What comes after Coronavirus when the proposal world reboots?

9 areas to focus on for permanent change

You’ve successfully conducted business virtually for some weeks now. But are you good at it, or have you just modified your old ways of working so that you can get by without co-presence?

If you’ve got some weeks of mandatory virtualness still to go, maybe you do a little reengineering. A vaccine is 12-18 months away. Maybe even after some people go back to work it won’t be completely over. Maybe things will never be completely like they were. Maybe it’s time to give virtual just as much priority in your processes as physical.

For example, a key requirement for working virtual is being able to work asynchronously. Sometimes everybody has to be synched to the same clock. But usually they don’t. And it’s better when they don’t. 

A good example of this is the telephone vs texting. Sometimes it’s better to call with both people interacting in real time. Sometimes it’s better to send a text and let them answer when it’s convenient. Neither is the right answer for every circumstance. But lots of business that used to be conducted by telephone is easier to manage via texting. Or email. Or Slack. Or whatever.

Instead of taking the same process you used when people were collocated, how might the process change if everyone used something like Slack? Or Microsoft Teams? Or whatever?

What I’ve found is that the process changes in unintuitive ways, but you have to change your perspective to how things could work instead of how you’ve done them in the past.

Try looking at things functionally. Only think about how that functionality might play out virtually. 

  • Assignment issuance, task tracking, and expectation management. How do people find out about their assignments? How do they find out about other people’s assignments? Think beyond the form. Think beyond paper.
  • Information exchange. How will people get the information they need, when they need it? Think beyond email. Think beyond files. Think about information flowing automagically. Can you make that happen?
  • Progress and other reporting. How will you know what progress is being made? Can that also happen automagically, so that no human action is required for updates to happen?
  • Problem and issue reporting. Stuff happens. How will issues be surfaced? How will they be aggregated and responded to? How will you prevent things from slipping through the cracks? Think beyond email. But think minimal or people will avoid reporting.
  • Risk awareness, tracking, and mitigation. What about things that might become an issue but haven’t yet? People used to waste endless hours discussing these. You still need to surface them if you’re going to do any contingency planning. How can you do that in a virtual context? Think beyond meetings.
  • Quality definition and validation. How will people know if they properly completed their assignments? How will reviewers know? How will reviews be performed (and that includes planned, coordinated, reported, and completed)? Think beyond paper, markups, and comments. Think about how quality criteria inform performance and improve reviews. Then think about how to communicate your quality criteria and turn them into work assets.
  • Notification and coordination. When working asynchronously, you often need to know when something is ready for the next step. Think about smart phone notifications and automagically generated text messages. Think about them occurring without human intervention so that sending them isn’t a burden.
  • Training, knowledge, and skills development. This is a new way of working. It won’t be what people are used to. They’ll need to learn about new ways of doing things and what the new expectations are. Only they’ll need to be able to learn remotely and asynchronously. So think recordings instead of meetings. Think online training. Think about micro-training. Think about training that can be linked to assignments or issues for quick consumption. Think about training that’s built right into assignments.
  • Status awareness. How are things? What is the status of all the moving parts through every one of these bullets? Can you see the status in a single picture? Can you drill down? Think dashboards instead of whiteboards. Think about data aggregation that doesn’t require human collating.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to these items. The right solution for you depends on your IT infrastructure, the capabilities of your proposal group, and the skills and reliability of those contributing to your proposals. There are too many tools to count that address these areas individually. But what you need is an integrated solution that is low touch. 

You want a user-friendly learning curve that doesn’t distract people from making their proposal contributions or increase the effort of making their contributions. You want the opposite. You want to come out of this with a proposal process and a tool set that make things easier than ever. You don't want to convert a process designed for shuffling paper with participants who are co-located. You want to reengineer your process for this brave new world. Just keep your eye on your win rate. Tools that make things easier but lower your win rate are tempting but destructive. Look for tools that make it easier to do the things that increase your win rate instead.
 

Schedule a free assessment. I’m passing some of my time in isolation talking to people and assessing how to improve their pursuit and capture processes in the new world we find ourselves in. We can talk about reengineering how you go about winning business and come out of this better than you ever were before. Use the widget below to grab any open spot on my calendar before they’re filled and I’ll do a free assessment with you.

Or use the widget below to get on my calendar for a telephone conversation so we can discuss whether we're a match.

 

 


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Carl Dickson

Carl is the Founder and President of CapturePlanning.com and PropLIBRARY

Carl is an expert at winning in writing. The materials he has published have helped millions of people develop business and write better proposals. Carl is also a prolific author, frequent speaker, trainer, and consultant and can be reached at carl.dickson@captureplanning.com. To find out more about him, you can also connect with Carl on LinkedIn.

Click here to learn how to engage Carl as a consultant.

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