We’re like that. (Here, imagine a forefinger and middle finger held together and held up.)
We’re on the same wavelength. We’re like totally totally in sync/synch. There’s no daylight between us.
Well, no, but the Harvard Business Review and I do agree on the importance of systems to your productivity, even, if I may say so, to your very survival in Proposal Land. So let’s look at their recommendations for improving productivity at the systems level.
Tier your huddles. In Proposal Land this means having stand-ups with the whole team, operations-concept planning sessions with just the technical experts, and pricing-strategy sessions with the proposal manager, coster(s), and executives.
Make work visible. In Proposal Land this means using flipchart paper on the wall, initially for the schedule, later for the selling themes, and later still for tracking the status of sections.
Define the “bat signal.” In Proposal Land this means giving people guidance about which medium to use for which communication. I can’t say it any better than HBR did (go figure), so it’s worth checking out. I used to hate getting an email invitation to a critical meeting that I only saw hours after said meeting because I had my head down working to some deadline (again, go figure). If it’s time-critical, pick up the phone or swing by my desk, dagnab it.
Align responsibility with authority. OMG yes. Don’t make the production lead get every formatting decision vetted by a senior manager who’s never actually done that work. Don’t hobble the proposal manager with having to get every decision about how the work will be done approved by a team of executives. Will your team make some mistakes? Sure. Will they, even more frequently, just do things differently than you would? Yes. Give them your objectives and constraints, and then let the people charged with a task actually do it.