Breaking Down the Question

Breaking Down the Question

Breaking down the tender. If you do not know what the question is asking – this is your first hurdle.

In order to jump that hurdle, carefully examine what kind of question it is. Although there are hundreds of question variations out there, we’re showing you a way in which to tackle every question you get through a very simple breakdown technique.

Does the question have (what it seems like) 10 questions in one? Does it look something like this:


Please explain your risk management procedures, including what risks you feel are vital to overcome as part of this contract, as well as your monitoring and mitigation approaches you would use. Please also detail who will manage said risks and provide examples of where you have overcome similar risks.

This question asks for a lot of information and the first step to jump this hurdle, is to tackle it bit by bit. We break this question down into more manageable chunks, allowing clear-cut focus on every aspect of the question, making it easier for the evaluator to mark us against their evaluation criteria. We have pinpointed these out and always encourage you to write out sub-headings to manage this effectively. Such as:

General Risk Management Procedures
Contract-specific risks
Monitoring techniques
Mitigation approaches
Risk Lead
Risk Management Experience

Under each subheading, you can then start to write your content.

Sometimes, however, the question is not that easy to breakdown and may be a lot smaller, making the whole manageable chunks scenario more difficult.

Does the question ask you to explain, describe, or provide detail of a process and/or situation? If so, this is a useful way of the buyer seeing how well you respond to this and how you’re reacting to their requirements.

Open questioning allows the buyer to ask for a lot of information from you, such as:


Describe how you manage risks?

This question is 5 words long; however, your response can in excess of 10,000 words, depending on your offering and sector.

The management of risks may have reams of information attached to it. The important thing to do is break this down into smaller subheadings and further questioning.

Sometimes the buyer can be quite extensive in their evaluation guidance and based on this, you may already have your subheadings laid out for you, dependent on what the buyer is looking for/marking during the evaluation stage.

If the evaluation guidance doesn’t provide much detail – then look at the specification and make sure you fully understand what the client is looking for, so you can start breaking your response down into further discussion points.

Breaking down the tender; your subheadings for the above example may be:

  • Recognising Risks– detailing how you identify/assess risks?
  • Monitoring Risks– what system you use to track these risks?
  • Risk Responsibilities– who maintains responsibility for managing risks?
  • Mitigating Risks– what to you do to mitigate said risks?
  • Risk Reviews– how often do you review these to adapt to change?
  • Contract Risks– what you feel are the top risks for this particular contract?
  • Compliance– what national standards/best practice do you comply with?

These are merely seven subheadings you can write about when drafting your response.

Depending on what the contract is for and the specification included – there could be a whole load of different points you need to discuss.

This is merely a small step when breaking down the tender, but a very important one. We are by no means English teachers, but when it comes to putting together a response to accommodate buyers’ needs and requirements, we know what we are talking about!


Join in the discussion on our LINKEDIN forum, where you can get involved and ask any questions you have when it comes to tendering.

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