Proposal Writing Benchmark Study Proposal Steps SOW Description from BAE RFP Physical steps used to develop a proposal • Storyboard

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					Proposal Writing Benchmark Study

                                                       Proposal Steps
SOW Description (from BAE RFP)
Physical steps used to develop a proposal:
   •   Storyboarding
   •   Theme development
   •   Timing of kicking-off proposal teams with respect to baseline development
   •   Incorporation of price-to-win/cost-to-win
   •   Management reviews (timing, frequency, depth/level)
   •   Gates used to control proposal development
   •   Use of proposal templates, boilerplate sections, compliance matrices, etc.

Background (Issues, other considerations)
   •   Not as concerned with relative strengths or weaknesses of industry writing methods – e.g., Shipley vs. SM&A – as with the
       ability of the organization to perform the steps in their process.
   •   Must consider the role of technology used by the organization as part of writing proposals.

Prerequisites and Enabling Conditions:
   •   Commitment to perform – i.e., providing adequate funding and resources.
   •   Ability to perform – i.e., having sufficient training to assure that proposal participants have needed competencies.
   •   Ability to perform – i.e., having proposal teams organized to support writers through a well-planned hierarchy of writing
       assignments and leadership roles.

Proposal Writing Benchmark Study

Benchmark Criteria and Success Factors
Study Area (BAE and Others)         Benchmark Criteria                                    Success Factors
Using proposal plans, directives,   • Extent to which planning is linked to business      • Document repeatable process to
or other planning tools and aids      development life cycle with customer, specific        assure that planning is routinely
                                      strategy development, and management reporting        performed and systematically
                                    • Extent to which planning is reinforced by             validated.
                                      software tools and management procedures
                                    • Extent to which enforced safeguards assure that
                                      proposal planning takes place in a timely manner

Managing proposal resources         • Degree to which there are objective tools for       • Record how quickly proposal
                                      scoping proposal team requirements                    resources are allocated.
                                    • Extent to which these factors are weighed when      • Record how adequate proposal
                                      assessing resources:                                  resources are in terms of availability
                                      − Available time and money                            and performance.
                                      − Ability to win                                    • Record amount, expertise, and timely
                                                                                            response of contributed resources.
                                      − Strategic significance of customer
                                    • Extent to which resources are systematically
                                      prioritized for proposals versus other tasks
                                    • Provisions to assure that the BD function has the
                                      ability to access needed resources

Proposal Writing Benchmark Study

Study Area (BAE and Others)    Benchmark Criteria                                     Success Factors
Using Storyboards (BAE)        • Efficiency in translating guidance and relevant      • Record clear links to subsequent
                                 information to writers                                 writing tasks and ability to perform
                               • Balance between ease of use and demand for             those tasks.
                                 rigorous attention to planning requirements          • Track what percentage of answers
                               • Extent to which use is “organic” and embedded          include effective visuals.
                                 in actual writing processes                          • Record use of secondary devices that
                                                                                        facilitate writers’ ability to plan their
Identifying customer’s hot     • Effectiveness in discerning customer’s most          • Record list of hot buttons and key
buttons and key requirements     significant needs and business goals                   requirements; evaluate extent to
                                                                                        which these penetrate the RFP
                                                                                        response and are associated with your
                                                                                        company’s capabilities.
Developing themes (BAE)        • Effectiveness of links to defined win strategies –   • Verify that themes are appropriate as
                                 i.e., use of “theme trees,” etc.                       part of writing process.
                               • Extent to which themes are used and flowed           • Use secondary devices to facilitate
                                 down into actual content                               writers’ ability to prepare and use
                               • Priority given and resources applied to                themes:
                                 developing themes                                       − Are writers guided by ordered
                                                                                            steps to enable incorporating
                                                                                         − Are writers given samples of
                                                                                            desirable syntax and messaging?

Proposal Writing Benchmark Study

Study Area (BAE and Others)      Benchmark Criteria                                     Success Factors
Developing content               • Extent to which content is developed as an           • Use secondary writers’ aids that
                                   “organic” extension of storyboarding and               provide guidance to develop good
                                   thematic development                                   first drafts.
                                 • Extent to which content development is actively      • Record what percentage of reusable
                                   supported by reuse library                             content is in discrete “ready to use”
                                 • Extent to which visuals are used to convey             syntax, versus bulk files of previous
                                   compelling information including                       proposals.
                                     − your understanding of customer’s culture         • Record what percentage of answers
                                        and needs                                         and narrative include visuals.
                                     − your company’s effectiveness in meeting          • Record effectiveness of visuals by
                                        those needs                                       testing with appropriate focus group.

