From Gate Review to War Council-APMP 2011-Brooke Crouter-6-1-11


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A war council is held to decide on a course of action when matters of great importance must be decided, consensus must be reached, or when a leader is unsure of his position. In capture and proposal efforts, teams battle to gain insight into opportunities. Gate reviews should be treated as war councils that examine critical decisions and build information from one review to the next to develop a complete picture of the opportunity. Many teams do not achieve this level of discussion, nor do they thoroughly examine what they do and don’t know, where and how to gather needed information, and how to advance their strategic goals. Teams fail to engage senior management in key discussions that could change the game. This session explores how to build compelling gate reviews, when to hold them, and how to generate strategic discussions. It explores material that should be presented and discusses how to build that material through capture so the team can determine its proposal readiness.

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  • As will be discussed multiple times over the next several days, there are many direct correlations between the principles of military campaigns and the business life cycle. So let’s take advantage of this military metaphor and see how capture, and in particular, gate reviews, can be viewed as essential to the ability to achieve business goals.Every military campaign has a defined objective and requires a strategy to ensure the campaign can be executed. Military campaigns are conducted as large projects that include several phases:Initiating – clear idea of the campaign's military, political, economic, social or environmental goalsPlanning – where the General Staff defines objectives, time, scope and cost of the campaignExecuting – the coordination of forces and resources in logistic and combat operationsControlling – the monitoring of the progress of the campaign when compared to its baseline plan and making adjustments as information is developedThroughout the campaign, the general staff meets regularly to manage the effort, review and assess plans, analyze next steps, and guide the overall execution of the effort. These councils of war are the milestones that ensure the campaign strategy stays on track, mid-course adjustments are made – and that decisions and actions are coordinated.This should sound very familiar to a capture manager. A well-managed capture effort has the same phases, requires similar efforts, and has similar milestones – which we usually call gate reviews.Today, our objective is to examine the capture process from a military standpoint – and determine how we can advance our strategy.
  • A council of war is a military term that describes a meeting held to decide on a course of action, usually in the midst of a battle. The Commanding General seeks the guidance of his leaders to decide matters of great importance or to discuss options when the commander is unsure of the situation. After all express their views and share information, the commander has to make the final decision.Such a meeting was held on July 2, 1863, during the Battle of Gettysburg. The goal of the Confederate campaign was to smash the Army of the Potomac and march on Washington, D.C. The Union had to determine whether or not to engage with Lee’s army or to seek an alternative location for battle. Major General George G. Meade, who had just taken command of the Union Army on June 28, had little knowledge of the disposition of his new army. Only three days later he confronted Lee in a battle that began almost by accident—theresult of a chance engagement between Confederate infantry and Union cavalry in Gettysburg on July 1. By the end of the first day, two Union infantry corps had been almost destroyed, but had taken up favorable positions. Meade rushed the remainder of his Army to Gettysburg and skillfully deployed his forces for a defensive battle, reacting swiftly to fierce assaults on his line's left, right, and center, culminating in Lee's disastrous assault on the center, known as Pickett’s Charge.Early in the battle, Meadeconvened his commanders and staff to discuss whether they should withdraw from the battlefield or, if not, whether they should attack the Confederate army or await attack. Historical evidence indicates that Meade had formed the opinion that the Union needed to stay and await Lee’s attack, but he chose to work with his staff and form a consensus on the battle plan– improving their confidence. His council of war was a two-hour discussion that led to conclusion he had already formed: the Union forces should stand their ground. Thereafter, Meade made excellent use of his subordinate commanders, to whom he delegated great responsibilities.It is perhaps ironic, and should be noted, that General Lee also held a council of war with his leadership, but rejected their advice about the attack. There have been many such war councils: Napoleon consulting with his generals; Eisenhower meeting with the staff before D-Day. A council of war is a way to leverage collective knowledge to improve the chances of winning – which should sound very familiar!
