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Winning Proposals: Best Practices and Helpful Tools

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  1. Winning Proposals:Best Practices and Helpful Tools NCMA Boston Chapter March 16, 2011 Presenter: Jack Fagan, Shipley Associates

  2. Session Agenda • Keys to effective proposal manager leadership- tools & best practices • Tasks and tools for a proposal manager • Hold kickoff meetings – checklists, agendas • Develop proposal strategies – bidder comparison template • Create proposal schedule – proposal management plan • Develop compliance checklists • Establish detailed outline • Conduct effective reviews – review input forms • Oversee final revisions and production • Summary

  3. Assembling Your Proposal Team p. 266

  4. Do: Plan backups Set expectations Provide training Furnish information Prepare Your Team for Success The Ideal Team Don't: • Allow self-editing • Overschedule authors • Ask authors to be artists • Have authors desktop publish

  5. Proposal Managers Are Involved InMany Concurrent and Distracting Tasks

  6. Critical Tools: Forms Forms may include: • Proposal Management Plan (PMP) • Proposal Development Worksheet • Proposal Project Notification Form • Proposal Notification Distribution List • Proposal Kick-off Agenda • Meeting Minutes • Review Team Agenda • Review Team Evaluation Score Sheet • Printing and Delivery Checklist • Lessons Learned Form

  7. Proposal Manager Coordinates Three Main Task Lines

  8. Meeting Characteristics Brief schedule Regular time Defined agenda Mandatory attendance Entire “core” team Identified problems ID “open” issues Facilitate Daily “Stand Up” Meetings:A Critical Tool p. 47

  9. Don’t Base Winning On Good Fortune!

  10. Facilitating Kickoff Meetings Good kickoff meetings are a valuable tool to motivate, inform, and direct proposal teams.

  11. Plan an Effective Kickoff Meeting: Invite the Right People

  12. Objectives of Kickoff Meetings p. 97

  13. Divide Kickoff Meeting, if Necessary • Communicate well in advance • Use well-thought-out agendas • Create action lists

  14. Some ThingsYou Shouldn’t Let Drop! Kickoff Meetings Are Critical!

  15. Developing Proposal Strategies A proposal strategy is a plan for writing a persuasive, winning proposal. Proposal strategy is a subset of capture strategy.

  16. Hope is not a strategy. Norman R. Augustine Former CEO Lockheed Martin Proposal Strategy

  17. Good Proposal Strategies-Evolve From Capture Strategies p. 251

  18. Craft Strategies Using Bidder Comparison Tools

  19. Why Plan? “The wonderful thing about the absence of planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise and is not preceded by long periods of worry and stress.”

  20. Planning is Critical to Survival!

  21. Proposal Schedules Scheduling a proposal helps visualize necessary tasks and monitor progress. Schedule complexity depends on size of the proposal and number, expertise, and location of contributors.

  22. Follow Scheduling Guidelines • Schedule backwards from submission • Reserve contingency time • Maximize parallel tasks • Estimate tasks using realistic standards • Assign personnel only when needed • Use standard work periods • Plan for production • Allow time for reviews • Manage to the schedule

  23. Scale Efforts to Match Timelines p. 236

  24. Use Time Standards/Guidelines

  25. Use Simple Schedules for Simple Proposals

  26. Create Detailed Schedulesfor More Complex Proposals

  27. Compliance Checklists Use compliance checklists to verify that every request has been answered and every requirement met. A good compliance checklist is the lynchpin of a compliant, responsive proposal.

  28. Use Checklists toDevelop Compliant Proposals p. 38

  29. Build Checklists in Three Steps

  30. Find All Requirements

  31. Step 1: Capture All Requirements

  32. Step 2: Separate Requirements

  33. Step 3: Simplify and Organize

  34. Anything’s Possible With The Right Tools!

  35. Establish Proposal Outlines Sound proposal outlines are essential for team writing efforts. Base them on principles of customer focus and good organization.

  36. Follow a Structured Outlining Process p. 124

  37. Resolve ConflictsBetween Sections L and M

  38. Use SMaRTform to Build Outlines

  39. Allocate Pages by Topic Importance

  40. Compliance 3 3 2.5 2.5 Page and Document Design Responsiveness 2 2 1.5 1.5 1 1 Strategic Focus Quality Of Writing Competitive Focus Ensure Elements of an Effective Proposal Visualization and Graphics

  41. Make Clear Writing Assignments Proposal managers must develop clear, effective writers’ packages for volume and section contributors.

  42. Proposal Development Worksheet • Disseminates information and instructions • Aids section planning before execution • Builds coherent strategy into proposal • Facilitates coordination between sections • Supports logical section development • Improves win probability p. 243

  43. Facilitate Proposal Reviews Reviews are critical milestones on the road to a successful proposal. Understand their purpose and how your team can benefit from them.