4 min read

Can a New, Improved Red Team Review Boost Your Competitive Advantage?

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In the government contracting Business Development process, the Red Team Review is an important milestone. Many people dread the Red Team. You can change this perception if you complete pre-Red Team tasks that lead to a improved Red Team that is less stressful and boosts your competitive advantage.

What is a Red Team Review?

Shipley Associates, Inc. defines a series of reviews proposal color team reviews, and many companies model their review cycle on Shipley color team reviews. The Red Team is a formal review of proposal content prior to submittal. The goal of Red Team is to evaluate draft content against the RFP evaluation criteria to determine how your company or team will score and how you can increase your score and probability of win.

Red Team is just one part of the proposal phase and it hinges on the win strategies developed by the Capture Manager during the capture phase of the BD lifecycle. The graphic below shows Red Team during Proposal Development. However, the information that builds the content for Red Team is developed much earlier in the BD lifecycle.

Does an Improved Red Team Review

Red Team involves Capture Managers, Proposal Manager, reviewers, and content writers. All Red Team participants must understand their own roles, the company’s processes, and the team’s expectations. Your company may closely follow the Shipley process or it may pick and choose processes that fit its corporate goals and culture. Regardless of the manner in which you implement this process, you can create a more positive, productive Red Team with planning and preparation.


Plan for Red Team

Blue Team occurs during the qualification phase and assesses company qualifications and resources. Capture Managers create capture plans that develop and refine win strategies. Some companies conduct strategy workshops to develop win strategies, and then conduct independent reviews of the strategies. Some companies conduct Blue Team as an interactive strategy session and develop strategies in real-time. Blue Team participants should have knowledge of the customer, the solicitation, company capabilities, and past performance, as well as the technical knowledge to provide a plan to move forward in the bid process, as they

  • Recommend Bid/No Bid decision
  • Identify solution gaps
  • Determine required resources
  • Recommend teaming arrangements
The Blue Team locks in your win strategies.


Prepare for Red Team

Pink Team evaluates the proposal outline in relation to the RFP requirements, and validates the mapping of Blue Team-approved strategies to the outline. Pink Team is conducted after the draft RFP (DRFP) is made available, but usually before the final RFP (FRFP) release. It may be conducted with an outline, having RFP requirements and win strategies mapped to the outline. It may include a storyboard or mockup containing the same types of information. Pink Team focuses on compliance and messaging, It should include at least some Blue Team reviewers for consistency. Pink Team is NOT the time to develop new strategies or approaches, unless there have been significant changes in the DRFP direction that necessitate a change. It does provide

  • Assessment of compliance issues with the outline
  • Suggestions on proof points, experience examples, or golden nuggets
  • Improvements for the messaging
The Pink Team maps the Blue Team strategies to a compliant outline and locks the outline.


Conduct the Red Team

Writers integrate the approved Blue Team strategies into narrative content and graphics, which follow the Pink Team approved outline. Since the FRFP was released after Pink Team, the Proposal Manager validates the outline for changes from DRFP to FRFP that would indicate a change in strategy. The Red Team Review is conducted usually between ½ and ¾ way through proposal timeline, and after the Final RFP is released. Reviewers analyze strategies and draft content to determine if it is compliant with the FRFP. Their evaluation is based on presentation of a clear, convincing, compelling story with fully integrated and approved themes, innovations, discriminators, features, etc. Reviewers will determine if all claims are substantiated, if cost savings are evident, and if the approach is successfully presented.

Red Team Reviewers evaluate content against the evaluation criteria - just as a government evaluator would. Reviewers evaluate for customer focus, clearness, and cohesiveness of the content. This critical review can help

  • Resolve compliance issues
  • Fill gaps in content
  • Make content more clear or compelling
  • Revise or add proposal content to increase score

Capture Managers are critical to having a successful Red Team Review. They develop the win strategies throughout the capture phase that will drive proposal content creation. Implement an improved Red Team Review by planning and preparing for it early in the capture phase. Our free Capture Management Toolkit will give Capture Managers the tools they need to be successful, including a qualification matrix, better capability matrix, and templates for a Black Hat Review. Check it out today, and boost your competitive advantage so you can Win More Contracts!

download capture management toolkit


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