  • In military operations, a force seeks to defend, expand or launch an offensive against enemy territory.The goal is to focus on the targets that have the most value--The target/action that will have the most significant impact in terms of changing the game so the likelihood of victory shifts towards us orWill provide a foundation for further action. We want to mirror these concepts in our capture efforts or we will end up writing a proposal that is sterile – lacking in any knowledge of the customer and without a means to discriminate ourselves from our competition.
  • We are also confronted with multiple opportunities—targets—in business. When we are the incumbent, we seek to defend our position with our client.When we seek to expand our business, we are looking at new market opportunities that extend our position within a capability or within a client space. We are pushing our “territorial boundaries.”When we go on the offensive, we are launching a new line of business or challenging a current prime.Every target has its appeal – but only by selecting carefully from among all the targets can we maximize the value of our work while minimizing the cost of the effort to us.The timing of new opportunities is also important. We need to determine whether or not critical opportunities will consume resources that could be applied to efforts to diversify. Since diversification takes longer and is riskier, those opportunities have to be started earlier. It is important to evaluate timing to determine resources and ensure that critical activities are managed.
  • Before undertaking any campaign, the general staff wants to be sure it has gathered all the right information – and kept it updated to ensure it has reduced the gaps in its knowledge so it is possible to reduce risk when the day comes that it has to execute a battle plan. This plan is a living document that is updated and intelligence becomes available.An understanding of the environmentPolitical situationPhysical environment (terrain, weather)Intelligence about the adversary Positioning footprint CapabilitiesAn assessment of its own capabilities Current knowledge of the situation Logistics (people, supplies) Performance history Potential allies and their capabilitiesThis information enables us to assess the risk involved in pursuing a specific opportunity.
  • Overall, the information required to execute a capture strategy is much the same. Capture requires executing activities to position the firm for an opportunity. Conducting effective and complete assessments provides the framework to determine with greater certainty whether or not we are in a position to undertake the capture and proposal phases for this effort. Through these phases, we will gain valuable information to determine our capture efforts and identify the information needed to commit the right resources to respond to all client requirements and objectives; submit a superior proposal; and win the work.We conduct three analyses that are consistently updated based on updated intelligence:Client: seeking an understanding of the client needs and the external factors that affect their thinking, as well as understanding the organization and key players and their acquisition strategy.Competition: Who are the likely competitors and their teammates? What are their collective strengths and weaknesses (resources, tools, processes, personnel)? How do our competitors segment the market? How do they present themselves to clients?How they will present their offer versus what we offer? Based on what we learn, can we assess how they will build their strategy for a solution, teaming, and pricing? Can we identify relevant past performance they will cite?Internal: What are our capabilities and resources? What are the strengths and weaknesses of our team? What risks are do we anticipate with our capture? Our bid? Our execution?This information is updated throughout capture so that when it is time to write the proposal, the team can be sure it has the best information possible to write a client-centric, compelling, compliant proposal that is evidence-based and highlights strengths. 
  • The processes are iterative–there is no point at which either team ceases to gather information and assess it so that when the time to execute the strategy arrives—battle or proposal—the team has used its resources to ensure the best possible result.Conducting effective and complete assessments of all information provides the framework to determine with greater certainty whether or not we are in a position to undertake an effort. Capture evolves. It must be reviewed, refined, updated and monitored. As we progress, we gain valuable information to identify the information needed to commit the right resources to respond to all requirements and objectives – with the ultimate goal of winning the work. Confirm opportunity elements (requirements, size, complexity, scope, client info)Identify strengths and weaknesses (capabilities, personnel, brand, gaps in technical skills, lack of client relationship, no history with the work, do we have time to develop capabilities or team)Determine shaping efforts (tell our story, create a preference for our approach, help with various requirements)Stay ahead of the competition (what are their bidding patterns, history, relationships, how to exploit weaknesses)Mitigate risks
  • Commanders never have enough resources to address every aspect of a situation. By building discipline into the capture process, it is possible to focus limited resources on the opportunities that best fit with an overall strategy and that can be won. Rather than shotgunning resources across a broad range of potential targets, there may be fewer targets. At the same time, there may be reduced overall cost as less attractive opportunities are not pursued.
