#10 Proposal Management Process Improvement - A Lesson "Learned" must result in change!
(10) Conduct a lessons learned review.
Lessons learned reviews provide a healthy and therapeutic outlet for members of the proposal development team to reflect, discuss proposal development experiences – both positive and negative, and learn from these experiences. The primary objective of a lessons learned review [a.k.a. after action review (AAR) / hot wash] is to obtain all participants’ evaluations of the processes used in terms of constructive criticism and recommendations for improvement. The review should be conducted within a week after the proposal is submitted to capture all relevant feedback and suggestions through a lessons learned survey.
The ultimate goal is to improve proposal management and development processes and apply those improvements to future bids. No matter how well defined your proposal development processes, you can always improve your ability to develop highly competitive proposals. The lessons learned review should focus on how lessons learned apply to specific roles in the proposal process, not to individuals.
For a lesson to be truly “learned,” it must result in change. Issues should turn into action items that will lead to improvements on future proposals.