. The EXA Way recommends at least two independent reviewers address each section to provide the greatest coverage and benefit.


The Pink Review conducts two assessments of the author’s response to:

  1. The RFP’s requirements set out in the mandatory evaluation criteria and proposal preparation instructions IPP), shown in Table 1
  2. The evaluated rated criteria, shown in Table 2
Table 1: Assessment of Mandatory Criteria and Proposal Preparation Instructions
Table 2: Rated Compliance Assessment

In Table 2, ‘achievable points’ means the maximum number of points the proposal could score against a rated criterion given the experience and qualifications of the bidder and its proposed resources and approach.  If the achievable points value falls well below the total points allocated by the RFP, then the Pink Reviewer should challenge the bidder to redesign the solution to maximize the achievable points. For example, if an evaluation criterion awards maximum points for a project manager with 15 years of experience, and the proposed project manager has 9 years of experience, then the achievable points are for 9 years of experience, because there is no way to fabricate more experience for the proposed individual. In this case, the Pink Reviewer should challenge if the bidder is proposing the best individual for the role (maybe they are, but you should still challenge it). On the other hand, if the RFP awards maximum points to a bidder that presents 5 relevant projects as examples of experience, and the bidder cannot present more than 3 relevant projects, then the score for 3 projects is the maximum achievable points that the bidder can score.  

The Pink Reviewer’s challenge function may even question whether the bidder should pursue the RFP at all. While this may prove to be an uncomfortable discussion, it is better to halt the pursuit at this stage than to waste money and resources on a hopeless cause. The Pink Review represents the first time the team has enough detailed information to conduct a go / no go assessment at such a detailed level.

Table 3 shows an example of a pink review of the mandatory requirements in a document. The table breaks the document into its sections.  There are two reviewers(with initials AW and GV) who performed the Pink Review and completed the tables.  By inspecting the table, you can instantly see where the reviewers interpret the response and RFP requirements differently. This difference of interpretations will lead to further discussions within the Pink Review and perhaps beyond.


Table 3: Mandatory Assessment Example

Table 4 shows an example of the same two reviewers assessing the rated criteria responses. In this hypothetical example, the Pink Review has uncovered serious weaknesses in the proposed resources.

Table 4: Rated Assessment Example


In addition to the above assessments, the Pink Review should provide general comments that will help the author and proposal team adjust their approach for the documents under review, and possibly for a broader cross-section of the proposal. These general observations do not repeat the assessments in the above tables. They are applicable to the document or proposal in general.

***Disclaimer: The information presented in this supplement is for information purposes only. It is not intended, and may not be used, as legal or business advice. The author makes no representations of warranty, accuracy, or fit for purpose of the information herein. Use at your own risk.