  • Strategy is the art of coordinating your resources to achieve your objectives. Out of your strategy you derive the specific actions you need to take to achieve identified objectives. By creating a solid strategy, resources are focused. There is a vision that helps guide the qualification of opportunities, balancing business growth with strategic planning. As a campaign or capture moves forward, the goal is to keep the strategy in the forefront and execute to improve knowledge about the effort. The plans are dynamic, living documents that are iterated over time, permitting adjustments as new information emerges and as leadership reviews progress and makes real-time decisions about how to achieve plan objectives. In both military and capture efforts, the need to refine data and update it is critical – otherwise we may overlook or miss data that could change the game–potentially resulting in a no bid decision–or changing our strategy to achieve our goals.
  • Commanders use war councils to discuss and debate a course of action, usually in the midst of a battle. In civilian usage, a council of war can describe any important meeting, such as in business, that must reach a decision under the pressure of adverse conditions.In capture efforts, we have milestones called gate reviews to help guide the effort of the capture team. However, these gate reviews do not always serve the purpose for which they were intended. Rather than being discussions of the capture strategy, the gate reviews become reports to leadership, serving more to check the block than to advance the capture strategy. Staff in both situationsare personnel that provide a bi-directional flow of information between leadership and individuals assigned to carry out specific operations.The purpose of a military staff is to accurate, timely information on which command decisions are based. The key application is to effectively manage resources so that when an adversary is engaged, the units involved have the right information, resources, and support to win decisively.The capture team provides the strategy and up-front planning for opportunity pursuit, as well as executing and documenting the results of their efforts so the information is used to hone the capture effort and transitioned to the proposal team–again, to achieve a decisive win.Strategies are reviewed and assessed at key points—in war councils or gate reviews—to refine and validate activities and provide guidance that directs future action.Communicating the strategy and gaining management endorsement is essential. Actions and action plans must be assessed – and updated to reflect changing conditions. As more information becomes available, it is possible it is time to re-evaluate the pursuit (and bid decisions). The goal is to ensure that the strategy is still sound, that data, assumptions and analysis are checked and validated. In the following slides, we’ll discuss the gate reviews and an approach to making them more valuable councils of war by providing information that avoids simply reporting, but encourages discussion, raising issues, and making decisions.
  • There are three key gate reviews during capture.The first sets the target by qualifying the opportunityThe second gate is a review of strategy and capture progress – ensuring the iterative update of information/intelligence about the client, the competition, our own capabilities and resources, and the risks associated with the opportunityThe third gate is the final check before “going to battle” – determining the status of capture outcomes and assessing readiness for the actual proposal effort.
  • For each review, the capture manager should have a defined agenda, a specific outcome determined, and a plan to engage the reviewers in a discussion of the capture, not merely be recipients of a report with pretty graphics.We want to focus our capture and proposal resources on the best targets—the ones with adequate time for shaping, that align with our core and emerging competencies, and for which we can mitigate risks associated with the bid. As a result, we want to design each gate review to ensure we assess the value of each possible pursuit and the progress we are making in capture. Pursuing more targets than we can handle—or the wrong opportunities—will result in poor capture and positioning—resulting in losses and wasted resources. Eliminating solid opportunities or targeting too few efforts will ultimately reduce financial growth.  Gate reviews should help capture teams evaluate all possible aspects of an opportunity and make a positive decision to continue pursuit–or alter the capture plan.
