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Combined Proposal and Capture Processes in Accelerated Timeframes. Jeremy Nusbaum Red Team Consulting November 16, 2010. About the Presenter: Jeremy Nusbaum. 10+ years of federal contracting experience Captured over $27B of contract vehicles Captured over $2B of Federal business revenue

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Combined Proposal and Capture Processes in Accelerated Timeframes

Jeremy Nusbaum

Red Team Consulting

November 16, 2010

About the presenter jeremy nusbaum
About the Presenter: Jeremy Nusbaum Timeframes

  • 10+ years of federal contracting experience

  • Captured over $27B of contract vehicles

  • Captured over $2B of Federal business revenue

  • 80%+ win rate maintained over past 8+ years

  • Program managed several large-scale federal contracts with recorded revenues over $500M

  • Former Director of Contracts and Proposals, Eyak Technology

  • Experienced in Government to Government bids

  • Trained hundreds of executives from government and industry

  • Expertise in federal small business programs

  • Member of the IAC Fellows Program

About this training
About This Training Timeframes

  • Reasons for a Compressed Approach

  • Positives and Negatives for a Compressed Timeframe

  • Rapid Readiness Review/Bid Decision process

  • Resource Considerations for Accelerated Responses

  • Consolidating Capture and Proposal Processes

    • Effective Kickoffs

    • Writing Guidance

    • Accelerated Reviews

    • Schedule Management

    • Tools

The scenario
The Scenario Timeframes

  • An RFP has been given to you with the following requirements:

    • Due two weeks from today

    • 20-Page Written Technical Response

    • 3 Past Performance References

    • Firm Fixed Price (FFP) Price Requirement

  • You are told to:

    • Assess the bid

    • Present a plan on how to capture the proposal

    • If there is Executive Buy-In, prepare a winning response

  • Easy, right. . . . .?

Rationale for accelerated timeframes
Rationale for Accelerated Timeframes Timeframes

  • Opportunities that are not forecasted

    • Requirements complement company strengths

    • Key relationships with end-users and evaluation board

    • “The customer asked us to bid . . . .”

    • “I just found this great opportunity on INPUT . . .”

    • New company employee with existing relationships and identified opportunities

  • Other Opportunities Requiring Compressed Timeframes

    • Emergency Effort for the Government in response to a war-time need or natural disaster

    • Size Status set-aside (Small Business, SDVOSB, 8(a), etc.) brought to the company by a large, sometimes incumbent prime contractor

Pros cons of compressed timeframes
Pros/Cons of Compressed Timeframes Timeframes

  • Cons

    • Less time for the same steps as any other proposal

    • Easy for panic to set in

  • Positives

    • Leadership opportunity for Proposal Manager and Key Contributors

    • Revenue for the company that was not forecasted/budgeted

    • Short timeframe = It’s over sooner!

    • Same Steps as any other proposal – just condensed

      • Less time for disagreements

      • Quicker decisions on key requirements

        Planning, Preparation and Positive Attitude Leads to Growth Opportunities for Individuals and their Companies

Rfp release identification
RFP Release/Identification Timeframes

  • Require quick action and decision on bid pursuit and kickoff

  • Three Key Meetings Need to Occur within 24 Hours of Opportunity Identification:

    • Bid/No Bid Decision w/ Executive Buy-In

    • Proposal Team Identification and Assignment

    • Kickoff Meeting

Capture management
Capture Management Timeframes

  • Capture Management occurs in days, not weeks during accelerated timeframes

  • Analysis of the opportunity begins upon identification for strengths, weaknesses, and potential mitigation strategies

  • Competitive landscape is identified

  • For weaknesses

    • Identify teaming partners where relations and previous work has been performed

    • Identify small companies that fill a niche role well for areas outside of expertise rather than large companies that will take weeks to negotiate teaming agreements.

    • Have teaming agreement exhibits prepared immediately with short deadlines for response

    • Identify areas of the response where you will need teammate contribution to the response – include this contribution within your teaming agreement

Bid no bid decision meeting
Bid / No-Bid Decision Meeting Timeframes

  • Avoid rubber stamp meetings

    • Use Pre-Defined Bid/No-Bid Decision Matrices

    • Discuss risks/weaknesses in a objective manner

  • Avoid work-shopping bid issues

  • Business Development and Executive Management are Present

  • Led by Proposal Manager/Capture Manager

    • Instructions, Evaluation and Requirements are Briefed

    • Evaluation Scoring Methodologies providing potential scoring

    • Competitive Landscape is provided

    • Bid and Program Risks are Presented with potential mitigation/teaming strategies

