We’ve all heard, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” (–Albert Einstein) Has this quote applied to any capture or proposal efforts you’ve supported? I’ve heard war stories and observed some first-hand over the past 25 years that make me wonder how some capture and proposal folks simply haven’t learned from their own and others’ mistakes and broken the constant cycle of self-sabotage. I asked a number of my colleagues to share some of their favorite war stories – and tell us what they learned from their experiences. Here is part 2 of my 4-part series on capture and proposal war stories. There have been many wars, death marches, battles, and skirmishes through the years. When I think back, most of the war stories stem from not using a defined proposal process, and as the process matures and even small … Continue reading Industry experts’ proposal war stories and lessons learned – Part 2 of 4
We’ve all heard the war stories around the office coffee pot and at industry events and cringed, thinking, “Wow! I’ll make sure that NEVER happens to one of my proposal efforts.” There are as many potential disasters waiting out there, however, as there are RFPs in the Cloud – and I’m sure we’d all rather learn from someone else’s horror story than become the originator of a classic ourselves! I recently asked a number of my colleagues to share their favorite war stories – and tell us what they learned from the experience. Here is part 1 of my 4-part series on capture and proposal war stories. I was in an organization that decided to bid on a job where we did not know the customer, the customer did not know us, a well-loved incumbent was in place, we only had a 75% solution for performing the job, and our … Continue reading Industry experts’ proposal war stories and lessons learned – Part 1 of 4
Here are some of our Lohfeld Consulting Group team’s top past performance-related lessons learned from our collective experience managing and submitting thousands and thousands of proposals over our careers. In terms of populating your past performance repository (every company must have one), enforce a company-wide policy for project/program managers (PM) to develop detailed past performances for every project. Enforce the policy, update the past performances every 6 months, and provide PMs with incentives for compliance. Develop comprehensive templates for collecting past performance information in an effort to answer likely solicitation questions. For example, ask PMs to define objectives achieved, schedule compliance, cost compliance, businesslike concern for customer interests, problem resolution, tools/technologies, etc. Before asking PMs to update past performance descriptions, provide them with training and instructions. All past performance summaries must be accomplishment oriented. They should indicate what you did and how well you did with lots of factoids and … Continue reading Don’t make these mistakes – 12 past performance lessons learned
I regularly hear colleagues at proposal-related events sharing tales of capture and proposal nightmares that would make Stephen King blanch! Most of the time, these scenarios never needed to happen in the first place, and certainly shouldn’t be the repeat occurrences we often see. Here are some thoughts on how to capture, document, and – most importantly – institutionalize lessons learned in your organization. After every proposal (and task order proposal) effort, hold an internal capture and proposal team lessons-learned meeting after a suitable waiting period, especially if it was a lengthy, contentious proposal. Typically, hold the meeting within 1 week of submission or people forget or discount issues. Develop a standard set of questions that you send to the capture and proposal team a couple of days before the meeting, and have folks provide responses before the meeting (and anonymously if practical). Compile the responses, sort them by topic, … Continue reading Capture proposal lessons learned – and then live them!