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Proposal Management Process

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Proposal Management Process

  1. 1. Proposal Management Process Develop proposals that WIN , reduces rework & halves the turnaround time Anand Subramaniam
  2. 2. <ul><li>“ In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield.” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- Warren Buffet </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Highlights <ul><li>Proposal – Overview </li></ul><ul><li>Proposal – Process & Pointers </li></ul><ul><li>Proposal – Checklists </li></ul><ul><li>Proposal – Best Practices </li></ul><ul><li>Proposal – Centre of Excellence (CoE) </li></ul><ul><li>Lessons Learned </li></ul>
  4. 4. Proposal - Overview
  5. 5. Solicitation Types <ul><li>IFB – Invitation for Bid </li></ul><ul><li>RFP – Request for Proposal </li></ul><ul><li>RFQ – Request for Quotations </li></ul><ul><li>RFQ – Request for Qualifications </li></ul>
  6. 6. Contract Types <ul><li>FFP – Firm Fixed Price </li></ul><ul><li>T&M – Time and Material </li></ul><ul><li>CPFF – Cost Plus Fixed Fee </li></ul><ul><li>IDIQ – Indefinite Delivery / Indefinite Quantity </li></ul>
  7. 7. Proposal – Development Steps Steps Storyboarding kick-off proposal teams with respect to baseline development Physical steps used to develop a proposal Use of automation tools, sections, compliance matrices etc Theme development Gates used to control proposal development Incorporation of price-to-win / cost-to-win Management reviews - teams, timing, frequency, depth & level
  8. 8. Proposals – Team Alternatives <ul><li>Internal </li></ul><ul><li>Dedicated teams of proposal specialists separate from proposed program team </li></ul><ul><li>Proposal development ‘Tiger’ teams staffed from various functions, but not from proposed program team </li></ul><ul><li>Proposal teams staffed from proposed program team </li></ul><ul><li>Other internal teams that prove to be effective </li></ul><ul><li>Level / mix of experience of the ‘standard’ proposal writing team </li></ul><ul><li>External </li></ul><ul><li>Use of consultants as proposal managers </li></ul><ul><li>Use of consultants as writers for the entire proposal </li></ul><ul><li>Use of consultants as advisors </li></ul><ul><li>Use of professional writers and style guides </li></ul><ul><li>Dedicated teams for long-term content, data development and management </li></ul>
  9. 9. Why proposals fail? Failure Failure to address requirements No match-up of offering to requirements No experience plus high risk with no contingency plan No substantiation for claims Failure to give buyer what he / she asked for Lack clearly expressed communication Non-compliant and carry a high price tag No front-end planning or marketing intelligence No rationale for alternatives
  10. 10. Proposal – Success Criteria Success Criteria Well defined team roles & responsibilities Adopt a proposal development methodology & continuously refine it Understand customer’s environment, their pain factors and use this in your proposal Brainstorm theme statements & link quantified benefits to features Avoid boilerplates & tailor story-boards to the opportunity Use storyboards to track progress & focus team members on their next, immediate task Select team that strengthens your value proposition Pay attention to the evaluation criteria Communicate your action plan and provide validation that you understand the requirements First develop a compliance matrix & monitor it regularly for adherence Whether you win or lose – request a debrief
  11. 11. Proposal – Process & Pointers
  12. 12. <ul><li>“ P roper planning prevents poor performance .” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- Army Five P’s </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Proposal - Process Win Strategy & Themes Proposal Outline & Schedule Issue writing Assignments Proposal Manager Comply No Create Baseline Manager Approval Yes Proposal Draft Yes Executive Summary Submission Cover Letter No Blue Team Risk /Issues Identified Assignment Issued Capture Manager Incorporate Changes Comply Complete Yes Yes No No Make Changes Proposal Production & Delivery Yes Capture Manager Assignment Issued Risk/Issues Identified Red Team Comply Incorporate Changes No End Gold Team Yes No No Bid Bid RFP Received Start Bid / No Bid End Prepare Proposal Management Plan & Compliance Matrix Kick-off Meeting
  14. 14. Bid / No Bid - Criteria <ul><li>Strategic value </li></ul><ul><li>Solution match </li></ul><ul><li>Competitive position </li></ul><ul><li>Customer relationship </li></ul><ul><li>Executable & financial match </li></ul>
  15. 15. Bid / No Bid – Process Flow
  16. 16. Proposal – Major Players Editors / Writers Proposal Board / Committee / CEO / GM External Consultants / Peak Body Legal Counsel Sales / BDM Proposal Coordinator Players Proposal Manager Pricing / Support staff
  17. 17. Proposal – Organisation Structure Board / CEO / GM / Project Manager Proposal Manager Proposal Coordinator Management Section Leader Technical Section Leader Pricing / Cost Section Leader Past Performance Section Leader Writers / Illustrators Writers / Illustrators Writers / Illustrators Writers / Illustrators Industry Section Leader Quality Control / Risk Advisor Writers / Illustrators
