Proposal draft preparation

The objective of the second draft process is to develop a near-finished proposal draft that is compliant, incorporates the Pink Team comments, and implements the proposal strategy.

Each author progresses through three steps to produce a Red Team ready draft:

  • Pink Team Recovery
  • First draft
  • Second (Red Team) draft

Pink Team Recovery

Each module has a Pink Team recovery plan developed through consultation between the author and the Proposal Manager. The recovery plan consists of resolving the items listed on the Pink Team comment disposition tracking form (see Pink Team review). Authors present their approach to resolving the comment. Often, comments are not easily implemented or require management approval. In these cases, the Proposal Manager places these issues on the Action Item List for daily tracking until resolution. Major issues notwithstanding, Pink Team recovery should take no longer than one week and can be implemented as the authors develop their first drafts.

Proposal First Draft

Drafting quality proposal material is generally the most elusive proposal process objective. The author work package and mock-up processes are intended to move the first draft quality to a high level by “pre-integrating” the message (compliance, approach, customer benefits) into a presentation format that effectively communicates the Why Your Company message.

In creating the first draft, the author converts bulletized storyboard concepts into prose and refines the graphics. While this appears to be a small task, experience shows that, due to many factors, there is usually a dip in quality as inexperienced writers attempt to compose text that melds sales concepts with the approach and experience requirements. For example, the excessive use of adjectives and adverbs, use of passive language, and the inability to write a paragraph within a theme. In addition, putting the main point at the end of the paragraph or section can seem like a drop in quality. You can train the authors on writing style during morning meetings. However, there will always be low quality sections that require significant remediation and editing.

Knowing that there is a great variation in writer skill levels, your company performs an In-Process Review (IPR) within a week of Pink Team debrief. The purpose of the IPR is threefold. First, an IPR deadline sets an interim milestone for authors to achieve and sections are not reviewed at the last moment. Second, first drafts are placed on the wall to facilitate proposal team cross reading. Third, the Proposal Manager performs a formal IPR on all module drafts to identify the struggling modules for personal or additional attention. The module author receives direction and assistance during the IPR.

Proposal Second Draft (for Red Team)

The Red Team draft process is a continuation and improvement of the first draft. Authors are honing the message. The past performance authors assist in identifying and drafting proof statements. That is, statements or graphics providing evidence of your company’s successful implementation of proposed approaches.

When authors complete a Red Team draft, they place an electronic version in the Red Team draft folder. The proposal coordinator works with publishing to cycle the draft through edit, and graphics development, and formatting. The proposal coordinator also performs QC on graphics, call outs and titles and action captions. Completed module drafts are then electronically saved in the red team folder and placed under configuration control.

– Melanie Baker


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