  • The gate review teams should be knowledgeable about the opportunity, your capabilities, and your competitors. They should be prepared to review your capture plan, validate your win strategy and solution – and to provide leadership for the effort. A consistent core team is recommended -- too many or the wrong staff will not help advance your strategy. Participation should be based on the expertise individuals can bring to decisions that need to be made. Imagine a battle staff making decisions about advancing against the enemy without the knowledge of the key staff members: intelligence, supply, and the front line leaders who can commit resources—air support, gunfire, etc. Decisions would be made in a vacuum and the results would be disastrous.Now picture this gate review: the capture manager, the proposal manager, the proposal writers, and the contracts staff. No senior leadership – no one empowered to make a decision or question the activity of the capture manager. The brief took an hour – and had no impact on the capture strategy. What happened was a waste of firm time and money – and a block was checked.A gate review can only be of value if the discussion can be strategic and decisions can be made – including to discontinue capture.
  • Gathering the right people with a range of knowledge and experience will enhance the meeting and foster better discussion of key points.We want a cross-disciplinary team of executives who know how to win and have a stake in the success of the firm. The objective is to leverage their leadership and gain their insights into each opportunity and approach to capture.
  • Develop strategy for conducting the review meetingsDetermine the needs of the capture team–what MUST be discussed to advance the effortDecide on meeting objectives, decisions that need to made, and guidance and next stepsFrame the briefing to best present the information needed by review team and ensure the right issues are being discussed and decisions are being madeMeet with Chair to discuss overall gate review plan and meeting objectives and goals and to address any issues ahead of timeThe Gate Review Chair facilitates the meeting and keeps participants on track and on timeSocialize all issues with the chair in advancePlan logistics earlyPrepareinvitations, locations, materials early so people can make time to participateSchedule early to secure time and date from key participants so the right people are in attendance
  • Qualifies an opportunity—assuring sufficient information is available to validate that the opportunity is realOccurs once and concludes with a go/no go decision to continue capture activitiesShould be conducted as early as possible, ideally 12-24 months prior to anticipated RFP releaseProvides the initial evaluation of an opportunity and assists in formalizing the strategy of positioning early in the Government acquisition process The BD Lead presents the opportunity to the review team and makes the case for whether or not approve to move forward to capture. The review team evaluates the maturity of the opportunity and either approves progress to the Capture Phase or determines the bid is not an appropriate fit for commitment of resources.We need a clear understanding of core business goals, corporate strategic objectives, and the criteria for setting targets. Each opportunity should fit inside the corporate strategic plan, be evaluated for contribution to revenue, profitability, risk, and strategic relevance, including identification of future opportunities resulting from successfully accomplishing the effort. We also need to assess the opportunity within the context of our understanding of the requirement, our ability to offer the right solution, our ability to influence the client and position our solution, and the competitive landscape.
  •  In preparation for the Gate 1 review, we need to characterize the opportunity as it relates to these criteria. We then need to assess the opportunity in relation to the anticipated procurement timeline and how it will affect the remaining corporate pipeline activities—both from the perspective of our ability to allocate resources against the pursuit, as well as timing to gather necessary intelligence, develop a solution, and influence the client. Finally, we need to conduct an assessment and recommendation of the pros and cons of pursuing an opportunity based on these key assessment criteria.