  18. 18. Proposal - Roles / Responsibilities <ul><li>Proposal Board, GM, CEO </li></ul><ul><li>Works with Sales to validate client needs </li></ul><ul><li>Identifies and assigns proposal team resources </li></ul><ul><li>Approves proposed proposal approach and final pricing </li></ul><ul><li>Reviews proposal prior to production </li></ul><ul><li>Signs of on proposal </li></ul><ul><li>Proposal Manager </li></ul><ul><li>Day-to-day management of the proposal team, sections, and production </li></ul><ul><li>Sets schedule and delegates assignments </li></ul><ul><li>Ensures completion of proposal tasks and overall proposal quality </li></ul><ul><li>Owns the proposal creation process and works with General Manager to create themes </li></ul><ul><li>Proposal Coordinator </li></ul><ul><li>Coordinates the information process on the relevant selection and distributes RFP </li></ul><ul><li>Creates and enforces proposal calendar </li></ul><ul><li>Manages version control for all sections & coordinates the production and the delivery effort </li></ul>
  19. 19. Pointers - Proposal Management Plan <ul><li>Project summary </li></ul><ul><li>Customer profile </li></ul><ul><li>Proposal operations </li></ul><ul><li>Competitive analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Strategies and themes </li></ul><ul><li>Roles and responsibilities </li></ul><ul><li>Past performance citations and references </li></ul><ul><li>Proposal strategy </li></ul><ul><li>Proposal schedule </li></ul><ul><li>Executive summary </li></ul><ul><li>Proposal outline </li></ul><ul><li>Work breakdown structure </li></ul><ul><li>Forms, templates, references, guidelines, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Pricing / Cost breakdown </li></ul>
  20. 20. Pointers – Compliance Matrix <ul><li>Proposal Outline </li></ul><ul><li>Executive Summary </li></ul><ul><li>Management / Technical Approach </li></ul><ul><li>Staf Qualifications / Resumes </li></ul><ul><li>Project Management </li></ul><ul><li>Past Performance (project engagements / qualifications) </li></ul><ul><li>Costing / Pricing </li></ul><ul><li>Assumptions </li></ul><ul><li>Risks & Contigencies </li></ul><ul><li>Proposal Contact List </li></ul><ul><li>Calendar / Schedule </li></ul><ul><li>Production Checklist </li></ul><ul><li>Page limits, formatting and submission instructions </li></ul>
  21. 21. Pointers – RFP Outline & Criteria <ul><li>Proposal format should mirror the RFP section numbers / titles </li></ul><ul><li>Include RFP requirements and evaluation criteria numbers for writer reference </li></ul>Filename RFP Sect. #s Section Title Writer Draft Done Review Done 10/11 1_FuncSpec 4.0 Functional Specification Anand 23/11 Criteria Interface to SCADA and MES systems
  22. 22. Pointers – Events Plan Events Plan Proposal kickoff Storyboards - section brainstorming sessions Draft questions about RFP due to client contact Drafts reviewed & due (Blue Team, Red Team, Orange Team etc) Final edit and formatting Final questions due to the client Work plan and costing due dates Board / CEO / GM / Project Manager review(s) Production (print, proof master, copy, assemble and ship!) Proposal delivery time lines Daily back-up after each activity Other RFP dates such as orals and contract award Any scheduled absences / vacations of team members
  23. 23. Proposal – Kick-off Meeting Agenda <ul><li>Guidelines to writers </li></ul><ul><li>Response assumptions </li></ul><ul><li>Competition -- other bidders </li></ul><ul><li>Review key events / milestones </li></ul><ul><li>Win themes and discriminators </li></ul><ul><li>Assign roles and responsibilities </li></ul><ul><li>Question submission procedures </li></ul><ul><li>Technical / business solution overview </li></ul>
  24. 24. Proposal – Project Schedule
  25. 25. Proposal - Your Storyboard Storyboard <ul><li>Your Understanding </li></ul><ul><li>Proposal information </li></ul><ul><li>Bid request information </li></ul><ul><li>Your Analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Compliance </li></ul><ul><li>Your Offer Definition </li></ul><ul><li>Major issues </li></ul><ul><li>SWOT analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Approach </li></ul><ul><li>Features & benefits </li></ul><ul><li>Risk management </li></ul><ul><li>Past performance </li></ul><ul><li>Your Strategy </li></ul><ul><li>Section discriminators </li></ul><ul><li>Volume strategy </li></ul><ul><li>Section strategy </li></ul><ul><li>Section theme </li></ul><ul><li>Your key Visuals </li></ul><ul><li>Graphs / Trends </li></ul><ul><li>Title / Captions </li></ul><ul><li>Action Pointers </li></ul>
  26. 26. Proposal – Win Strategy Themes Point of emphasis Undeniable truth Recurring thought Unique benefits Advantage Compelling point (value for money) Themes Your theme statement that gives you the highest rating Where your Competition is unable to make the same claim
  27. 27. Proposal – Why Themes? Why About You Your capabilities and competencies Your related or relevant experience and / or exposure Your “thought leadership” in the chosen field Your strengths Your past performance Your approach Your value proposition Your management style
