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Roles people play in developing a proposal
Proposals responding to Federal Government RFPs can easily have 20-30 people working on them. It would be rare to do one with less than a half-dozen people involved. The following list shows why there are so many and what do they all do, to help you develop your proposal plan. This list is meant to be a typical break down --- not all companies or proposals will include all of the positions below, and some may add others.
Capture Manager. Has overall accountability for the new business development effort. This includes assuring proper corporate support is available when needed. Responds to the lead corporate executive with P&L accountability. Coordinates the efforts of business development, engineering, finance, contracts, program management, and proposal management specialists. The Capture Manager is in charge of the core team and contributes to the development of the proposal plan.
Proposal Manager. Has operational control over the proposal plan. Directs Volume Leads, Section Managers, Book bosses, Coordinators, and Production Managers. Implements proposal processes and planning. Sets and manages proposal schedules, plans, deadlines, and progress monitoring. Develops the proposal outline and compliance matrix. Obtains (or advises appropriate managers regarding the need for) proposal staffing and other resources. Oversees the coordination of all proposal activities. Unless specifically requested, the Proposal Manager typically has only coordination involvement in the Cost/Price Business Proposal.
Proposal Coordinator. Responsible for administrating proposal processes, providing configuration management, and preparing proposal related reports. Also responsible for administrating proposal related resources. Assists the Proposal Manager in tracking status and ensuring that deadlines are met. The Proposal Coordinator is a management position and not a clerical position. It requires significant understanding of computer applications and proposal processes.
Volume Managers, Section Managers, or Book Bosses. Proposals are typically broken down into volumes or sections, each requiring someone to oversee the development of that portion of the proposal. At the direction of the Proposal Manager, oversees the activities of the individual authors who write the proposal. May or may not take part in writing. Responsible for meeting scheduled deadlines, conforming to the proposal outline and compliance matrix, and inclusion of themes/discriminators, illustrations, and other material as directed. Responsible for implementing proposal processes and formats. Coordinates with others as required to ensure that proposal content is satisfactorily and consistently prepared. Usually participates in Review Team debriefs in order to incorporate feedback into their sections of the proposal. A half-dozen or more Section Managers would not be unusually for a typical proposal.
Subject Matter Expert. Provides specialized expertise to support the development of the technical approach and related writing. May separately serve as a Review Team Member or as a section author.
Author. Writes text and specifies illustrations for the proposal. Responsible for incorporating proposal strategies, themes/discriminators, technical/management features and benefits, and other material into the sections. Participation usually begins during storyboarding and continues through red team or final draft when the core team takes over. Edits text in compliance with the Proposal Manager or Section Leads guidance. Some authors may specialize in writing resumes or project summaries. A half-dozen to a dozen authors would not be unusual.
Review Team Leader. Directs the efforts of the Review Team Members and participates in scheduled proposal reviews. While not involved in content development, the review team leader should be identified early in the process and is typically a senior or executive manager. The review team leader establishes the criteria and assignments for each of the reviews, works with the Capture Manager to leverage the review processes to validate approaches and fulfillment, collects and structures Review Team Member comments, and leads the review debriefing.
Review Team Member. Review Team Members are assigned specific sections of the proposal to review and are provided direction by the Review Team Lead. Review Team Members are typically asked to review for compliance, clarity of presentation, score with regards to the evaluation criteria, adherence to proposal strategies, use of themes/discriminators, use of illustrations, and technical/management approach merit. Members will document deficiencies, items requiring clarification, and evaluation score according to the direction of the Review Team Lead, and will contribute to and attend debriefings as required. Review Team Members are generally drawn from senior staff who have not participated in the development of the proposal. They should be diligent and constructive. Anywhere from two to a dozen review team members would not be unusual.
Cost Strategist. Ensures that the cost volume is compliant, competitive, and compatible with the proposal. Develops the cost strategy and layout of the cost/business volume. Establishes the guidelines for the Basis of Estimates and Bill of Materials if required. Oversees the development of or writes any text required for the cost/business volume.
Contracts Specialist. Serves in an advisory role to the Capture Manager and Proposal Manager. Reviews the RFP for contractual matters, participates in strategy development to ensure that it is compliant with RFP clauses, and reviews the proposal for compliance. The Contracts Specialist is generally responsible for preparing required forms, clauses, representations, and certifications (typically found in Section K). These are typically included in the cost/pricing volume.
Production Specialist. Supervises production staff, including desktop publishing, layout, graphics, word processing, and editors. Responsible for preparing hard and soft copy from the author’s submissions and maintaining configuration management during the effort. Works with the Proposal Coordinator and the Proposal Manager to ensure deadlines are met and that the final output is compliant with the RFP and proposal plan.
Graphic Artist. Prepares illustrations for the proposal. Responsible for meeting deadlines, compliance with RFP formatting instructions, achieving visual consistency, and maintaining configuration management. May work from hand-drawn drafts or take electronic drafts.
Desktop Publishing/Layout Specialist. Develops formats and typographic styles that comply with the RFP and proposal plan. Responsible for integrating text and graphics into the finished copy, and for maintaining configuration management. May also perform limited word processing and illustration. Prepares both hard and soft copies as required.
Editor. Responsible for validating style, consistency, grammar, and syntax of the final document. Re-writes as needed to clarify and simplify text. Recommends additional graphics or modifications to existing graphics. May play a role in reducing the text to meet page limitations.
By Carl Dickson, Founder of CapturePlanning.com
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