  • Decisions made in this meeting need to be adhered to by all parties

Response team identification
Response Team Identification Timeframes

  • Following a Bid Decision, the PM identifies and assigns Key Resources that are SME’s on the project and in responding to proposals

  • Identify resources that are experts in time management and adherence to instructions and deadlines

  • Proposal Coordinator with strong time management and organization skills

  • Identify Reviewers

    • Subject Matter Experts that understand the technical area of expertise, the Federal RFP process and the customer

    • Key Executives that Understand the RFP process and the customer

    • All reviewers need to be able to provide guidance for areas of concern, not just identification of error

Response team
Response Team Timeframes

  • All resources must read and understand the RFP to be a part of the team

    • Make sure that all resources have a hardcopy and electronic copy of the RFP

    • Quizzes on content may be held during kickoff

  • As a Proposal Manager, you are empowered to:

    • Identify personnel-related risks to your timelines and employ mitigation strategies as soon as possible

    • Change the team as necessary adding or subtracting resources

    • Change the roles and responsibilities of team members

Effective kickoff meetings
Effective Kickoff Meetings Timeframes

  • The amount of chaos present in a Kickoff Meeting will mirror the amount of chaos in your proposal effort

  • For compressed timeframe opportunities, the kickoff meeting is one of your most important milestones

  • Preparation is key

  • Participants in a Kickoff Meeting have three basic questions:

    • What am I supposed to do?

    • How am I supposed to do it?

    • When do I have to have it done?

  • As Proposal Managers, it is your job to answer these questions during the Kickoff Meeting

Effective kickoff meetings1
Effective Kickoff Meetings Timeframes

  • Provide the team with a precise and comprehensive proposal project plan with the following elements:

    • Bid Rationale

    • RFP

    • Proposal Team Roles and Responsibilities

    • Proposal Outline – Annotated with Instructions

    • Compliance Matrix

    • Proposal Style Sheet

    • Proposal Schedule in MS Project

    • Writing Assignments with page allocations

Effective kickoff meetings2
Effective Kickoff Meetings Timeframes

Contributors must leave the kickoff meeting with no unanswered questions or serious doubts about the processes and tools they will be expected to use

Proposal managers as leaders
Proposal Managers as Leaders Timeframes

  • Proposal Managers are in CHARGE of creating a positive environment and a CAN-DO atmosphere

  • Proposal Managers portray support of the executive’s bid decision

  • Participants can tell when you have doubts and will look to you for guidance

  • They will naturally test you to see if you are in charge and whether you will challenge them on deadlines and deliverables

  • Take the pulse of the team throughout the proposal process

    • Identify problems early and address them ASAP

    • Have contingency plans when things go wrong

    • Maintain a calm atmosphere for those around you

Effective proposal writing1
Effective Proposal Writing Timeframes

  • Compressed Timeframes eliminate the luxury of re-writes and multiple reviews

  • Use Technical SME’s for Content Creation and Writers for Writing

    • Technical experts do not always equal prose writers

    • Compiling correct content will allow a writer to compose a compelling and compliant response

  • Writer’s Meeting/Kickoff is recommended

    • Solution needs to be locked prior to writing

    • Clear expectations on what is required during each step of writing

  • Warning - Use of existing material or “boiler-plate” often takes more time to incorporate than simply writing responses to the Government’s requirements

Red team proposal writing methodology

1. Create a complete outline. Timeframes

3.1 Capacity Analysis

3.1.1 Capacity Trends

3.1.2 Reserve Capacity

3.1.3 Surge Mgt

2. Populate the outline with instructions and references to requirements.

3.1 Capacity Analysis

(address all of RFP 3.1.1…)

3.1.1 Capacity Trends

(address RFP

(address 3 years, not just 2)

3.1.2 Reserve Capacity

(address RFP )

Insert comparison table

3.1.3 Surge Mgt

(address RFP

Show graphic for surges

3. Write bullets or storyboard style text before drafting full scripts.

  • 3.1 Capacity Analysis

  • capacity requirements

  • # of shifts required

  • facilities capability

  • 3.1.1 Capacity Trends

  • total units per month

  • # similar units per month

  • current fluctuations

  • supplement

  • 3.1.2 Reserve Capacity

  • underutilized space

4. Write full text after agreeing upon content.

  • 3.1 Capacity Analysis

  • The Government requires an

  • contractor to be capble off

  • producing approximately

  • 4,300 R.F. monitors per

  • month, with an initial quality

  • Index of 9.7 or greater.

  • FPI is capable of producing

  • 9,700 per month without

  • any expansions to our

  • existing facilities, staffing,

  • or other resources.

