All successful proposals result from the proper management of the proposal team. Assigning and following up on actions are extremely important for the smooth conducting of the processes of a proposal. Since the team members have limited budgets and time, it is critical to manage them effectively and keep the entire team focused on the ultimate objective; winning the proposal.
- Ensure consistency of daily activities with a written proposal-management plan
With the help of a written proposal-management plan, a common base of information and assumptions can be made and it also eliminates the need to repeat information when new people join the team. The plan is necessary to ensure that each and every member of the team moves in the same direction. The plan serves as a reference document that enables a Proposal Manager to conduct triage, establish the important activities for the day, and create interim deadlines.
- Daily stand-up review or call
In order to check the progress of the proposal work, a daily stand-up review or teleconference can be conducted. It should be short and ensure that all the team members are present during the review. It is best to conduct it at the same time everyday so that people can arrange their schedules accordingly. Use a standard stand-up meeting agenda to keep the meetings on track.
- Identify the barriers on the daily stand-up and resolve them outside
The daily review should be used only to identify the problems or roadblocks that will keep the proposal team members from addressing the priorities of the day. During the review, do not try to solve the problems that have been identified. Instead, decide who should resolve the problem, provide suggestions and formulate an acceptable timeframe for resolution.
- Track actions with imminent deadlines
Day-to-day activities should be driven by near-term interim deadlines. With the help of stand-ups, accountability can be increased and it also encourages early identification of problems. Reserve part of the time during each daily stand-up to focus on activities that potentially have a long lead time.
- Listen for potential problems that are not always articulated clearly
It is possible that the team members fail to update status or identify any problems, in such cases, contact them in a different setting, one-on-one, to probe further. Also, in case the participants critical to the process are silent, it is worth following up to make sure that activities are still on track.
- Clarify roles and responsibilities to avoid duplication of effort
Ensure that there is no confusion or uncertainty regarding who is supposed to do what. Each member of the team should have a proper understanding of his/her roles and responsibilities. Two danger signs Proposal Managers should look out for and correct include:
- Indications that proposal team members are not aware of the extent of their role
- Members who regularly step outside their roles without being asked to and start doing others’ jobs
The team members should also be made aware of the difference between accountability and responsibility. Accountability is getting something done without necessarily doing it oneself. Responsibility refers to the ability to get the job done.
- Track activities without interfering in the development of the content
Create a simplified method for tracking progress on major tasks and explain it to the team early. Do not try to capture the status of subtasks and embedded activities. The tracking methodology should be used to share the status of proposal tasks which in turn will make the team aware of the progress as well as challenges.
- Keep the team motivated and productive
It is really important to keep the team members motivated. They must be provided with the tools and information they need to complete their assignments. Adjust workload among contributors to avoid exhaustion. Respect the need of proposal team members to attend to personal and family obligations.
- Overreliance on virtual communication- Do not overlook the importance of face-to-face contacts.
- Failure to ask questions of team members- Do not confuse the responsibility to see the output from time to time with micromanagement.
The article briefly details key examinable syllabus area from the APMP Practitioner certification.
Based on APMP Copyrighted material.