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!
At each Kickoff Meeting, I provide the final proposal schedule to the proposal team; however, much effort goes into getting to the final schedule. Here are some tips to help your proposal schedule development efforts. Maintain templates of standard, achievable, detailed proposal schedules for 5-, 10-, 15-, and 30-day turnarounds – or whatever the typical turnaround times are for your industry and clients. Once you have the templates developed, you can tweak them for particular efforts and know that you’ve already accounted for all the required drafts, reviews, editing, production, etc. Develop your final proposal schedule backward from the submission date, and develop your schedule forward from RFP receipt, including time to finalize your outline, schedule, templates, kickoff meeting materials, storyboards or annotated outlines, etc. Minimize sequential tasks – maximize parallel tasks. Don’t make every action dependent on the preceding action. Realistically estimate the time required for specific tasks – … Continue reading 12 important tips for developing proposal schedules
One Monday morning, I received a frantic email from a friend who’d been interviewing for proposal manager positions. “Beth, what’s your 30-second response to what makes a proposal compelling?” She’d been asked that question during her interview and thought she’d flubbed the answer. She wanted to hear my perspective so she could prepare for her other interviews later that day and the next. I paused for a moment to consider the question and then banged out this response, “A well-developed value proposition and (technical) solution supported by excellent pre-RFP capture development and client intimacy. A cleanly designed proposal with relevant, clear, insightful, professionally developed graphics.” It’s incredible when you think of the tremendous number of labor hours, dedication, money, expertise, education, and opportunity costs that underlie that 28-word response. The lessons we’ve all learned over the years fill thousands of books and PowerPoint presentations designed to share our pains and … Continue reading 9 Key factors for winning proposals