I was recently asked if I have used agile for proposal management on a bid to the Federal Government. This individual was working on a proposal where the targeted contract provides agile software engineering services for a major Federal Agency’s mission support systems. The individual was considering the application of agile principles to the proposal process itself—a great way to demonstrate corporate commitment to agile philosophies! This is an idea I have considered for almost 4 years but have yet to find the right environment/opportunity to put completely into practice. I am a Certified Scrum Master and work on many bids that involve agile methodologies as part of the solution. I suggest the principles of agile and scrum provide opportunities to improve our processes and the outcome of our proposals—that is, improve our win rates. The Five Scrum Values—applied to proposal management In this and future articles, I’ll explore the … Continue reading Agile proposal management—team values
Typically, as proposal managers, we do not have complete control over who is on our response team. The team is usually some combination of who is best-suited to help win this opportunity and who is available. The team is most often comprised of professionals with varying degrees of competency, experience, and commitment. Team members may cycle in and out, depending on the phase of the proposal process or other circumstances such as re-assignment to another high priority activity, leave due to vacation or illness, or dismissal due to lack of fit. Team members may be onsite or remote, increasing the level of complexity related to team-building. Partner companies on the team may have their own agendas. So what is a proposal manager to do? Here are five ideas that I have implemented successfully: 1. Don’t get stuck storming! All teams go through five developmental stages that psychologist and educator Bruce … Continue reading Five ideas to help your teams (and yourself)!
Several years ago, a performer at Cirque Du Soleil died during a performance because of a mistake in her rigging. This was newsworthy not just because of the tragedy, but because this was the first time a Cirque Du Soleil performer died during an act, despite the death-defying, acrobatic feats that fill their show. Everyone involved in a circus performance works diligently to have a successful performance, free from mistakes. While the mistakes we make as proposal professionals may not cost us our lives, there’s certainly a lot on the line. From circus performers, we can learn the importance of communication and adaptability to succeeding consistently. Communication is critical in collaborative projects like trapeze and other circus performances. Acrobats and aerialists have to communicate about what is working and what’s not in real time in order to succeed. Sometimes people are afraid to express their needs because they think it … Continue reading Lessons learned from the circus: consistently succeeding
I had to chuckle at one of my favorite Mad Men episodes, The Suitcase. Peggy is miffed because Don is not being a thankful boss. Don: It’s your job. I give you money, you give me ideas. Peggy: But you never say ‘thank you.’ Don: That’s what the money is for. It got me thinking of all the times that I have lamented that my boss or colleagues did not say thank you, and yes, I have been brought to tears, just like Peggy! Receiving thanks is a form of credit and acknowledgement. Does it trump money? As the famous cosmetics titan Mary Kay Ash said, “There are two things people want more than sex and money: recognition and praise.” I do agree with Don Draper that we are being paid to do our jobs, so a thank you is not mandatory. Sometimes, we actually thank colleagues too much, thus trivializing appreciation and making it … Continue reading 5 ways to give thanks (without saying it)