Some Thoughts from a Week or so of Being “Proposal B*tch”

Posted April 15th, 2008 by

I spent the last couple of weeks working on a proposal. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Hell, I don’t even know if the thing will even get read this year.

Anyway, on to the rants, that’s why you’re all here anyway. =)

#1 Don’t sell methodology. As a customer receiving a proposal, what I think when I get your methodology is that you don’t know my pain points enough to know how you can help me, so you give me a generic, templated proposal. As a contractor making the proposal, when I see that our proposal doesn’t have any real content, I wonder if we know the customer enough to actually pitch and win a deal.

#2 Small proposals are better as long as they’re relevant and answer what the RFP calls for. Don’t be afraid to chop out boilerplate-esque sections of the proposal.

#3 The Government wants way too much stuff in a proposal. It makes life refreshing and tasty when you cycle yourself back out into the private sector.

#4 Rybolov’s simple proposal format, blatantly lifted from the military:

  • Situation and Mission: what problem does the Client have? Demonstrate that you understand what they’re asking for.
  • Execution: This is what we’re trying to make the solution.  More here is better as long as it avoids being “fluffy”.
  • Service and Support: Assumptions, what we need to do the job.
  • Command and Control: What our management plan is, who our people are, and what our qualifications are.

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