  • We can summarize the assessment using four-color scores. Using color scores highlights the impact of each indicator and is often easier to assess—especially in the opportunity assessment stage. The colors also make it easier to see where we need to focus our capture effort to raise the win probability. Blue shows the assessment is excellent, green shows it is good, yellow shows it is inadequate, and red shows no progress or no assessment done.  There should be consistent assessment standards to score each decision factor. Each color rating should have a question or set of questions that must be answered to justify the color rating – this avoids just picking the color that looks good – and allows the reviewers to focus on areas where they may wish to expand the discussion – which is the point of the review – to get their inputs! For example for factor 1, we might set up the following scoring criteria:The opportunity clearly maps to our strategic plan and leverages all our competencies: blueCompatible with strategic plan, we have most of the competencies/resources: greenTangential for strategic plan, limited relationship to core competencies: yellowNot in strategic plan; only minimal relationship to core competencies: redClient requirements understoodSolution has been positioned with client, or a plan is in place to do soThe anticipated margin/profit matches corporate goals for this type of contractThe return on investment meets corporate goalsThe schedule allows time for appropriate capture/shaping efforts to increase the win probabilityThe risks identified can be mitigatedThe effort leads to/creates a foundation for additional downstream opportunitiesThe Capture Team is/or can be staffed with right peoplePreliminary competitive assessment has begun and appear to be favorableIn this case, the assessment shows the opportunity is an excellent strategic fit and easily meets our financial objectives for a high return on investment. The opportunity is lacking in understanding the client’s detailed requirements, but that is workable during the Capture Phase. The assessment shows there is no competitor with a significant head start, so competition looks favorable. Given the client’s detailed requirements are not well know, the assessment for the Right Solution would need to be yellow as well—it would be hard to say the Right Solution score is green if we do not know the requirements. Finally, the overall assessment for this program is green so the opportunity is a good candidate to move to the Capture Stage:The opportunity is in our core competencies and in line with our strategic plan The anticipated margin/profit matches corporate goals for this type of contractThe return on investment meets corporate goalsThe schedule allows time for appropriate capture/shaping efforts to increase the win probabilityThe risks identified can be mitigated
  • The Gate 2 is a review of the progress or changes as the pursuit progresses and an assessment whether to proceed or terminate the activities. The Gate 2 Review is unique in that, while there is generally only one of each of the other gate reviews; Gate 2 is iterative, and should occur monthly throughout the Pursuit Phase to assess and track the progress over the course of time to address issues as the pursuit develops.  The Gate 2 reviews: Evaluate the progress of the Capture Efforts– assessing the progress we are making in executing our capture planFocus on the strategy we’ve defined and are executing regarding the nine functional areas of captureAre iterative and should be held monthly, up to 45 days before the RFP release, at which point the process transitions from Capture to Pre Proposal Phase—positioning us for responding to the RFP and writing the proposal.The goal is to assess progress being made in capture and activity and provide the opportunity to discuss any issues or resource requirements to effectively manage the capture and position us to compete effectively on the effort. During this review, the capture methodology is examined, as well as those activities that position us to win the deal. Gate 2 agenda summarizes the capture analysis and activities and serves as a mechanism for discussing the capture approach and the team’s progress.
  •  The input from leadership and a discussion of all the issues at this point can significantly improve our capture efforts. If objectives are not being met, the team should challenge its assumptions and data so that there is an analysis of the underlying issue. This is not the time to gloss over problems, but to bring them to the fore so leadership can offer ideas and resources to improve the situation. You want the review team to validate the win strategy and solution and suggest actions that will help achieve significant results (such as meetings with clients, moving the teaming strategy forward, etc.)
  • A key element of the Gate 2 Review is the Capture manager’s assessment of the effort against the nine major capture elements in the dashboard. We develop standards to determine the scoring and ensure that the review team is aware of the inputs to each score so that they can focus on specific issues and help resolve problems. For example:5. Have we properly assessed the competition?Have we conducted a black hat?What other companies are doing similar work for this client? (Have we completed analysis via a competitive assessment site (INPUT, ePipeline, FedSources, etc.)Have we validated competitor contracts?Have we consulted with teammates for information they may have?Have we considered them in our competition? If not, why not?For each competitor, do we knowPrime contractor and team membersReason for biddingHow we believe they will bid this jobRelevant past performance with the agency or with similar programsStrengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT)Relative ranking in competitive orderPricing data on relevant contract awardsBLUE: Yes to all, significant analysis and black hat conductedGREEN: Yes to some, in progress to complete, have identified broad range of potential competitors and have scheduled BH and/or are following-up on recommendations and actionsYELLOW: Limited activityRED; No independent research, validation, or analysisThis assessment is displayed progressively so we can determine if we are making adequate progress in each area to continue the capture, determine what resources/actions are required to improve our progress, and discuss whether we have the time and capability to improve our positioning on the effort. Ideally, we should see a pattern of improvement against each category. Starting with the first Gate 2 review with a preponderance of red and yellow ratings is not as telling as whether there is improvement over time from each subsequent review. An outcome of each meeting will be an updated assessment, as well as action items to be addressed, to best position us to win the deal.
