Articles tagged with : Proposal doctor

Questioning the questions? Ask the Proposal Doctor

Dear Proposal Doctor, The battle over which questions to send to the government customer on a long and not-very-well-written RFP has begun. The desktop publishers want to ask about fonts. The graphics people want to ask about color and foldout pages. The solution architect wants to ask about specifications and performance metrics. The contracts people want to suggest new terms and conditions. The pricing people want to ask about….everything. Just collecting, vetting, discussing, formatting, and submitting the questions could eat up our entire response time. What is a proposal manager to do? How can we streamline this process? -Questioning the Questions Dear Questioning, You’ve touched on a subject near and dear to my heart. Yes, this could easily spiral out of control. Worse yet, you could give away important information through your questions and, worse even than that, you could get back answers that only obfuscate the situation further. It...

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Is it always necessary to create graphics first? Ask the Proposal Doctor

Dear Proposal Doctor, My capture manager is insisting that we complete a big stack of graphics before we write any proposal text. We have a decent amount of time for this proposal, more than we usually get. But, my writers are worried about how long the graphics process will take and the compressed writing schedule that will surely follow. Is it always necessary to create graphics first? Where did this rule come from? How can I make it work with a team that does not really think visually? I understand the capture manager's point of view, but I also see where the writers are coming from. Please help. -Stuck in the Middle Dear Stuck, I am so glad you asked this question because it goes to a tension at the heart of our profession. Everyone wants the universal rule or the “best practice” (not my favorite term) that applies to...

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Shaking an incumbent out of its complacent rut

Dear Proposal Doctor, I am working with a team that is about to bid on a contract for which they are the incumbents. They have been doing this work for a while and they get plenty of kudos from the customer. However, re-competes are always difficult. These people cannot generate any ideas about how to do things better or differently in the future. They are convinced that they have the answers and that the way they have been delivering services up until now is actually the best way. What can I do to throw a grenade into this scenario? I know that with this attitude, we will lose. -Scared Dear Scared, You are correct. The complacency of incumbent teams is now a thing of legends, and everyone has at least one story of the incumbent we were sure the customer loved who lost and, in some instances, lost big. The...

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Do I have to understand the proposal contents as the Proposal Manager? Ask the Proposal Doctor

Dear Proposal Doctor, Do I have to actually understand what is in the proposal I am managing? Sometimes this is an overwhelming task, and it distracts me from the blocking and tackling of the day-to-day management. Often the material is technical and written for people who are “inside the bubble” and who understand all the jargon and acronyms. This makes it difficult to know if the writing is not persuasive or if it is intrinsically not understandable to a layperson. Yet it is hard to give direction to the writers if I don’t know anything about the content. How do others manage this challenge? -Struggling to Keep Up Dear Struggling, This is a constant challenge, and you will be disappointed—or relieved— to know that there is no one-size-fits-all answer. There is no question that we are better proposal managers when we have a grasp of the subject matter. It helps...

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