Write Better RFP Responses by Assigning the Right Resources

The mission: To write clear, responsive, persuasive responses to RFP questions that will score well against RFP evaluation criteria, be internally consistent with the solution described elsewhere in the proposal, align with the solution actually costed, and protect the eventual operator or project manager from unreasonable client demands so that the company can make money.

The resources: Oh, anyone can do it.  Just assign someone who isn’t otherwise busy.

Now.  Does that seem reasonable?  

Proposal writing is a complex, demanding task requiring significant domain knowledge, strong teamwork skills, good reading and writing skills, and the ability to meet hard deadlines without collapsing.

Getting the right resources on the proposal team may be the single most important contribution to success that any responsible executive or proposal manager will make. Proposal writing is not a job for just any old monkey.

Proposal Writing: Not Just for Any Old Monkey

I stare at my iPad Scrabble® board. With extremely limited options for my first play, I have done my best, going with “if.” What comes next surprises me.

ifit
Yikes. “If it  . . . what?”  Do we have an attempt at communication? An attempt to reach cross the human/machine interface? There’s only one way to find out: Play along.

 ifitis

I carefully add “is” to the sequence – creating “If it is . . .” and wait breathlessly for the response. What will my opponent-turned-conversationalist make of this?

IMG_3798

Sigh.

This abortive foray into woman/machine communication reminds me of the old joke about the research project that gave a roomful of monkeys a roomful of typewriters, to test whether they would, eventually, write the works of William Shakespeare. One morning, while showing someone around the lab, the researcher in charge noted one monkey, tapping diligently away in the corner. Quietly, the visitors went over to stand behind the monkey where they could see what it was typing.

As they watched with increasing excitement, the monkey typed out, slowly,

To be

or not to be

that is the unzmweekotch

Even an infinite number of monkeys will not type a coherent sentence, much less the works of Shakespeare.

So what? How does this affect us in Proposal Land? In two ways.

First, managers must assign the right resources: This is not a task for just any old monkey.

Second, those resources must not just type, even diligently: They must think about what they’re writing.

And that is the unzmweekotch.  No question about it.

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1 Comment

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One Response to Write Better RFP Responses by Assigning the Right Resources

  1. Jim Taylor

    My iPad Scrabble board has a teacher. I play a word. It says, “Pretty good, but you could have done better” and shows me a word that I have never heard of before (and I have a fairly large vocabulary) that strongly resembles unzmweekotch. Although limited to seven letters, of course. I don’t trust it. I think the computer’s cheating.
    Jim