  • Too often gate reviews are numerous required charts that become “death by PowerPoint.” By summarizing the overall status – and progress of the capture effort– the capture manager can select issues that need additional discussion and draw attention to them.The capture manager should be using these reviews to advance the capture – not just transmit an activity list.The gate review is not a sales document –it should be designed to frame the issues and help leadership determine if the bid is viable or not.
  • We have gone as far with our strategy as we can and are ready to go to battle – to build the proposal based on the intelligence we have gained through capture.The Capture Manager documents that the team is ready for the RFP release and gains approval for continued expenditure of resources/dollars to prepare further for biddingGate 3 is triggered by the expected RFP date and is conducted 45- to 30-days prior to RFP release. This is the time in which to raise any final challenges—Internal: resource requirementsExternal (final teammate coordination, knowledge gaps) We also want to highlight how the pre-proposal preparations have advanced.Finally, we want to determine how to eliminate or mitigate any risks prior to RFP arrival.
  • As with the other assessments, we develop standards to determine the scoring and ensure that the review team is aware of the inputs to each score so that they can focus on specific issues and help resolve problems.For example:Have we assigned a Proposal Manager and identified the required proposal resources? BLUE: A NAME against each of the roles (exception: need for Orals lead is subject to expected RFP requirement)GREEN: A NAME identified against each of the LEAD roles, as well as the Tech Volume Section LeadsYELLOW: If any of the LEAD roles are unknown, we cannot rate more than YELLOWRED: Few to no names identified
  • Gate reviews are conducted at key points during opportunity pursuit. They contribute to a systematic approach that keeps the effort focused on the customer, on our objectives, and developing the intelligence we need to bid the effort. It brings senior management guidance and counsel to the effort. Without those discussions, the capture team runs the risk of not advancing the corporate strategy –wasting time and resources that could have been applied to other deals.With each gate review, the team should leverage the combined knowledge of the reviewers to engage in discussions that improve the capture approach.
  • From Gate Review to War Council-APMP 2011-Brooke Crouter-6-1-11

    1. 1. From Gate Review to War Council: Strategic Advance<br />Brooke CrouterLohfeld Consulting GroupJune 1, 2011<br />
    2. 2. Agenda<br />Military campaigns and capture<br />Gate Reviews: Purpose and Structure<br />Conclusions <br />2<br />
    3. 3. Gate Reviews as War Councils<br />3<br />
    4. 4. Meade’s Council of War <br />4<br />Draw on the knowledge of senior leaders<br /> to make a critical decision <br />
    5. 5. A military campaign initiates a series of operations aimed towards a single, specific, strategic objective or result <br />5<br /><ul><li>Once the target is identified—
    6. 6. Take the offensive
    7. 7. Wage combat on our terms
    8. 8. Build and retain momentum
    9. 9. Be agile and adaptive
    10. 10. Win decisively</li></ul>“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat” —Sun Tzu<br />
    11. 11. Capture is a set of activities initiated to win business by selecting the best targets<br />6<br />Expand Products and Services<br />Current clients<br />New Clients<br />Core Business: Must Win<br />Expand the Business: Likely Targets<br />Op 1<br />Op 7<br />Op 6<br />Op 5<br />Op 4<br />Op 3<br />Op 2<br />Op 10<br />Op 9<br />Op 8<br />Op 13<br />Op 12<br />Expand the Market<br />Current Work<br />All New Business: <br />Breaking New Ground<br />Expand the Business: Likely Targets<br />New Work<br />
    12. 12. To execute a successful campaign, the general staff requires data<br />An understanding of the environment<br />Intelligence about the adversary<br />An assessment of its own capabilities<br />7<br />1<br />2<br />3<br />If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the results of a hundred battles – Sun Tzu<br />
