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Assessing the impact of the organizational layer on your process

Topics to address in your proposal process documentation

Within the MustWin Process Architecture we divide the organizational layer into the following areas: Executive, Approaches, and Resources. The organizational layer forms a context that impacts your ability to win bids. But it can’t necessarily be accounted for as inputs to the process. It’s not part of the process flow, but it impacts every step of the process flow. It is roughly analogous to style in writing, only it’s the management style of the environment your process operates in. 

Your win rate depends on adapting your process to this environment. Instead of steps and procedures, this will often take the form of communication and guidance to help stakeholders address these considerations. A simple checklist or table may be all it takes. However, failing to anticipate these considerations will likely mean win rate reducing delays, ad hoc decisions, and unnecessary conflict made against your proposal deadline.

Executive: Decisions, oversight, and authority

How do these impact the process and stakeholders? Does any existing process account for them?

  • Decisions and approvals. Where are decisions required in the process? Who may make which decisions? Who participates? Under what circumstances? Are there any circumstances in which decision making is not communicating, managing, and monitoring expectations? Expectations exist in all directions. What should people expect from their stakeholders? What do the stakeholders expect? How are expectations communicated and managed? What happens when expectations aren’t met? Every step in every process should address expectation management.
  • Strategic planning, positioning, and messaging. How are the organization's strategies articulated and how does this impact the pursuit and proposal processes?
  • Defining quality standards. Is proposal quality defined? What is sufficient regarding quality? How is quality validated? How to assess the quality of completion should be built into every goal and every step of the process. 
  • Priority setting. What priorities impact processes and stakeholders? How should competing priorities be resolved?
  • Conflict resolution. Can conflicts in resources, approach, policy, goals, or procedures be anticipated? 
  • Culture. What values, both declared and undeclared, impact the process and stakeholders? Is the organization risk averse or risk tolerant? Is quality really the priority people think it is? Is the organization mission focused? How will the organization’s culture impact the process and stakeholders, and how can the process impact the organization’s culture? 

Approaches: Processes and procedures that cross boundaries, set organizational standards, or are strategic in nature

How do these impact the process and stakeholders? Does any existing process account for them?

  • Bid/no bid decisions. Which pursuits will be bid, which will be canceled, and why?
  • Insource vs outsource. Does the organization have a preference? How does that impact staffing the pursuit?
  • Centralization vs decentralization. Where are decisions made? Where are resources located? 
  • Consistent and planned vs reactive and ad hoc. Does the organization do things carefully, predictably, or chaotically? Are processes defined or made up as people go along?
  • Authoritarian vs collaborative. Are things done by individual assignment, decision, and approval, or are they done by groups and consensus? 
  • Structure, hierarchy, escalation, delegation. How the organization is structured is different from how it makes decisions. However, escalations and delegations are ways of mapping decision making to the organizational structure. They define an approach to decision making that is often absent but is incredibly helpful for resolving issues against a deadline.
  • Remote vs collocation. Does the organization have preferences regarding how or when work is performed remotely vs being performed with staff collocated?

Resources: Ensuring that the organization has the people, facilities, and equipment needed to function

How do these impact the process and stakeholders? Does any existing process account for them?

  • Oversight of logistics. Think of the resources requirements for winning the pursuit as a supply chain. How will the organization identify and supply the resources required? What stakeholders will be involved and what will they be required to do? What will happen as resource requirements change during the pursuit?
  • Sourcing and strategic relationships. Once you know what resources you need, where will you find them? How will you source them? This often depends on strategic relationships, both inside and outside an organization.  
  • Budgets and finance. All resources have costs, although they may be accounted for in different ways. Within your organization, how are resource budgets defined and managed? This will impact the procedures you need to follow, not only to launch a pursuit, but also to make changes during a pursuit. 
  • Procedures for allocating resources. Once resources are identified and accounted for, they have to be assigned. But nearly all pursuits require support outside of the organization that controls the pursuit. The procedures required to allocate the resources that have been authorized impact your ability to staff and manage the pursuit.
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