  • With two daily shifts, as is

5. Final edit the text.

  • 3.1 Capacity Analysis

  • The Government requires an

  • contractor to be capable of

  • producing approximately

  • 4,300 R.F. monitors per

  • month, with an initial quality

  • Index of 9.7 or greater.

  • FPI is capable of producing

  • 9,700 per month without

  • any expansions to our

  • existing facilities, staffing,

  • or other resources.

  • With two daily shifts, as is

Red Team Proposal Writing Methodology

Annotated Outlines and Bulleting/Storyboarding Prior to Drafting

Effective Proposal Writing Timeframes

Here are a few basic rules:

  • Always organize your proposal in accordance with the instructions before giving consideration to anything else.

  • After developing an outline based on the instructions, validate that you can map all evaluation factors into the outline. If any factors have no corresponding section, add new sections accordingly.

  • If there are contract requirements not addressed by instructions or evaluation criteria, add sections for them if:

    • You have unique strengths worth noting.

    • It will not hinder your ability to address what is instructed or evaluated.

    • You have valid reasons to believe the government will actually care.

Effective proposal writing2
Effective Proposal Writing Timeframes

Clear and Concise content should be provided in each proposal section using standard uniform responses.

  • Under each requirement being addressed, affirm your full compliance with the requirement.

  • Next, present how you will comply with the requirement.

  • Then, comment on your capabilities (tools, credentials, etc.) enabling you to comply.

  • Finally, substantiate your claims showing how you have successfully complied with the requirements before.

Effective proposal writing3
Effective Proposal Writing Timeframes

  • Continuous Management, Communication and Coordination mitigates poor contribution in compressed timeline responses

  • It’s often more effective to have more people contributing raw data (facts and stats) and less people actually writing.

    • This can be accomplished in meetings rather than assignments

  • For those who must write, provide very explicit content instructions and guidance.

  • Don’t allow anyone to write without a lockdown on the solution, including all of the data (facts, stats, etc.) to be written

Also . . . Timeframes

  • Request the use of specific terminology/nomenclature.

  • Give style guidance to ensure consistent writing in the consolidated document.

  • Establish sufficient check-points at frequent intervals. Don’t wait to see the finished product

Accelerated reviews
Accelerated Reviews Timeframes

  • Traditional Color Team Reviews should not be used during compressed efforts

    • 4 reviews at 3-4 hours apiece will take a minimum of 4 of your 10 days away from creating and writing

    • This is where weekend work is created

  • Review individual sections as they are ready for the following reviews

    • Content Review

    • Draft Review

    • Final Review

Accelerated reviews1
Accelerated Reviews Timeframes

  • Reviewers will be as busy as writers during this timeframe

    • Early Sections such as Covers, Cover Letters, Past Performance, Representations and Certifications, and Management sections are reviewed early

    • Pricing and Technical volume sections are reviewed later in the schedule as they take longer to develop

Schedule management
Schedule Management Timeframes

  • The Skill of Managing Human Procrastination

    • Good News/Bad News: You don’t have enough time to procrastinate

  • Create your schedule backwards from the due date

  • Complete the easy elements of your proposal early rather than having all elements due at the same time

    • Past Performance

    • Certain Management Sections

    • Representations and Certifications and contractual documents

    • Transmittal Letter

    • Covers

  • Track progress of each section

    • If sections are complete lock them down for production and re-purpose individuals to focus on areas that are lagging behind

Proposal tools
Proposal Tools Timeframes

  • Centralized War Room

    • Location that is separated from normal work environment

    • Conference room with White Boards

      • Used for Reviews, Progress Tracking, and Coordination

    • Daily Status Meetings

    • Fosters teamwork

    • Central Location for all meetings, reviews and production

  • Microsoft Office Tools

    • Schedules in MS Project

    • Electronic Reviews in Word

    • SharePoint Portals for a virtual War Room

    • Electronic Progress Trackers

Progress tracker
Progress Tracker Timeframes

In summary
In Summary . . . Timeframes

  • Compressed timelines should be viewed as a leadership opportunity and a time to shine

  • Ensure that you have executive buy-in and a realistic team to perform prior to holding a kickoff

  • Kickoff meetings give all participants a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities in response to the proposal

  • Proper planning and clear expectations for all participants will result in better content

  • Avoid existing material and re-use to create your content

  • Spend your time on content rather than unrealistic deadlines for the sake of reviews

  • SME’s deliver content and Writers write

  • Review sections rather than volumes to provide real-time feedback to contributors and focus

  • Use electronic and existing tools to organize your proposal effort