To Bid or Not to Bid? The #2 Process Improvement Lesson Learned for Proposal Management
(2) Conduct a bid / no bid review.
While many firms don’t believe in the value of a formal bid / no bid review, and consider this as a practice embraced strictly by larger businesses, it is a good idea to conduct at least some level of bid / no bid review to confirm your bid decision through structure and process – whatever your business size and maturity level. Even if only informally held, bid / no bid reviews should verify and consider:
- Any RFP “show stoppers” can be addressed; and
- You are positioned to win before committing to an expensive proposal effort
- You are not at the “Breaking Point” of internal proposal development team resources or budget to support external (outsourced) resources (plan the work, then resource it).
The objectives for the bid / no bid review are to ensure all members of the proposal development team have a high-level overview of the RFP and are committed to the bid prior to initiating all-out proposal development planning. This resource commitment may involve and require approval / authorization to obtain additional proposal development resources than originally planned or estimated.
In addition, any team weaknesses or gaps based on unexpected requirements should be identified at the bid / no bid review so immediate action can be taken to mitigate those weaknesses / fill the gaps through the appropriate teaming strategy. These adjustments should also be factored into the win strategy, and the overall win themes should be validated against the Final RFP to align with the basis for award and evaluation criteria.
Concurrently with these teaming / win theme adjustments, given resource commitment and approval to proceed with the bid, proposal development planning should continue with drafting the proposal development schedule, which is the #3 Proposal Management Process Improvement Lesson Learned. The bid / no bid review should conclude with at least a tentative date/time for the next major milestone in the proposal development process, the Proposal Kick-off Meeting.