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Stop Wasting Precious Proposal Time! Chris Simmons, Rainmakerz Consulting LLC APMP Georgia Chattahoochee Chapter September 29, 2010
Copyright © 2010, Rainmakerz Consulting, LLC 2 The Time Management Challenge Basic Needs Eating, Sleeping, Exercise, Relaxing Significant Others Adrienne, Spencer, Shea, Family, Friends Work Proposals Other billable Non-Billable APMP Other Church, PTA, Chores, Hobbies 8,760 hrs. Many of us spend too much time at work leaving precious little time for other (more important) things.
Copyright © 2010, Rainmakerz Consulting, LLC 3 The Time Management Solution Being more productive at work means more personal time for you. Basic Needs Eating, Sleeping, Exercise, Relaxing Significant Others Adrienne, Spencer, Shea, Family, Friends Work Proposals Other billable Non-Billable APMP Other Church, PTA, Chores, Hobbies 8,760 hrs.
Copyright © 2010, Rainmakerz Consulting, LLC 4 Time Management Challenges… The most frequently mentioned proposal development issues are related to time management. (Source: 24Hour Company Issues, April, 2008) ….for Proposal Professionals ‘Issues’ Survey Not enough time to respond No respect for proposal schedule deadlines Limited resources that increase time pressures The biggest challenge I face is time! 12 other time related issues
Copyright © 2010, Rainmakerz Consulting, LLC 5 The History of Time Management Time management started more than 6,000 years ago and continues to increase in popularity and diversity. Egyptian-built obelisks Middle East (3500 BC) Egyptian sundial (1500 BC) Greek/Roman water clocks (100 BC) Spring powered and pendulum clocks (1600 AD) Quartz (digital) watches (1920) Cesium atomic clock NIST (1967)
Copyright © 2010, Rainmakerz Consulting, LLC 6 Proposal Management Challenges Many proposals are doomed for failure even before they begin, largely because there isn’t enough time. APMP Conference RFP issued Proposal kickoff Proposal due date
Copyright © 2010, Rainmakerz Consulting, LLC 7 7 Time Management Reco’s and Tips The seven high impact recommendations and tips will help you get more out of your proposal in less time. Deadly Sins Days in a week Habits of highly effective people Lucky Number ‘7’
Copyright © 2010, Rainmakerz Consulting, LLC 8 1. Set Ground Rules and PLAN Thorough advanced planning is one of the cornerstones of managing time efficiently and effectively. Capture Plan Proposal Plan Opportunity overview Customer analysis Competitor analysis Critical success factors Win strategy High-level solution(s) Proposal team organization High-Level outline Methodology Schedule Processes, tools. Templates Lessons learned
Copyright © 2010, Rainmakerz Consulting, LLC 9 Priorities Constraints RFP Methodologies ShipleyAssociates SM&A CapturePlanning.com LORE Story- boards Pink Gold 15-day Schedule Use a Proposal Development Methodology Use the appropriate methodology and take proposal priorities and constraints into account.
Copyright © 2010, Rainmakerz Consulting, LLC 10 Secure Appropriate Resources Verify the right number of resources with the right skills. 50 page target All new narrative (industry average = 5 pages/day) 5 days to complete 1 writer Technical Section: 1.Base section on boilerplate (not recommended) 2.Work writer 16+ hour days (not recommended) 3.Request another full-time writer Options:
Copyright © 2010, Rainmakerz Consulting, LLC 11 Pick the Right Time and Start Meetings on Time…Every Time Starting meetings on time shows you mean business and value everyone’s time.
Copyright © 2010, Rainmakerz Consulting, LLC 12 2. Organize the Work into Small, Manageable Steps Let’s… …understand the RFP …determine solution(s) …develop an outline …storyboard/module plan Let’s… …start writing and review in a week Don’t let your proposal team go off for too long on a single task.
