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Proposal Processes Set the Pace for a Win in Government Contracting

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The Proposal Manager sets the schedule for completion of all proposal activities, including those performed during the Capture Phase. Remember that all Proposal Managers are not the same, and they do not all follow the exact same proposal process.

Because of this, the team needs to know their Proposal Manager’s expectations. This includes the BD Leadership team, the Capture Mangers, writers, editors, and others who are part of the overall proposal team. The tempo or pace for this bid may be different from others, but the team can match the pace if you communicate effectively with your team.

One way to set the pace is to provide an orientation for the team, which is often done at the Proposal Kick-Off Meeting. But you can prepare for the race by orienting the internal team and subcontractor contributors before the Kick-Off Meeting. This will begin the process of integration and allow time for the team to begin working together smoothly before the RFP drops.

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Training Plan

The schedule of tasks, assignments, and checklists is the Proposal Manager’s Training Plan. It is based on a meticulous process to determine when each input is required, how inputs interact with each other, and how to balance or align inputs with holidays and other external events. These are critical items that can help your team win government contracts.

The proposal schedule is a complex integration of linked deadlines. The Proposal Manager has gauged the amount of work required for each task to meet the schedule. They know how many pages can be edited per hour, reviewed in a day, and how long it takes to format a document. The schedule must be based on real events, real numbers, and real people. To reach the goal and to run smoothly, the schedule must be meaningful. If the Proposal Manager ‘pads’ the schedule and request inputs before they are needed, the team will soon learn that deadlines are not real.

The Proposal Manager or Volume Leads will start to see late inputs and will quickly lose control of the schedule. One late input affects other people, their schedules, and their work planning for the day. And it just snowballs from there. It should take an unforeseen event or emergency (a meeting is not an emergency) to force a schedule slip, not unrealistic scheduling.

Conversely, if the proposal is on track and tasks are complete ahead of schedule, there may be an opportunity to relax the schedule to accommodate extension requests. If there is a deadline extension from the government, determine if you need to change the schedule for all or some tasks. If inputs are not needed until Wednesday, give writers until Wednesday to get them in – do not set an arbitrary time on Tuesday just because you anticipate that ‘someone will be late.’

For a schedule to work for a large group of people, every deadline must be meaningful, real, and important.


Priorities Set the Pace

Proposal Managers need to have confidence in the writers and contributors. They also need to allow them to plan their own schedules. With the knowledge that the deadlines are real, writers will be able to prioritize their multiple tasks according to their capabilities and set their own pace for completion. Additionally, team members will know that the Proposal Manager values their time and their individual schedules, appreciates their collaboration, and works with them to set realistic and achievable goals.


Check Your Pace

Check in with writers to assess their progress daily. A proposal automation software tool, where writers indicate completed assignments, with a real-time status dashboard, is extremely helpful for maintaining status in real-time. Whatever tool or process used, the Proposal Manager or Volume Lead should talk to writers immediately if little progress is being made on assignments. This cannot wait until the last minute!

The day before an assignment is due is not the appropriate time to check writer progress for the first time. Progress status is a continuous process that may include emails, messages, texts, and phone calls. Writers should expect status checks and should be prepared to both give a status report and ask for help when needed.


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This is the 4th in a 12-part series Get More from 24 Hours. This series is based on the eBook Get More From 24 Hours in a Day and Win More Government Contracts, which contains the entire series with additional bonus content and tutorials. The eBook is evolved from a presentation at APMP's International Bid & Proposal Con 2021, given by OneTeam's Product Manager, Donna Hamby. Download your free copy of the eBook.

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OneTeam is a complete, secure, cloud-based collaboration platform for GovCons to track, qualify, capture, propose and win more contracts with fewer resources by streamlining and automating processes. OneTeam was designed and developed by a federal government contractor to address the lack of resources and time, as well as the pain associated with winning government contracts.

OneTeam provide free webinars on Pipeline Management, Capture Management, and Proposal Management and Automation. These webinars address some of the best features of OneTeam and include a live Q&A session. 

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