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Five Ways to Measure-Up a Successful Proposal Program

Author: Jim Kemp

Managing a proposal program for success can stretch the resources of even the most talented proposal team. The challenge requires an equal measure of writing talent, project management skill, and interpersonal communication ability.

By any measure, the success of a proposal program will be evident in how well individual proposals and RFP activities are carried out. However, here are five fundamental ways that any proposal program can be measured-up and managed for success:

1. Repeatability. More than just re-purposing or re-using content, true repeatability involves some measure of automation. For example, workflows and notifications that keep proposal team members informed. The more automated a program is the more time-saving repeatability it will offer.

2. Fairness. Non-biased preparation and results scoring are just the start. Having standards for grading and defined procedures in which grading takes place not only improves fairness, it also lays the foundation for certifying fairness after the fact.

3. Organization. The success of every proposal process rests on how well-organized all the supporting documents, schedules, and content are kept. Project management is one-half the story; the other half is making sure every related document and communication is properly saved and readily accessible.

4. Collaboration. Proposals, and the content involved in creating them, are rarely the work of individuals; rather they are the joint effort of a team. Proposal team members must share, contribute, review, and analyze the same material. Proposal content must therefore be managed in a structured environment that facilitates access and use while protecting against information loss.

5. Accuracy. Accuracy is good, but actually improving accuracy is a better goal. Process improvement and accountability are a couple of the more effective ways to drive increased accuracy. Process improvement is making sure that what is learned from one cycle is reapplied in the next. Just as important, however, (and often given less attention) is accountability. Logging activities will give an understanding of what actions occurred so that any corrections that might be needed can be easily identified.

So how are these five measures applied to program success?

First, break the proposal process down into its natural three segments: development, distribution, and review.

In the development phase, as proposal teams work within in their group and with line-of-business managers to produce documents, schedules, and benchmarks, everyone's ability to share and exchange information is critical. There is a real need for collaboration tools - things like document version control, and review and approval processes. Accuracy and efficiency are key here to make sure the proposals go out on time, and that proposals are set on the correct path, without errors, right from the start.

Once in distribution, as proposals go active to the outside world, a system is needed to capture and document all the communications. The entire process must be accurately managed so that messages are recorded, responses are approved, and proposal team members are kept informed. Incorporate email records too, which will greatly reduce the risk of lost messages, and increase the ability to automate certain functions such as internal notifications.

Finally, after proposals responses are received and the process enters the review and approval phase, what's needed more than anything is an orderly, organized evaluation process. A big advantage will come with tools that allow for the automated routing of responses, and initiate scoring and voting procedure.

About the Author:

Jim Kemp, ECM and Document Locator Professional. Document Locator is an enterprise-class document management system designed to enhance efficiency, reduce risk and improve collaboration. Get Document Management information.

Article Source: ArticlesBase.com - Five Ways to Measure-Up a Successful Proposal Program

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