    13. 13. A capture team requires similar data<br />Understanding the client<br />1<br />Understanding the competitive environment<br />2<br />Understanding internal capabilities and resources<br />3<br />Capture requires intelligence to improve situational awareness<br />8<br />
    14. 14. Data gathering is iterative<br />Confirm opportunity elements<br />Identify strengths and weaknesses<br />Determine shaping efforts<br />Stay ahead of the competition<br />Mitigate risks<br />9<br />Assess<br />Assess<br />Prepare <br />Plan<br />Strategy<br />Execute<br />Assess<br />Explore all avenues for intelligence; the more specificity gained, the more precise and focused the resulting proposal<br />
    15. 15. Both efforts require resource alignment<br />Direct every operation toward a clearly defined and attainable objective<br />Focus on the most important tasks<br />Avoid actions that do not contribute directly to achieving the objectives<br />10<br />1<br />2<br />3<br />
    16. 16. Strategy is key to success<br />Military strategy is the planning and execution of the contest between groups of armed adversaries<br />Capture strategy is roadmap detailing the opportunity strategy, actions and results, schedule, and responsibilities for a successful pursuit <br />11<br />All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved – Sun Tzu<br />
    17. 17. Communication and review are critical<br />12<br />War Council<br />Provide relevant information and analysis<br />Make recommendations<br />Prepare plans<br />Monitor operations<br />Control operations<br />Assess progress<br />Gate Review<br />Provide relevant information and analysis<br />Make recommendations<br />Prepare plans<br />Monitor operations<br />Control operations<br />Assess progress<br />However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results– Winston Churchill<br />
    18. 18. Gate reviews must be organized to achieve selected objectives and outcomes<br />Three capture gate reviews provide insight and assistance to achieve capture objectives<br />Gate 1: Opportunity Assessment Review <br />Gate 2: Strategy and Capture Plan Review<br />Gate 3: Pre-Proposal Readiness Review<br />13<br />Each Gate is an opportunity to assess capture progress and ensure we should continue to dedicate the time, money, and resources to capture and bid the opportunity<br />
    19. 19. Gate Reviews: Structure and Purpose<br />14<br />
    20. 20. Each gate review meets a specific goal<br />Provides impartial guidance and validates direction of team activities<br />Helps teams identify and prioritize critical next steps<br />Resolves any issues or roadblocks identified<br />Confirms the bid/no bid decision<br />15<br />Most importantly: Each gate review must meet the needs and objectives of the capture team<br />
    21. 21. Organize to ensure relevant decisions and feedback<br />Evaluate and approve capture activities<br />Validate the win strategy<br />Provide the necessary resources <br />16<br />1<br />2<br />3<br />Ensuring the right participation for gate reviews is critical<br />
    22. 22. Suggested gate review members<br />17<br />“If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.”<br /> –Gen. George S. Patton<br />
    23. 23. Strategy and logistics are key to successful reviews<br />Develop strategy for conducting the review meetings<br />Meet with Chair to discuss overall gate review plan and meeting objectives and goals and to address any issues ahead of time<br />Plan logistics<br />1<br />2<br />3<br />18<br />
    24. 24. Gate 1: Opportunity Assessment <br />Qualifies an opportunity<br />Assists in formalizing the positioning strategy<br />Concludes with a go/no go<br />19<br />1<br />2<br />3<br />Gate 1 qualifies the opportunity<br />
    25. 25. Gate 1<br />20<br />
