Proposal production across the business development life cycle – intro to the life cycle (Part 2 of 6)

In this and the next few posts, Briana Coleman, PPM.APMP takes you through the business development (BD) life cycle and discusses how to incorporate production into each phase of the life cycle.

What is production? Many people in our industry think of production simply as printing and assembling our proposals. But, production also includes all of the steps that lead up to our ability to hit Print. These include desktop publishing, graphic design, and editing—all necessary before you print and assemble your books, and most importantly, deliver your winning proposal!

These activities are typically thought of as tasks we accomplish in the last few days before delivery; however, I want to impress upon you that production activities should be incorporated throughout your BD life cycle.

The graphic below depicts a typical BD life cycle with five phases:

  • Phase 1 Opportunity identification and assessment
  • Phase 2 Pursuit
  • Phase 3 Pre-proposal preparation
  • Phase 4 Proposal development
  • Phase 5 Post-submittal

While we’re all familiar with how proposal management fits into the overall BD life cycle, I want to discuss how production fits into the life cycle. The high-level production activities for each phase are discussed below; I’ll dive deeper into each phase in later posts.

Phase 1 Opportunity identification and assessment and Phase 2 Pursuit
Remember, these are the activities you should be performing before you ever have a real proposal on your plate. There are two main activities that should be accomplished in this phase:

  1. Document your production plan
  2. Develop company templates

Phase 3 Pre-proposal preparation

  1. Begin drafting your production plan: proposal-specific
  2. Revise templates to meet (anticipated) RFP requirements: fonts, size, colors, etc.
  3. Begin conceptualizing graphics
  4. Revise style guides to meet client-specific naming conventions/acronyms

Phase 4 Proposal development

  1. Implement production plan

Phase 5 Post-submittal

  1. Archive and shred!
  2. Conduct lessons learned activities

How does your company incorporate production into each phase of the BD life cycle? Does it support production as an integral component of developing winning proposals? Send your thoughts to me at, and I’ll share your advice in upcoming posts!