As contract people on the sales side of the house frequently are involved with assisting in preparing proposals, I thought I would share my thoughts on proposal management.
The first step in the process is the initial proposal analysis to break down the request into four categories you manage:
1.What information do they want provided in the proposal and what format do they want the proposal to be provided in.
2.What does the customer want? Is there a clear definition of the customer’s total requirements?
3.What is the schedule for both responding to the proposal and the schedule for the work?
4.What are the terms the customer wants to purchase the products or services under?
Once you have completed that first step its time to implement a management process. The management process should include the identification of all the tasks to be performed assignment of those tasks to different members of the team responsible to provide that information needed to provide the proposal. Tasks would frequently include:
1.Work capability and capacity assessment. Based upon the proposed work and schedule do we have the capability and capacity to perform the work? What tasks and how much of the work can we perform internally? What would we need to subcontract? Is the work a good fit for the company?
2.Subcontracting assessment and management. For work that has been identified as needing subcontractors you need a person or group that will:
a.Identify potential subcontractors.
b.Provide them with documents and the scope of the work they need to provide proposals against.
c.Provide them they response time to provide their proposals.
d.Provide them the terms you need them to perform the work under.
3.Contract assessment and analysis. For this task you would compare the terms the customer is asking for against your traditional sales terms to determine additional requirements that may add to the cost and different risks. There would normally be two outputs from this task. One would be an assessment of the contract risks to be taken into account by the business team in their decisions on whether to pursue the contract and how to price it if they proceed to try to win the work. The second output of this task is to provide the subcontracting team with information of what terms will need to be flowed down to the subcontractors as part of managing the cost and risk of the work.
4.Business assessment. The business assessment is normally performed within the sales organization. As part of their task they will look at how the business and customer fits into their strategies. They will try to determine what they feel it will take to win the business. The assessments for the other three areas will assist them in their final determination of whether to provide a proposal and at what price and with what conditions or exceptions.
5.Proposal Management. The proposal management task is used to manage the schedule for all analysis to be provided, and all subcontract proposals to be received. The individual or group responsible to manage the proposals will ensure that individual or teams are assigned to perform each task. The will assume responsibility of day-to-day performance with checklists to track completion status and action item lists to manage progress.
6.Final review and submission. If Proposal Management is done right, all the tasks have been performed and assessments of all the areas will be provided to the Business Management team to make final changes and adjustments to the proposal. That will then be checked to ensure that the proposal does in fact meet the submission requirements. The end product should be a final proposal that meets all requirements and is submitted on time.