Timing of proposal kick-off with • Clarity of links between offering baselines and      • Track use of formal mechanisms to
respect to baseline development    written descriptions in proposals                      facilitate real-time communication
(define baseline development)    • Organizational assignments that align roles for        between interdependent roles.
(BAE)                              baseline development and proposal writing              (examples?)
                                 • Strength of links between stakeholder roles and
                                   responsibilities across proposal and baseline
                                   development tasks
Using competitive intelligence   • Specificity of competitive information and ability   • Record how current competitive
to ghost weaknesses of other       to translate that to winning differentiators for       intelligence is and how effective it is
bidders                            your company                                           in providing a winning differentiator.
Discovering and incorporating    • Extent to which theme development reflects           • Track use of formal mechanisms that
price-to-win/cost-to-win (BAE)     specific cost/price strategies                         include the outputs of price-to-
                                 • Degree of integration between elements of the          win/cost-to-win into storyboarding
                                   baseline development process                           and theme development activities.

Proposal Writing Benchmark Study

Study Area (BAE and Others)        Benchmark Criteria                                     Success Factors
Developing and incorporating       • Potential effectiveness of financial case in         • Verify that financials are accurate,
case for Total Cost of               persuading customer                                    and use tools based on sound
Ownership/Return On                                                                         accounting expertise.
Handing management reviews         • Extent to which reviews acknowledge the            • Clearly define the relationship of
(timing, frequency, depth/level)     constraints of proposal development                  reviews to a reasonable balance of
(BAE)                              • Level of integration of reviews within the defined   internal and external stakeholder
                                     progression of the proposal process                  value.
                                   • Appropriate links of depth and level of reviews to
                                     types of proposals
Using gates to control proposal    • Level of definition for decision points as actual,   • Clearly define the relationship of
development (BAE)                    productive steps in the writing process                reviews to a reasonable balance of
Using Bid/No Bid discipline and    • Extent to which executives involved in gate            process control and added value.
upper level management support       reviews are actually engaged in proposals            • Record percentage and extent of
to decide subsequent action        • Extent to which resources are deployed on              executive engagement: how many
                                     winning proposals versus those with slim chance        executives and how much time?
                                     of success                                           • Per proposal per customer track
                                                                                            resources used and success rate.
Using proposal templates,          • Extent to which templates and reuse material         • Record metrics on usability and utility
boilerplate sections, compliance     facilitate preparation of a “good first draft”         of reuse libraries – e.g., percent of
matrices, etc. (BAE)               • Level of integration of compliance matrices into       first draft from reuse material,
                                     storyboarding and draft writing processes              feedback on amount of tailoring of
                                                                                            reuse material, and percent of authors
                                   • Heuristic use of proposal templates                    using templates

Proposal Writing Benchmark Study

Study Area (BAE and Others)       Benchmark Criteria                                    Success Factors
Managing Team information         • Formal application of communications strategies     • Track amount of rework due to lack
                                    as part of proposal plans                             of adequate communication of
                                  • Specific consideration of who needs what              proposal strategies, etc.
                                    information to perform proposal tasks: extent to
                                    which tiers of distribution lists, based on Need
                                    To Know, are used
                                  • Strategies for inclusion of subcontractors and
                                    team member personnel in communications
Integrating personnel and input   • Clear guidance on managing subcontractor and        • Track use of secondary tools and
from subcontractors or team         team member personnel and input as part of the        collaboration techniques defined and
members                             proposal planning process                             in place to facilitate participation of
                                  • Specific provision for integrating personnel and      subcontractor and team member
                                    input from subcontractors and team members            personnel. Some examples of tools
                                                                                          include templates, style guides, and
                                                                                          mandatory methods for managing
                                                                                          files and formats.
                                                                                        • Track response of subcontractors and
                                                                                          team members in terms of timeliness,
                                                                                          effectiveness, and level of
Managing proposal production,     • Extent to which production management is            • Record quantitative metrics for
including graphics                  addressed in the proposal planning process            predicting production requirements
                                  • Differentiation of skills and competencies within     and controlling production “flow.”
                                    the proposal team to minimize production issues
                                  • Inclusion of production management as part of
                                    formal proposal configuration control

Proposal Writing Benchmark Study

Study Area (BAE and Others)   Benchmark Criteria                                  Success Factors
Using executive summaries     • Strategic view of proposal executive summaries    • Use embedded processes including
                                as part of proposal development process             mandatory deadlines and reviews for
                              • Executive summaries as timely, formal outputs       progressively developing executive
                                from early solution teams                           summaries.
                                                                                  • Track extent to which winning
                                                                                    financial case is included in executive
Using cover letters           • Cover letter signed by executive who holds        • Track steps to identify executive early
                                maximum credibility with customer’s decision        in process and quickly secure
                                makers                                              executive’s participation.
Managing proposal             • Extent to which formal configuration              • Quantify and record formal
configuration                   management techniques are applied to proposals      procedures and other guidance on
                              • Level of automation incorporated into proposal      managing proposal configuration.
                                configuration management process
Timing and using              • Level of integration of peer reviews within the   • Clearly define the relationship of
peer/stakeholder reviews        defined progression of the proposal process         reviews to added value.
                              • Appropriate linkage of depth and level of reviews • Track and record occurrence and
                                to types of proposals                               degree of effective expression of win
                              • Thorough penetration of win themes and              themes and differentiators.
                                compelling differentiators, especially financial