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An Introduction to Proposal Quality Validation

The quality of every proposal should be explicitly validated. This means that you should confirm that the key aspects of the proposal are what the company wants them to be. It is nearly impossible to do this in one sitting with everything considered all at once. Proposal Quality Validation explicitly identifies what should be validated, allows for flexibility in how individual items get validated, and provides a mechanism to ensure that the items chosen and methods for validation are sufficient to achieve the quality desired.
 
Proposal Quality Validation ensures that your company confirms that key aspects of your proposal are what the company wants them to be prior to submission. It is an approach that confirms that what you have in the proposal meets your needs and expectations. It avoids disasters that result from teams that work in isolation, creating a proposal that is not what the company wants to submit and is only discovered too late to do anything about it. 
 
In developing your proposal, you will:
  • Make decisions
  • Invent approaches
  • Incorporate information
  • Address requirements
  • Deliver a message
  • Seek a superior score
How do you know if you’ve made the right decisions or have the right approaches? Most importantly for a proposal, how do you know if you have done what you need to in order to win?
 
Each decision and approach, the thoroughness of the information you have incorporated, your compliance with and fulfillment of the requirements, your message, and your score should all be validated. 
 
Validating an item means reviewing it to confirm that it meets your needs and expectations. Proposal Quality Validation does not necessarily ensure that everything in your proposal is “right” or guarantee that the proposal will win. Only the customer can do that. And it is impossible to predict, with certainty, what the customer will do. 
 
What Proposal Quality Validation does is ensure that specific elements of the proposal are considered by someone other than the original author to ensure that the document reflects what your company wants to submit. It does this before the fact, by validating plans, as well as after the fact, by validating drafts against the plans.
 
It is different from other methods of proposal review:
  • It is organized around what you need to validate instead of being organized around milestones. As a result, it achieves better traceability and accountability.
  • It accommodates validation of any type giving you the flexibility to adapt to the needs of the opportunity and your organization.
  • It provides a mechanism for ensuring that the planned amount and methods of validation are sufficient to meet the needs of the proposal and your organization.
  • It provides a method for documenting your validation plan to properly set expectations, while streamlining the process to keep it from becoming burdensome.
  • It inherently provides more guidance to participants, helping to ensure that reviews are focused and effective.
Adding Value Instead of Getting in the Way
 
The biggest reason that people avoid complying with proposal processes is that they require upfront effort for an indirect payoff. Explicit Proposal Quality Validation not only brings focus to reviews; it also more closely links the benefits with the effort. Proposal Quality Validation achieves cooperation by adding value instead of getting in the way.

 

Proposal Quality Validation adds value to the proposal process
Reduces indecision
Providing specific opportunities to validate decisions helps teams avoid the paralysis of not being able to make a decision. It also helps avoid repetitive reconsiderations and vacillation by providing a specific point in time to reconsider and then move forward.
Improves efficiency
By increasing the reliability of decisions and content, proposal teams experience less backtracking.
Offers improved opportunities for oversight and correction
By specifically identifying attributes to be confirmed, it is far more difficult for issues to “hide in plain sight.” Furthermore, it is easier to coordinate oversight when specific opportunities and defined points of focus are provided.
Provides opportunities to improve
General requests for improvement will not achieve reliable results. However, the additional focus that explicit validation provides also delivers opportunities to consider how to improve specific aspects of the proposal.
Provides standards to measure the content of the proposal against
The process of breaking down what it takes to have a valid proposal into specific items also provides you with a set of standards for what constitutes a valid proposal. 
Defines specific desired outcomes that the process can work towards
Because the process provides a set of desired outcomes to be achieved in order to arrive at a valid proposal, it makes it clearer for the team to work towards achieving it.

 

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By Carl Dickson,
Founder of CapturePlanning.com and PropLIBRARY



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