Copyright © 2010, Rainmakerz Consulting, LLC 13 Don’t plan to work weekends, but be prepared if it becomes absolutely necessary. Avoid Scheduling Work on Weekends…at least initially
Copyright © 2010, Rainmakerz Consulting, LLC 14 Mutually Agree on Deadlines Work with your team to close the gap between the perfect world and a less than perfect reality. When can it be done? When will it be done! Best case scenario No constraints Optimum efficiency Constraints Limitations Miscommunication Inherent inefficiencies Murphy’s Law
Copyright © 2010, Rainmakerz Consulting, LLC 15 Set Deadline Windows and Avoid the COB Syndrome Deadline windows help to bridge the gap between the perfect world and the practical realities of the real world. Storyboard deadline window
Copyright © 2010, Rainmakerz Consulting, LLC 16 Set Specific Deadline Times (within the windows) Set specific deadline times that strike a balance between writer needs and reviewer demands. Storyboard deadline window “Your section is due on June 18th at 11:00am in the SharePoint SB folder with all checklist items complete.” Writer’s Checklist File name Sections complete Spell check Passive voice (<5%) Sentence length Forbidden words +/- 10% pages
Copyright © 2010, Rainmakerz Consulting, LLC 17 3. Focus on Status and Next Steps Keep the team accountable with daily status summaries and action item lists with owners and due dates. “Almost done” “Done but I haven’t turned it in” “95% completed” “Waiting on input from…” “Something came up”
Copyright © 2010, Rainmakerz Consulting, LLC 18 Use a Section Status Summary Review a simple color-coded status summary during daily stand-ups to identify proposal bandits. For Murder: Vicky Volume (Section 1)
Copyright © 2010, Rainmakerz Consulting, LLC 19 Schedule Time-Outs Schedule time-outs to confirm understanding, to reset expectations, and reach a mutual commitment to action. WHEN? Missed deadlines Incomplete work Poor quality Low output WHY? Discuss circumstances Confirm understanding Reset expectations Commit to action
Copyright © 2010, Rainmakerz Consulting, LLC 20 4. Keep Interactions Short and Action- Oriented Meetings, conversations, and email messages can be big time wasters if not managed closely. ? 12 6 39 Meetings Conversations Email Messages
Copyright © 2010, Rainmakerz Consulting, LLC 21 Meetings Always distribute an agenda with time allocations and manage the meeting to finish early. Agenda Item-1 (12:05) Item-2 (12:15) oItem-3 (12:30) oItem-4 (12:45) oItem-5 (1:15) How long is this meeting going to go? I’m going to be late for golf!
Copyright © 2010, Rainmakerz Consulting, LLC 22 Conversations Avoid detailed personal conversations on project time. DO’s Get to know co-workers Develop rapport Be cordial Have fun Keep it short Talk about it at lunch DONT’S Discuss detailed personal issues/problems Be disruptive to others 10+ minute personal conversations
Copyright © 2010, Rainmakerz Consulting, LLC 23 Never send a chain-mail, joke mail, or other non-work related message to your team. E-Mail Messages
Copyright © 2010, Rainmakerz Consulting, LLC 24 5. Don’t Hesitate to Escalate A big part of having enough proposal time is making sure the right resources are in place to do the job. “Houston, we’ve got a problem.” (Jim Lovell, Apollo 13, April 14, 1970) The Team We Need?The Team We Have!
Copyright © 2010, Rainmakerz Consulting, LLC 25 Clearly Define Roles and Responsibilities Make sure the proposal organization is clearly defined and effectively communicated. Ed ExecutiveCarl Capture Matt Manager Carol Coordinator Vicki Volume Lead Kurt Cost Walter Writer
Copyright © 2010, Rainmakerz Consulting, LLC 26 Develop and communicate viable options with resource alternatives or reset expectations if necessary. Proposal A: ‘Must Win’ Detailed plans and processes Additional resources Reassignments Training Additional equipment Specialization SME/Operational support Graphics rich Themes and discriminators Provide Management with Realistic Options and Trade-offs Proposal B: ‘Make Due’ No plans Limited resources Static organization Do your best….. Lack of experience/skills Generalists Boilerplate Unsubstantiated claims and marketing fluff
Copyright © 2010, Rainmakerz Consulting, LLC 27 6. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate One of the most common proposal team problems is the inability to communicate even basic ideas. “Do as much as you can by Wednesday morning.” “It’s due tomorrow (Tuesday) at 10am.” “It’s due tomorrow around 10 (pm?).” “I think it’s due by COB.”
