A Proposal Development Process helps organizations respond to buyer Request for Proposals (RFP). Having an established proposal development process should help ensure organizations develop the best proposal possible that satisfies all the buyer’s needs and requirements. Organizations that understand the customer’s procurement process, proposal evaluation methodology, governing regulations, standards, and laws have an inherent advantage over their competitors.
Notional Steps in a Proposal Development Process
Step 1: Form Your Team
The most important step is gathering the most knowledgeable and effective team members to write the proposal. The key players include the Program Manager (PM), who runs the actual project if awarded, and the Proposal Manager who is responsible for executing the proposal development process.
Step 2: Plan
A plan should address how the Proposal Content should be developed and the main proposal requirements to achieve. The plan should list these proposal requirements in a Compliance Matrix. An effective plan that gives a timeline on when items are due and roles and responsibilities to all proposal team members.
Step 3: Develop the Outline
Each volume team leader is responsible for developing a Proposal Outline for the assigned proposal volume. This outline adds details to the High-Level Outline such as customer requirements, specific descriptions, Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), and administrative approach to each volume and section.
Step 4: Hold Formal Kickoff Meeting
The kickoff meeting is where the Program Manager and Proposal Manager officially start proposal development efforts with all team members. This is the best opportunity to make sure all team members are informed of their responsibilities and the overall goals of the proposal.
Step 5: Prepare Story Board
Proposal storyboards should be developed using brainstorming and storyboarding techniques. The volume team leader should be responsible for planning and holding a brainstorming session with the volume technical writers. Together, each section of the proposal volume should be divided into sub-sections. For each sub-section, supporting themes, key selling points, and visuals should be developed.
With the information obtained through the brainstorming session, technical writers should then complete a storyboard for each assigned section of the volume. The volume team leader should be responsible for deciding the storyboard walk-through schedules with the team. The volume team leader must approve the storyboards before passing them to the proposal project manager for final approval. Once the storyboards are complete and approved by the proposal project manager, the volume team leader must ensure that the information is added to the annotated proposal outline on the server.
Step 6: Pink Review
Each volume leader should brief their storyboard to the Proposal Manager. It’s the responsibility of the proposal manager to ensure that story board satisfies the requirements in the RFP and complements the overall story of the proposal
Step 7: Prepare the First Draft
The first rough draft is prepared by team members and reviewed by each volume manager.
Step 8: Prepare the Second Draft
The second rough draft is prepared by team members and reviewed by the Project Manager.
Step 9: Red Team Review
The proposal project manager should arrange to have a Red Team Review of the technical, management, and cost volumes. This review should be scheduled towards the end of the proposal writing but should still provide sufficient time for the Red Team Review comments and recommendations to be evaluated and incorporated into the proposal. Details for the review should be forwarded when complete Every volume team leader should be responsible for having the volume material ready for review should be prepared to make presentations on the assigned volume.
Step 10: Submit Final Draft
Make sure the proposal is submitted to the exact submittal terms in the RFP. Always have a backup plan for submitting just in case something goes wrong or missing.
AcqLinks and References:
- MIL-HDBK-245D DoD “Handbook for Preparation of Statement of Work”- 3 April 1996
- Guide: Solicitation Preparation Guide for the Acquisition of Commercial Items by the DoD – 7 May 2015
- Template: Proposal Evaluation Plan
- Template: Source Selection Plan
- Website: FAR Subpart 12 “Acquisition of Commercial Items”
- Website: FAR Subpart 15.2 ‘Solicitation and Receipt of Proposals and Information”
- Website: Navy Contract Management Process Guide
- Website: Navy Acquisition Guide – Proposal Development
- Website: The Association of Proposal Management Professionals