Proposal Content Planning can be implemented with different management models. Should the content plan be given to writers or should the writers participate in creating the content plan? This will vary according to your corporate culture and the complexity of your offering. Should all stakeholders be involved? Is your company centralized or decentralized? How are decisions made at your company? What is the balance between consensus and authority? Content planning can be done with each of these approaches to management.
Implementing Proposal Content Planning requires you to determine what management model is the best fit for your organization. You need to address not only who will participate, but who will decide, and what approaches will be used to gather the required information and review the content plan prior to using it to write the proposal.
The key questions you should ask to develop your management model for content planning are:
- Who will write the instructions?
- Who will contribute information?
- Who will review the content plan?
If the management model is up to you, consider:
- Is your goal to deliver a plan that’s ready for writers to implement, or is it to involve people with the necessary subject matter expertise and authority to figure out and discover what should go into the proposal and how it should be presented?
- Do you have the information you need to do it centrally?
- Do the stakeholders have the knowledge and skills to contribute?
- Who makes decisions regarding the approaches to be proposed and how it will be presented?
There are often multiple groups involved, such as specialists in sales, technical, executive, and proposals. Stakeholders can participate in content planning in multiple ways. They can participate directly by creating or editing the instructions. Or they can be interviewed by someone else who will create the instructions.
Once you have a management model and are clear about your goals, the next step is to consider what form will the instructions should take. The way you write your instructions can direct, inform, teach, or ask. They can facilitate collaboration regarding what to write or specifically direct what to write. The content planning methodology enables you to guide participants through what they need to do to figure out what should be written and how. How much and what kind of guidance do they need? How should you use content plans to improve the quality of your proposals?
Once you have chosen your management model and begun creating your content plan, remember that part of the methodology involves creating the quality criteria that will be used for Proposal Quality Validation. Can you do this on your own? How will reviewers be introduced to the quality criteria and be taught how to perform a review using them? Who will review the content plan itself to ensure it contains the right quality criteria and instructions?
Proposal Content Planning also provides the potential to implement interesting metrics and gain insight into progress and success drivers across multiple proposals. Who should be involved in inserting the instructions needed, tracking the metrics, performing analytics based on them, and using the results to provide feedback and continuous improvement? At this level, Proposal Content Planning becomes about more than just the current proposal and gives you a tool for objective organizational improvement. If you aspire to operate at this level, the management model you use to implement Proposal Content Planning should reflect this.