For any good proposal writing effort, the right proposal management process is crucial. And, individuals also fail to create a method that works. And, with proposal management, they end up being irritated. A well-planned, well-designed proposal process is equal to less tension, organizational effectiveness, enhanced transparency, greater cooperation, and eventually, better end results. The trick to delivering a high quality proposal is to obey these guidelines, whether you are handling a billion dollar proposal with hundreds of subsections (and possibly several volumes) or conducting a smaller offer.
The Common Themes
Not unexpectedly, a few key frustrations often impact businesses large and small. Let me introduce you (even if they don’t always admit it) to the frustrations your colleagues share with you:
- Decisions on Slow Go / No Go
- Late Delivery From Technical Staff
- Lack of confidence, respect and/or esteem
- These issues tend to go away with the right proposal management process.
Bring Your Proposal Manager in During Capture
Managers of the capture and proposal should have a very close relationship. Any entity acting independently of the other person is an error that will be reflected in your proposal. Once the final RFP has been released, the proposal manager should not hear about this opportunity. The best time to engage the proposal team is to assist with the final solution development during the draught RFP process. To build the idea of operations graphics, they will help brainstorm with the subject matter experts and capture team, and how the winning themes will show up in the proposal.
Conduct a Kickoff Detailed
By holding a great kickoff meeting, Proposal and Capture managers will start the proposal off correct. Kickoff is the best chance for:
- Get everyone on the same page
- Create momentum
- Announce key goals, deadlines, and dates
- Get the buy-in of the whole team for the process (including senior management)
- Set the tone and address winning themes
- Emphasize the importance of the role and responsibilities of each person in the process.
Hold Preparation Just-In-Time
The idea of just-in-time training is to have brief training sessions for your team right before you get to that portion of the process. For example, you can provide training on how to brainstorm as a group and as an individual right after the kickoff, so the authors / SMEs can complete the creation of the solution based on the final RFP. Also, schedule training on the pace writing method and how to structure compelling arguments in proposal prose when you are approaching the writing stage of the proposal growth. Give the right tools to your team to refresh their skills, and you won’t have almost as much rework. You’ll have more time for your idea to be polished.
Reviews on In-Process
Method reviews are used by the proposal manager to keep track of the progress of each segment. This is expected to happen every other day. For an informal analysis, the writers will upload their progress to the collaboration platform. Reviews in the process maintain the pressure on the writers to make progress every day, and the Pink and Red Team reviews avoid surprises. The in-process reviews allow the proposal manager to provide the writers with more personalized input about their sections. This keeps individuals going through the block of their author and prevents the drift of the writer.
Regular Meetings for Status
Via daily status (also called daily stand up) meetings, you can apply Agile and Scrum concepts to your proposal management process. Regular status meetings are a way of keeping momentum up and checking each day for progress.
How to enhance the proposal management process on regular status meetings
- Peer Pressure: Daily status meetings positively use peer pressure to encourage team members to accomplish their tasks. No one wants to go to a meeting of their colleagues and declare that they have made no progress. Particularly when everyone else manages to complete their assignments on-time.
- Sustained Momentum During Proposal Development: The response effort of the proposal is normally 30 days long. This can feel like a long time to new team members. The intermediate milestones and quality control incorporated into the process are not understood by them. Be sure to explain to your team the purpose of your daily status sessions. Then your team will realize how important each milestone in the process is.
- Coordination Among Decentralized Teams: Technology has made it easier than ever to coordinate with people and teams around the world. Make sure that your regular status meeting involves everyone on your team, using video and screen sharing, if possible. This meeting is probably the only time you get to chat at the same time with anyone on your team during the day.
It can be easy for material to get away from you while you’re handling a big proposal. If a lot of individuals add and remove material from a larger document, retaining version and configuration control, not to mention clarification, becomes more difficult. If anyone does not meet structural guidelines or incorporates a piece of material that is alien or obsolete, the delivery of the whole plan may be dampened and the overall message clouded. It is necessary to create a responsibility matrix that cascades across the many sections of the proposal to ensure content control at every level. Each content section should have its own content manager, someone responsible for ensuring the structural and factual integrity of all the content published in their section.
When you’re using a digital platform to host content, version control is easier. Choosing a tool that offers administrators the ability to limit and customize the editing abilities of each user based on their role and participation in the project is essential. Through auto saving previous iterations of a draught and retaining a single and central point of truth (rather than sharing multiple copies of a draught via email), digital platforms can also assist with version control. This helps anyone on a given project to see what material has been added or removed and to determine where it is finished in the document.
