Winning Proposals:Best Practices and Helpful Tools NCMA Boston Chapter March 16, 2011 Presenter: Jack Fagan, Shipley Associates
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
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
Proposal Managers Are Involved InMany Concurrent and Distracting Tasks
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
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
Facilitating Kickoff Meetings Good kickoff meetings are a valuable tool to motivate, inform, and direct proposal teams.
Divide Kickoff Meeting, if Necessary • Communicate well in advance • Use well-thought-out agendas • Create action lists
Some ThingsYou Shouldn’t Let Drop! Kickoff Meetings Are Critical!
Developing Proposal Strategies A proposal strategy is a plan for writing a persuasive, winning proposal. Proposal strategy is a subset of capture strategy.
Hope is not a strategy. Norman R. Augustine Former CEO Lockheed Martin Proposal Strategy
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.”
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.
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
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.
Establish Proposal Outlines Sound proposal outlines are essential for team writing efforts. Base them on principles of customer focus and good organization.
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
Make Clear Writing Assignments Proposal managers must develop clear, effective writers’ packages for volume and section contributors.
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
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.