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How to Energize a Custom Workflow Graphic with Subject Matter Experts

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Workflow technical approach

Technical approaches in a government proposal can become complex as you demonstrate how your team can fulfill the customer’s goal better than your competitors. Usually written by technical experts, the technical approach demonstrates your understanding of the PWS and of the customer; shows the steps to accomplish the work; details associated risks and mitigations; and provides experience proof points—all of which point to the benefits of your approach for your customer.

Sometimes, technical approaches can turn into long paragraphs of detailed information that may be difficult to read and understand. You can energize your technical approach with a customized technical workflow graphic that is easy to read, understand, and evaluate. A custom workflow can provide detailed data to support the narrative content, can replace long paragraphs of text, and can also be used as a training or quick reference guide.

How to Create a Technical Workflow

Proposal Managers can work with PWS subject matter experts (SMEs) to create an outline, then expand a workflow for their department, group, or PWS element. This technique is especially useful when SMEs have limited time or limited proposal writing skills. This process may be faster than asking a technical expert to create a compelling narrative or a graphic that conveys very technical information to a non-technical audience. This technique works with most kinds of work – customer call center, manufacturing department, engineering group, or others.

To create a draft workflow, you will need a lot of data from the SME, which they may provide verbally in an interview, or they may provide written answers to specific questions. They create the draft workflow, have SMEs validate it, and then make revisions based on their inputs. Repeat this process until all details are accurate and they are logically represented in the workflow. After the graphic is complete and validated, you can tailor narrative to support the graphic as you detail the tools, interfaces, innovations, and results expected with your technical approach. Technical experts can review and validate your final narrative and technical workflow graphic together before that section goes to a review team. A list of questions to build a technical workflow is included at the end of this post.

You may use this technique to illustrate the current approach and then look for areas where you can make improvements. Visualizing the process may reveal bottlenecks or areas where minor changes can improve the process, such as running some processes in parallel rather than in sequence.

You can use this graphic in your proposal and note improvements with a specific color or icon to make it easy for evaluators to see your proposed improvements.

A completed workflow graphic may look something like the one shown here. Work with a graphic artist to include appropriate icons, proposal colors, and make the graphic as easy to understand as possible.

Energize your technical approach with a custom workflow that you develop in conjunction with SMEs, which will demonstrate your deep understanding of complex processes and set you apart from the competition. You will then be well on your way to winning technical approach!

Download our Proposal Management Toolkit, which includes templates a team overview graphic, technical approach format, past performance examples, and other tools for proposal managers.

Questions to Develop a Technical Workflow Process

 Receiving Work Assignments

  • How is work assigned to employees?
  • Who assigns the work?
  • How are employees notified of work?
  • Do they pick up a work package and scan a work order?
  • What is the form number for the work order?
  • Do employees often pass work through multiple personnel, stations, or department?
  • How is this accomplished?
  • Who determines project or work priorities?
  • Is there a priority process that supersedes routine processes?
  • Is a specific software program used to assign work?
  • Does anyone create a job estimate for work? If so, how, what software, is there a review of this estimate?
Energize Workflow Graphic

 Reporting

  • What kind of reporting is required by this work?
  • Who performs the reporting, edits reports, and submits to the customers?
  • Who maintains the document library – is it on the customer site or our company site?

 Interactions

  • Who interacts with the customer?
  • What and how often are those interactions?
  • Do any personnel supporting this work participate in review boards or working groups?
  • What are the customer interfaces?
  • How does this work support other customer divisions?
  • Do your personnel interact with other contracts and personnel that support other contracts?
  • Is your work part of a large program and represent a section of an integrated master schedule?
  • How do you ensure that your tasks on completed on time to support the integrated master schedule?

 Tools

  • Name every tool used in performing this work.
  • Name every software or system used in performing this work.
  • Name every document or form you must complete for this work.
  • What government standard documents do you follow for this work?
  • Can you status the work in real-time? If so, how?
  • What tools or software interface with the tools/software used in performing this work?
  • Are any parts of the work processes automated? Can they be automated?

 Quality

  • Who performs a quality check?
  • At what point are quality check performed?
  • What quality certifications are required?
  • What quality certifications do we have?
  • What is your rework process?

 Personnel

  • What labor categories perform this work?
  • What training is required to perform this work?
  • Is there software or tool specific training required?
  • What refresher training is provided?
  • Is this workforce subject to Service Contract Act (SCA) or a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA)? If so, how does this impact work schedules, overtime, holidays, emergencies, etc.?
  • Are there other unique personnel requirements to perform this work, such as on-call personnel?

 Process

  • What happens in the event of an emergency?
  • Who can issue a stop work?
  • Is there an escalation plan problem resolution?
  • Do personnel need scripts or reference documents to quickly and easily perform their job functions?
  • How is the requestor notified when work is completed?
  • What safety standards do you follow?
  • Do you have Standard Operating Procedures for each task?
  • Where are these maintained and who maintains them?
  • Does every employee have a Job Book or Reference document that details steps to complete specific functions?
  • How often are these updated?
  • Who creates these scripts or documents and how/when are they updated?
  • Do you provide on-the-job training, shadowing for new personnel, or other program to jump start proficiency of employees?
  • What efficiencies can you suggest?
  • What innovation do you suggest?

 Continuous Improvement and Feedback

  • How often do you meet with the customer for feedback?
  • How do you incorporate feedback into your process?
  • Do you have a continuous improvement program, employee feedback mechanism, or customer satisfaction survey?
  • Who reviews this information and how are improvement actually made?

 

Download our Proposal Management Toolkit, which includes  a longer list of technical questions to build your workflow graphic, team proposal graphic, technical approach format, past performance examples, and an annotated outline plan.

Energize your technical approach with a custom workflow that you develop in conjunction with subject matter experts. Your deep understanding of the complex process will set you apart from the competition and help your company Win More Business!

download proposal management toolkit

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