TArticles tagged with: proposal development

A Way to Help Project Managers and SMEs Write Better Proposals

Many struggle to contribute responsive and compelling proposal content.

Project managers and SMEs are the backbone of many organizations. They have a combination of technical knowledge and communication skills that effectively feeds needed information to customers, bosses, and subordinates. You would think that such people would be great proposal writers, but many of them struggle to contribute responsive and compelling proposal content. Even those who are champion report writers or study leaders can have problems developing great proposal content. Why is this? Let’s look at the job of a project manager. She is charged with delivering some sort of product or service. Regularly, she must explain the objectives and approaches being taken to deliver that product/service. She is providing information about progress and obstacles, and making recommendations to upper management, customers, even subordinates about courses of action to address the issues and challenges of the moment. Most of her communication is about informing people about aspects the project—about the … Continue reading A Way to Help Project Managers and SMEs Write Better Proposals

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A winning proposal isn’t always the best

A proposal can be the winner for reasons unrelated to proposal quality

This article was originally published March 4, 2020 on WashingtonTechnology.com Is a winning proposal a good proposal? Some argue that by definition, yes, a win is a good proposal. However, we all know that a proposal can be the winner for reasons unrelated to proposal quality—such as a price shoot out. Therefore, when we look back at our win-loss track record, we miss a lot of important data if wins and losses are the only measures of successful performance. As a result, we may re-use a poor-quality proposal or dismiss a losing proposal that has some successful elements. Are your proposals good? In a Deltek webinar, Bob Lohfeld polled the audience to ask: “Are your proposals compliant, responsive, AND compelling?” Interestingly, only 15 percent of 150-plus respondents believed that their proposals were consistently achieving all three measures of quality. Another 35 percent responded that their proposals sometimes achieved all three. … Continue reading A winning proposal isn’t always the best

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Applying an Agile Tool to Make Your Proposal Processes Better

Using lessons learned from each proposal effort to improve our approach the next time

We talk about it in our proposals. We know it works. Agile practitioners take it seriously and are diligent about its use. What is it? It’s the idea of using lessons learned from each proposal effort to improve our approach the next time. In the Agile Scrum world, they call it a Retrospective. APMP best practices suggest that conducting a lessons-learned review on each major bid opportunity is a critical best practice.  APMP suggests that after a proposal is submitted, the proposal team meets to discuss: What went right? What went wrong? What deficiencies can we correct in processes or approach, and what winning processes/methods should we repeat on future opportunities? Lessons learned should be well documented and stored for others to access and reference on future opportunities. I suggest that rather than wait until the proposal is submitted, we have our proposal teams capture lessons learned across the proposal lifecycle. … Continue reading Applying an Agile Tool to Make Your Proposal Processes Better

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Strategic differentiation with a customer focus

Highlight real differentiators to emerge as a leader

I recently worked on a proposal that required – not an executive summary – but an introduction that called out the vendor’s differentiators. Perhaps one of the hardest aspects of our industry is coming up with real differentiators to cite in our proposals. In his book, “Collapse of Distinction. Stand out and move up while your competition fails”, Scott McKain suggests we spend too much time trying to duplicate and outdo our competitors. When we compete rather than emerge as a differentiated leader in our field, we are driven by the competition and not by the customer. McKain says that to have an advantage, we must pay more attention to what the customer wants than to what the competition is doing. Has this happened in your organization? The competition creates a point of distinction, so you duplicate it and try to do it even better. Each competitor introduces incremental changes … Continue reading Strategic differentiation with a customer focus

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