  28. 28. Proposal – Blue Team Review Emphasis on preparing a solid Red Team draft Draft Complete Usually occurs 2 ~ 7 days before Red Team Focus on identifying serious weaknesses Being constructive Focus on inconsistencies, and on RFP-compliance Blue Team Limited to proposal contributors only Checkpoint for Board / GM / proposal Manager
  29. 29. Proposal – Red Team Review Limited to non-authors, senior staff members Draft should resemble the final proposal as it will be delivered Red Team debrief should occur 3-5 days before due date Reviewers should make specific and constructive comments Proposal should be scored to show strength & weakness To be critical and to find fault Red Team Post-Red Team debrief -- new assignments are made Include subject mater experts and / or outside consultants
  30. 30. Proposal – Gold Team Review Generally involves GM / Proposal Manager Proposal manager has an overall say on the final changes Final pre-production review Final validation of compliance, complete-ness, and accuracy Gold Team Last opportunity to verify scope, themes, message Board review required for bids say $5m+ and high risks
  31. 31. Proposal – Risk Record
  32. 32. Proposal – Final Review & Delivery Review by Internal groups and divisions Customer name correctly spelt Proposal / project name Bullets, headers, footers etc consistent Resumes format and credentials Ensure consistency of themes and key messages Final Review Terminology to match the RFP Key terms and acronyms spelled out
  33. 33. Proposal – Final Outline <ul><li>Executive Summary </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Short statement of your case and summary of the entire proposal; typically 1 to 2 pages. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Statement of Need </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Why this project is necessary; 1 to 3 pages </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Project Description </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Nuts and bolts of how the project will be implemented; 2 to 5 pages </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Bid Amount / Budget </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Financial description of the project plus explanatory notes; 1 to 2 pages </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Organisation Information </li></ul><ul><ul><li>History, structure of the company; primary activities, clientele, and services; 1 to 2 pages </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Appendix </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Assumptions and other workings; 2 to 5 pages </li></ul></ul>
  34. 34. Proposal - Checklists
  35. 35. Proposal – Technical Section Checklist <ul><li>Have you avoided gold-plating? </li></ul><ul><li>Are your arguments sound, convincing and logical? </li></ul><ul><li>Have you given the risk areas proper treatment? </li></ul><ul><li>Have you made frequent use of figures and tables? </li></ul><ul><li>Have you used actual test data results where ever appropriate? </li></ul><ul><li>Have you emphasised the benefits of your product / service offerings? </li></ul><ul><li>Have you planned your graphics early (at the outline / storyboard stage)? </li></ul><ul><li>Is the technical section written from the customer's / evaluator's point of view? </li></ul><ul><li>Lean heavy on action terms, i.e., define, analyse, calculate, design, build, test, review, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Show your work flow graphic early in the technical section and tie your descriptions to this one graphic. </li></ul>
  36. 36. Proposal – Pricing Section Checklist <ul><li>Does this fit your long-term product strategy? </li></ul><ul><li>Are your terms & conditions clearly stated and responsive? </li></ul><ul><li>Will winning and performing successfully on this program provide a needed &quot;experience bridge&quot; that will enable customer acceptance in this field? </li></ul><ul><li>Major programs require three cost estimates – development / production, operations and support estimate. The way to win is to have low cost numbers for all three </li></ul>
  37. 37. Proposal – Completion Checklist <ul><li>Thoroughly reviewed the RFP </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluated your company’s competition </li></ul><ul><li>If appropriate, past performance references </li></ul><ul><li>Prepared document in the appropriate format </li></ul><ul><li>Developed a strategy to differentiate your company </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluated your company’s strengths and weaknesses </li></ul><ul><li>Obtained and reviewed background documentation for the project </li></ul><ul><li>Prepared any questions concerning the RFP and submitted to the contracting officer </li></ul><ul><li>Included commitment letters from potential employees, suppliers and funding sources </li></ul><ul><li>Purchased a sufficient number of packaging materials? Binder rings, tabs, notebooks, etc. </li></ul>
  38. 38. Proposals – Best Practice
