Proposal Land

Better RFP Responses & Management
Proposal Land

Just the facts, ma’am

Are you responsible for drafting RFPs? Do you ever wonder how to get good information on a company’s experience? Start by understanding the game you’re in.

Everyone is doing to their experience section what this person is doing to their resume. Or trying, at least.

So, it behooves you to craft your questions to get the answers you need: A little less talk, a lot more data.


See also this post: Forms.


How to Describe Yourself

Here’s a super article. It bangs on (but in a funny way sezme) about poor word choices, mostly in resumes and profiles.
It applies equally well to experience claims in proposals. I spent 30 years in Proposal Land trying to get people to stop doing these same dagnabbed things, and digging it out after the fact (when I could – sometimes, executive override applied).

More Advice on ChatGPT

No, not my advice: that of a professor of science who also teaches scientific writing.

What happens when ChatGPT
writes an entire scientific paper?

I suspect that his caveats on the use of ChatGPT in scientific papers apply equally to proposals. In case you don’t have the time or interest to read the whole thing, here are the highlights:

  • ChatGPT requires lots of human input–prompts, guidance, judgement–to generate even marginally usable writing.
  • ChatGPT makes stuff up: not maliciously, but precisely because it’s programmed to fill gaps with plausible (or, perhaps, “right sounding”) bits. In science papers that’s often fake citations: proposal teams can look forward to fake experience examples or performance results.
  • ChatGPT delivers pedestrian science (in his example) precisely because it’s aping existing text and repeating existing hypotheses. For the same reason, you can expect it to deliver pedestrian solutions for a client’s requirement. Just as there’s no new science being done here, there’s no business/operational creativity on offer here either.
  • ChatGPT replicates all the bad habits of science writers, including the passive voice and tortuous sentences and paragraphs. It would do the same for proposal writers, presumably. Oh, hurray.

So, how could you use ChatGPT in Proposal Land? Read this.


Working with Intent

We make heroes out of people who show up with the last-minute save,
but the real work is in not needing the last minute.
Seth’s Blog

I’ve written a few times on this blog (and on every page of my manual) about proposal management as a project-management discipline; in Seth’s words today, about how not to need the last minute in Proposal Land:

It isn’t that we don’t know what has to happen in theory, it’s just that it’s, you know, a lot like *work* to make it happen in reality. I agree: It *is* a lot of work. But I don’t sympathize with attempts to ignore/avoid it: It’s still the best option we have.

The good news? We can learn how to do it.

And it’s helpful to realize that it’s a skill, a choice,
a set of tools to be learned, not something we’re born with.

Very few successful organizations feel as though
they’ve underinvested in project management.

By the time a project is worth doing,
it’s worth doing with intent.
– also/still Seth’s Blog