Focus on compliance
Compliance refers to the ability to fulfil all the criteria of a given proposal in the field of proposals and to do so accurately and succinctly. Start with an enforcement matrix and use it to guide your writing and production plan, or a list of necessary items and how and where they will be handled. Content management will play into compliance issues; if a portion of content occurs for compliance purposes in a proposal, it is vital that another team member does not inadvertently omit the passage. Following an enforcement matrix and having a designated person in charge of content management would help ensure that there is no missing piece of the puzzle that might disqualify you from consideration. From a compliance point of view, using an online editing tool that allows you to monitor who can make changes to a document can also help. It is easier to make sure that no critical enforcement elements are unintentionally omitted from the proposal if editing access is limited to a few people.
The more eyes you have (apart from the writers) searching for content enforcement and consistency, the better off you will be. If you perform red team and gold team reviews or follow another model, checking with a wider team is a good way to ensure that you are completely compliant and ready for submission. It is crucial to schedule periodic reviews of your proposal process. In addition, a comprehensive review will help to solidify the consistency and flow of a document after it is compiled, to search for minor redundancies and to ensure your message’s overall structural integrity and transparency. Management of proposals requires a great deal of careful scheduling and facilitation. It can be difficult to communicate between half a dozen agencies, make sure that no specifics are overlooked and try to meet a deadline. Using the five project management steps, however, will help to make the proposal process more manageable.
Key skills for successful proposal management
- Control of Programs: The center of an effective and productive proposal process is project management. The Project Management Institute (PMI) describes project management as the application to project activities of information, skills, resources, and strategies to fulfil the requirements of the project.It is impressive to have stats regarding project management. Project management software is used by an estimated 77 percent of high performing projects. Although 97% of companies agree that project management is vital to the success of company and organizational efficiency. To see major advantages, apply project management concepts to proposal management. Management of proposals requires a great deal of careful scheduling and facilitation. It can be difficult to communicate between half a dozen agencies, make sure that no specifics are overlooked and try to meet a deadline. Using the five project management steps, however, will help to make the proposal process more manageable.
- Knowledge management: Chances are you’re not the first person to be tasked with responding to an RFP at your company. Any plan, past and future, is a major investment in business. Hours of work reflect the extensive analysis, business insights and skillful storytelling that go into a proposal. But after the request has been submitted, what happens to the knowledge? Does it just get filed away for dust collection?Information management (KM) practice prevents precious knowledge from going to waste. The method of capturing, sharing and using information efficiently is Knowledge Management. The application of knowledge management to the content of your proposal will save hours and days of work. For managers of ideas and SMEs alike. Experts in the subject matter trust you to ask the correct questions, save your information and use it again. One indication that the management of proposals is being done well is that SMEs will need to write fewer and fewer new responses over time. It saves even more time as the information library expands, as common questions and answers are labelled, categorized and constantly updated. Knowledge management helps SMEs to concentrate on their day-to-day jobs because it is easy to identify and reuse the material of the proposal. KM protects your company from failure, in addition to improving performance. If one of the main stakeholders leaves the company, for example, they take their information with them, unless you have preserved it in the library of information. Then, when you’re ready for new team members to enter, they will easily find important details.
- Content Editing: They are engaging, interesting and they clearly express why partnering with your business will benefit the buyer. Unifying the perspectives and voices of all your subject matter experts into one cohesive narrative is a challenge. Excellent proofreading, editing and writing skills are essential to the management of proposals. Writing the persuasive content of the proposal is not easy. You can find that, while your small and medium-sized businesses all contribute essential knowledge, they will express it in many different ways. Some people may relay the information as concisely as possible, while others can add needless detail that may confuse the reader. The mere copying and pasting of RFP responses is dangerous. It can build an unprofessional, disjointed narrative of contradictory style and sound. Reviewing each question can seem daunting in a proposal with hundreds of questions. This is, however, where the importance of your information library again comes into play. If you apply your RFP answers to the library consistently, you will have a head start with the material of the proposal that you have already edited. You can simply personalize the customer’s response and move on.
No matter how big or complex a proposal is, it will help you manage your time and money more efficiently by implementing these best practices. That means creating a consistent process and leveraging the right instruments to promote implementation and collaboration. Management of ideas is a juggling act and there is a short time to concentrate on acquiring new skills. However, it will help you build more productive proposals and win more business by actually enhancing your knowledge of the skills proposal management needs. Fortunately, almost invariably useful are project management, information management and content editing skills. So, spending time improving them, no matter how many ideas you handle, would serve you well.