With this approach your team will have time at the end to concentrate on refining your approach and cost.

So, how do you get started? This is the time to develop a careful line-by-line analysis of the draft material. Create a matrix that includes every requirement from each of the RFP task and specification paragraphs. This checklist will help you to create a fully responsive proposal.

Next create a complete outline for each of the required volumes. Be sure to order the outline by Section L Proposal Response Requirements and have a column for assignments.

Tips & Tricks: If there are no proposal instructions in the draft, construct your Management Volume using Section 3, Requirements from the Statement of Work and construct your Technical Volume by following the Specification’s Section 3.0 Requirements. You can’t go wrong with this approach, since each will follow the evaluator’s guide. Outlines should include all cross-reference data for a quick one-look status and compliance check.

Now you’re ready to have a kickoff meeting. Be sure to make assignments clear and have scheduled milestones to follow. Your first task will be to create a flow of strategies throughout the higher level paragraphs for each volume. Once your team has created strategies, hold a round table review and scrutinize each of them.

Next, use the storyboard process to capture an approach for each requirement. This is an opportunity to do your homework and to capture substantiating data for all claims made in your approaches. See the article addressing storyboards.

Completing the Storyboard Review before release of the final RFP should be your main goal. At that point, it is easy to map out the differences between the draft and the final. From these differences you can develop a "delta plan" which will track the storyboards that need revision. Once they are revised, you are ready to start a meaningful first draft. And all during the first week of RFP release! You now have time to hone that approach and concentrate on all of the other tasks including subcontractor SOWs, cost, and technical risks.

Your team used the pre-proposal period wisely, and you are poised for success.

Tips & Tricks: Post proposal data on your company’s intranet for better team communications.