Copyright © 2010, Rainmakerz Consulting, LLC 28 You Hear What You Want to Hear!
Copyright © 2010, Rainmakerz Consulting, LLC 29 In general, return messages using the same communication channel. Use the Right Communication Channel Voicemail Message Telephone Call? Email? Face-to- face? Ignore? Instant Message? Telephone Call
Copyright © 2010, Rainmakerz Consulting, LLC 30 Walk the Halls Management (by walking around) can make communication more efficient and effective. How is it going?
Copyright © 2010, Rainmakerz Consulting, LLC 31 7. Make it Better the Next Time Make lessons learned a standard part of your proposal development process. Low High EFFECTIVENESS: Securing the win EFFICIENCY: Getting it in Ad hoc processes Not enough resources Lack of discipline Internal focus Too much boilerplate Working more/winning less Standard processes ‘Right’ people, tools and templates Disciplined approach Customer focus A lot less boilerplate Working less/winning more
Copyright © 2010, Rainmakerz Consulting, LLC 32 Solicit feedback from a wide variety of proposal team members and put it in writing. Get Feedback in Writing Feedback Form Score Summary Very Satisfied (5.0) Mostly Satisfied (4.0) Satisfied (3.0) Partially Dissatisfied (2.0) Very Dissatisfied (1.0) Delivery Process Project Management Final Deliverable People/ Team
Copyright © 2010, Rainmakerz Consulting, LLC 33 Develop recommendations for improvement and discuss with management to develop an action plan. Develop Action-Oriented Recommendations Identify strengths and improvement areas Develop action- oriented recommendations Deliver to appropriate management Suggest a time to discuss Level of resources Experience/Skills mix Roles/Responsibilities Communication BD/Capture Proposal Management Proposal Development Proposal Production Technology Process Communication Document Management Version Control Knowledge Management Communication People Process Technology
Copyright © 2010, Rainmakerz Consulting, LLC 34 What TM Gurus and Wannabees Say Make a “To Do’ list every day Use spare minutes wisely It’s OK to say “No” Review your notes every day Get a good night’s sleep Become a taskmaster Don’t waste time agonizing Keep things in perspective Use technology wisely Prioritize ruthlessly Time management gurus and wannabees have similar time management concepts and recommendations.
Copyright © 2010, Rainmakerz Consulting, LLC 35 What if…Time is Really Running Out? Time is all you have. And you may find one day that you have less than you think. ---Randy Pauch (www.thelastlecture.com) Time must be explicitly managed You can change your plan, but only if you have one Are you spending your time on the right things? Develop a good filing system Rethink the telephone Delegate Take a timeout
Copyright © 2010, Rainmakerz Consulting, LLC 36 Time IS on Your Side…YES IT IS! Shea (5) and Spencer (8) Adrienne
Copyright © 2010, Rainmakerz Consulting, LLC 37 References 1.About.com, 11 Time Management Tips, Susan Ward 2.About.com, Determining Your Personal Return on Investment, Susan Ward 3.CollegeBoard.com, Time Management Tips for High School Students 4.Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress Free Productivity, David Allen, Penguin Books, 2001 5.Journal of the Association of Proposal Management Professionals, The Big Proposal Management Study of 2009, Spring/Summer 2009 6.Linked-In (www.linkedin.com) APMP Group Discussionwww.linkedin.com 7.New York Times, Meetings are a Matter of Precious Time, Reid Hastie, January 17, 2009 8.ShipleyAssociates Proposal Guide for Business and Technical Professionals (Winning Business), Third Edition 9.TFCN (www.federalcontractor.us) Program/Project Management; Business Development Group Discussionswww.federalcontractor.us 10.The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Simon & Schuster, 1989 11.The CapturePlanning.com MustWin Process Workbook, 2008 Edition 12.The Last Lecture, