Two ways to accelerate your Proposal Content Planning:
- Cheat. Skip some of the iterations. The methodology was designed with this possibility in mind.
- Think "checklist" instead of "iterations." Do them all in one pass and then use the "steps" as a checklist to make sure you didn't overlook anything.
Cheating is not only allowed, it's encouraged
If you skip some of the iterations, your plan will be not be as thorough, but will still add value. See the topic in the Knowledgebase titled “Scalability and Schedule Issues” to see how Content Planning was designed to degrade gracefully, and enable you to make the trade-off between thoroughness of planning and maximizing the time available for writing.
Convert the steps into a checklist
You may not need to do the iterations one at a time in sequence. Instead, think of them as a checklist. Once you’ve created the outline and allocated the RFP requirements, you can do all of the iterations at the same time:
- Create the shell
- Add the RFP requirements
- Add win strategies, themes, and evaluation criteria
- Add (customer, opportunity, and competitive) intelligence
- Add your solution and references
- Add graphics and tables
- Add assumptions, limits, and issues
- Add boilerplate
Heading by heading you can think through and add the instructions all at once. The second approach works best on small proposals. When the page count is small, you don’t need separate passes for each topic. When the page count is large, doing it in separate passes help you stay focused and create commonality across proposal sections.
If you spend about 15 minutes a page doing the planning, then for a 25-page proposal you can have a plan done in a day. At the end of the day you review it to ensure that you’ve accounted for everything that needs to go into the proposal and that it reflects what it will take to win.
Having the content plan ensures that the writers know what is expected of them, and gives you a baseline that will accelerate the review of the draft proposal.