"Proposal Writing Benchmark Study Proposal Steps SOW Description from BAE RFP Physical steps used to develop a proposal • Storyboard"
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. 1 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 2 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 writing. 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 themes? − Are writers given samples of desirable syntax and messaging? 3 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. 4 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. Investment 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 5 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 cooperation. 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 6 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 summary. 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 differentiators. 7