Proposal management is a subset of project management, with that classic triangle whose three corners represent these aspects:
Push on any corner and the other two move, yeah? In Proposal Land, the immovable corner is schedule. Everything is affected by having to meet a hard deadline. In that environment, it’s easy for costs to escalate and standards to slide. The management task is to prevent that — to control cost and to maintain standards — while holding to schedule.
Managing the proposal team
It’s not enough to manage just the pursuit — the sales activity — and the production work. Between those two ends of the process, there’s a whack of work to be done to develop a solution tailored for the client and then to create a compliant, compelling, and on-time proposal, and it takes all the management skill available. And then some. Start by looking at the tasks to be completed.
Then consider that the management structures and implicit understandings that get most of us through a work day aren’t usually in place for a proposal team, and must be developed and communicated:
- Organizational structure
- Work hours
- Group norms
Managing submission mandatories
Managing the writers or managing a volume
Managing the subcontractors
Managing the graphics
Managing the proposal schedule
Every RFP sets its own response schedule, but six weeks isn’t unusual for a large but not humongous government contract, so there’s a sample six-week schedule here. Go ahead and make it your own.
And a final check . . .
On a six-week proposal, how will you know you’re in schedule trouble?
|At this time…||You’re in trouble if….|
|When the RFP is issued||
|At the end of week 2||
|At the end of week 4||
|At the end of week 5||