    26. 26. Key Questions at Gate 1<br />Is the opportunity a fit for the corporate strategic plan?<br />What is the anticipated contribution to revenue and profitability?<br />What is the strategic relevance?<br />Do we understand the requirement?<br />Do we have the ability to offer the right solution?<br />Can we influence the client and position our solution?<br />Do we know the competitive landscape?<br />Do we have the resources to manage this effort?<br />What are the risks and can they be mitigated?<br />21<br />Bottom line: have we assessed each opportunity and selected those we can shape to win and are aligned with our strategy?<br />
    27. 27. Summarize key points in a dashboard<br />22<br />Color scores highlight where to focus capture efforts to raise win probability<br />
    28. 28. Gate 2: Strategy and Capture Plan Reviews <br />Assess the progress we are making in executing our capture plan<br />Focus on the strategy we’ve defined and are executing<br />Are conducted iteratively<br />23<br />1<br />2<br />3<br />Gate 2 evaluates the progress of the capture efforts<br />
    29. 29. Gate 2<br />24<br />
    30. 30. Key Questions at Gate 2<br />Are we making consistent progress?<br />Do we have the right capture team?<br />What resources are required to improve our progress? Are those resources available and reasonable?<br />Do we still have time to improve our positioning?<br />Is our intelligence on the deal improving?<br />What has changed in the market? How have we adapted?<br />Have we positioned our solution with the customer?<br />Are we executing our teaming strategy?<br />Have we developed a win strategy with real discriminators?<br />25<br />Bottom line: are we executing our plan and making progress?<br />
    31. 31. Gate 2 includes a dashboard to measure progress against 9 capture elements<br />26<br />Blue = excellent Green = good Yellow= limited accomplishment Red= unable to accomplish<br />
    32. 32. The dashboard is an assessment of capture progress<br />Breaks the capture into its component elements <br />Focuses questions<br />Helps determine where additional support/ resources are required<br />Opens up discussion<br />27<br />Dashboards help the review team identify problem areas<br />
    33. 33. Gate 3: Pre-Proposal Readiness Review<br />This is the time in which to raise any final challenges <br />Highlight how the pre-proposal preparations have advanced <br />Determine how to eliminate or mitigate any risks prior to RFP arrival<br />28<br />1<br />2<br />3<br />Gate 3 is a checkpoint to answer: “Are we ready for the RFP?” <br />
    34. 34. Gate 3<br />29<br />
    35. 35. Key questions at Gate 3<br />Have we gained insights into the procurement?<br />Have we positioned to beat the competition?<br />Do we have a compelling solution with excellent features and benefits?<br />Do we have a powerful team?<br />Have we developed an accurate price to win?<br />Do we have a compelling win strategy?<br />Does our past performance support our approach?<br />Can we perform? Technically? On schedule? Within costs?<br />30<br />Bottom line: Does our preparation justify the investment?<br />
    36. 36. Pre-Proposal Progress Assessment<br />31<br />Blue = excellent Green = good Yellow= limited accomplishment Red= unable to accomplish<br />
    37. 37. Conclusions<br />32<br />
    38. 38. Gate reviews should be strategic discussions<br />33<br />We can increase our win probability<br />Engaging the right participants<br />Asking the right questions<br />Creating a “council of war” <br />At each gate, we need to ask and confirm<br /> “Can we win?”<br />“Are our objectives clear?”<br />“Have we taken the actions to advance our strategy?”<br />"Unless a variety of opinions are laid before us, we have no opportunity of selection, but are bound of necessity to adopt the particular view which may have been brought forward." - Herodotus <br />
    39. 39. 34<br />Questions? Comments?Discussion?<br />Gate 1<br />Gate 3<br />Gate 2<br />
    40. 40. Contact Information<br />Brooke CrouterPrincipal Consultant, Lohfeld Consulting Group, Inc.<br />Creating Winning Proposals for Government Contractors<br /> 301-580-3839 (m)<br /><br /><br /> @Lohfeld <br /><br />35<br />