“Good studios build good walls.”
Rhys Newman and Luke Johnson
At first glance, this rule for fostering teamwork is perversely reminiscent of one of the more famous quotes of a former Poet Laureate of the United States. You know the one I mean.
“Good fences make good neighbours.”
But this is not about building walls between people. Instead, it’s about using walls to connect them.
What are Walls in Proposal Land?
Walls – whether actual or virtual – are places where the big points about an RFP response are posted, in a format big enough and simple enough to be seen and taken in at a glance:
- The response schedule
- The selling themes
- The control sheet that identifies the status of each of 37 sections in the final multi-stage process of review, revision, editing, revision, proofing, revision, printing, proofing, revision . . .
Walls as Passive Information Radiators
As you’ll see from the external links below, “passive information radiators” are important for all teams – indeed, for all organizations. For proposal teams, they’re especially important:
- Saving time, an obvious bonus in this deadline-driven activity
- Improving communication both within the team and with executives
- Limiting disruptions to team members who already have more work than time
- Keeping the team focused on what matters, and helping to ensure that they know the same things about what matters
- Reducing anxiety, especially on ad hoc teams where members don’t know who they can trust to meet their commitments, and who they have to keep an eye on
It’s easy to get swamped by the detail. Using a wall makes the big pieces visible, a crucial first step to managing them.
Information Radiators – Agile Tools
Information Radiators – Element #2 of the Personal Kanban
Proposals are schedule-driven projects that require a strict project management discipline. Right? Partly right. In proposal terminology, I’d call that answer incomplete. Proposals are projects, for sure, but they’re also the output of teamwork. I’ve recently been learning how much the design business has in common with proposals.
This post is one of a series on proposal teamwork, inspired by a fabulous article on Medium on design teams:
“No Dickheads! A Guide to Building Happy, Healthy, and Creative Teams.”