  39. 39. <ul><li>“ The business world is splitting into two types of companies: those that have intellectual property and those who do not .” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- Gordon V. Smith & Russell L. Parr </li></ul></ul>
  40. 40. Proposal Life Cycle - Using Best Practices <ul><li>Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBoK) can help to effectively manage multiple proposal projects </li></ul><ul><li>Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) can help to deliver better proposal services </li></ul><ul><li>Lean / Six Sigma can help to deliver the required quality and value add process in the proposal life cycle (PDCA) </li></ul><ul><li>Capability Maturity Model Integrated (CMMI) can help to smoothly integrate proposal functions using an iterative development techniques </li></ul><ul><li>ISO 9001:2000 can help to improve consistency and quality in proposal development </li></ul>
  41. 41. Using ITIL, PMBoK, CMMI, ISO, PDCA etc CMMI Proposal Life Cycle Service Management ISO 9001: 2000 Lean / Six Sigma Project Management
  42. 42. Applying CMMi to Proposal Development Level Characteristics 5 – Optimised Continuous proposal development process improvement is enabled by quantitative feedback from piloting innovative ideas and technology. 4 – Managed Detailed measures of the proposal development process and results are collected. Both the process and products are quantitatively understood and controlled. 3 – Defined Process for proposal development activities is documented, standardised, and integrated into the organisation. All activities follow an approved, tailored version of the organisation’s standard process. 2 - Repeatable Basic proposal development management processes are established to track cost, schedule, and functionality. The necessary process discipline is in place to repeat earlier successes 1 - Initial Proposal process is characterised as ad hoc, and occasionally even chaotic. Few proposal processes are defined, and success depends on individual effort and heroics.
  43. 43. Proposals – Centre of Excellence
  44. 44. Proposal – Centre of Excellence (CoE) <ul><li>How / when resources are allocated in the process </li></ul><ul><li>Using controls to verify brand positioning and manage costs </li></ul><ul><li>Enforcing proposal strategies / themes in the proposal process </li></ul><ul><li>Automated tools and dedicated physical facilities and equipment </li></ul><ul><li>Understanding role that individual behaviors play in team interaction </li></ul><ul><li>Understanding any variations in process to address different levels of proposal complexity or types of proposals </li></ul><ul><li>Using knowledge management strategies to understand the impact of process on efficiency, effectiveness, and potential win rate </li></ul>
  45. 45. CoE – Closing the Gaps <ul><li>Understand the current state of proposal writing capabilities </li></ul><ul><li>Compare internal operation with “ideal state” benchmarks </li></ul><ul><li>Identify alignment and gaps </li></ul><ul><li>Develop appropriate action plans </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Commitment to improvement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Invest and train as appropriate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Align metrics & measures </li></ul></ul>Profit Approach Cost Approach Technical Approach Management Approach Risk Assessment Proposal Response Guide . . .
  46. 46. Lessons Learned
  47. 47. Lesson Learned <ul><li>Document solution </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid “buzzwords” </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid complacency </li></ul><ul><li>Identify differentiators </li></ul><ul><li>Make response easy to score </li></ul><ul><li>Use compliance matrices </li></ul><ul><li>Develop win themes early </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid wordy explanations </li></ul><ul><li>Link proposed solution to objectives </li></ul>
  48. 48. Lesson Learned (Contd.) <ul><li>Management / Staffing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Proposed team’s responsibilities / authorities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Skills matrices within resumes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Metrics / evaluation criteria </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Industry “best practices” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Past Performance </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Comparable past performances </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Diverse experience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Current references </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Engage business units </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Manage the proposal schedule – communicate schedule progress often </li></ul><ul><li>Use knowledge management / collaborative tools (lesson learned) </li></ul>
  49. 49. <ul><li>“ The buck stops with the guy who signs the checks .” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- Rupert Murdoch </li></ul></ul>
  50. 50. <ul><li>Good Luck </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>