Tips for Managing Multiple Conflicting Deadlines

Bid and proposal professionals often juggle multiple projects with overlapping deadlines. Their jobs involve continuously balancing and reassessing factors like the strategic value of each project, the urgency of a deadline, and the availability of resources. This complexity is further heightened by the dynamic nature of the work environment, where priorities can shift unexpectedly due to new information or amendments to requests for proposals (RFPs).

When asked, “How do you prioritize proposals when facing multiple deadlines?” 128 bid and proposal professionals on LinkedIn responded as follows:

  • 5% addressed deadlines on a first-come, first-served basis
  • 5% addressed the highest value bid first
  • 35% addressed the deadlines in chronological order
  • 55% addressed the bids of the most strategic importance first

Many also claimed they use all the options listed above, and one mentioned it was a “rat race.” This challenging scenario demands that bid and proposal professionals use effective prioritization to ensure success without compromising quality. Based on the feedback provided by respondents, we’ll explore seven practical tips to help prioritize workloads.

1. Assess Proposal Value

Begin by evaluating the return on investment (ROI) of each proposal. Focus on those with the highest value to the company, whether monetary gain, strategic importance, or long-term benefits. Prioritizing high-value proposals ensures the most impactful results for your organization.

2. Consider Deadlines

Pay close attention to submission deadlines. Tackle proposals with the nearest deadlines, provided they align with your company’s strategic goals. This approach helps in avoiding last-minute rushes and ensures timely submissions.

3. Analyze Resource Availability

Evaluate the availability of necessary resources, including team members, tools, and information. Give priority to proposals where resources are readily available, ensuring a smoother and more efficient workflow.

4. Weigh Complexity and Effort

Some proposals require more effort due to their complexity. Assess the time and resources needed for each proposal and prioritize those you can complete efficiently without compromising others.

5. Align with Company Priorities

Align your efforts with your company’s strategic priorities. Even if a proposal is due later or seems less valuable, it deserves prioritization if it aligns closely with your company’s core objectives.

6. Communicate with Stakeholders and Get Executive Buy-In

Keep an open line of communication with stakeholders. Their insights can help you understand each proposal’s importance from different perspectives, aiding in better prioritization.

7. Stay Flexible, Reassess Regularly, and Say No

The proposal landscape is dynamic. Stay flexible and be ready to reassess your priorities as new information arrives or as situations change. This adaptability ensures that you are constantly working on what’s most important. Also, learn to say no when you cannot realistically complete the work on schedule and produce a high-quality product.

Conclusion

Prioritizing work in a multi-proposal environment is a balancing act that requires a strategic approach. Capture and proposal managers can navigate their workloads effectively by assessing the value, deadlines, resource availability, complexity, company priorities, and stakeholder input, staying flexible, and saying no when needed. Remember, successful prioritization is not just about managing time; it’s about harnessing focus and resources to align with the most impactful outcomes for your organization.

By Brenda Crist, Vice President at Lohfeld Consulting Group, MPA, CPP APMP Fellow

Lohfeld Consulting Group has proven results specializing in helping companies create winning captures and proposals. As the premier capture and proposal services consulting firm focused exclusively on government markets, we provide expert assistance to government contractors in Capture Planning and Strategy, Proposal Management and Writing, Capture and Proposal Process and Infrastructure, and Training. In the last 3 years, we’ve supported over 550 proposals winning more than $170B for our clients—including the Top 10 government contractors. Lohfeld Consulting Group is your “go-to” capture and proposal source! Start winning by contacting us at www.lohfeldconsulting.com and join us on LinkedInFacebook, and Twitter.

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Brenda Crist