Proven Best Practices
Proposal processes trace their roots to the 1960s and the work of Jim Beveridge, Hughes Aircraft, and others. In the early 1980s, we added a unique perspective by mapping the systems engineering process to proposal development. Although others continue to evolve the proposal processes—to adapt to technology, for example—the core successful implementation remains unchanged.
Our proposal development associates understand why the various artifacts and reviews are necessary to achieve a winning proposal, rather than simply how to use the templates—they are more than simply “process mechanics.” As such, they can recommend improvements or enhancements to your established process, based on their knowledge of our process.
This is important since it speaks directly to process effectiveness and efficiency. Our proposal managers have the experience and leadership to work through and modify processes to achieve proposal objectives. Leveraging this capability is one reason why we have been so successful over our 36 years of providing acquisition management services.
SMA Proposal Process
Our five-step authoring process, complemented by daily reviews with authors to ensure compliance, develops convincing and compliant proposal content:
SMA Proposal Process Products: quality is integrated at every step
Module Specifications (Mod Specs) and Story Maps ensure author agreement and understanding of the proposal section requirements. The Proposal Manager reviews both to ensure the correct allocation of top-level messaging and artwork to the assigned number of pages.
Annotated Mockups (AMUs) build on the Mod Specs and Story Maps by focusing on preparation of graphics and messages in bullet form.
The Pink Team Review ensures compliance with solicitation requirements, evaluates developing figure and table content, confirms themes have been incorporated, strengths are emphasized, and discriminators clearly highlighted.
Authors incorporate Pink Team recommendations and comments as they write draft text and further mature artwork. As they develop their Module Drafts, the Proposal Manager reviews content to validate incorporation of Pink Team direction and support continuing development of a consistent and compelling presentation.
The Red Team Review simulates the source selection evaluation process with particular focus on RFP compliance. We also solicit recommendations to improve presentation clarity and compliance. All written Red Team comments are recorded, and each undergoes disposition by the author, with approval from the Proposal Manager. After incorporating Red Team comments, we compile the Final Draft for your management review and subsequent submission.
Orals presentations may be required to supplement proposal volumes or may be the only method by which a customer may evaluate an RFP response. We tailor our process for developing an oral presentation based on existing content to capitalize on the written documentation. Post-Submittal Activities may include responding to customer requests for clarifications and evaluation notices. If entering discussions, this may require updates to specified proposal sections or resubmission of the entire proposal, as amended, including highlighting any changes.
With an industry-unique understanding of what it takes to win, we understand the value of Process Tailoring for proposals with fewer and less complex requirements to make best use of staff and other resources. We also recognize there are elements outside the process environment that we may need to address as part of achieving proposal objectives. Process tailoring minimizes complexity and duration to achieve objectives on smaller, less complex proposals while using fewer resources. While there are many ways to tailor a process element, ensuring the objective of that process element is accomplished remains critical. For example, eliminating a formal Pink Team is effective if an informal review can serve as a replacement. This requires a different approach to ensure author artwork and messaging are sufficiently mature to proceed to writing draft text.
SMA Proposal Development Solutions
Proposal Assessment: Did you use best practices to develop your current proposal? Take our free Proposal Assessment to find out before that next review!
Basis of Estimate: Learn how our specialists can build a compelling story for your price position.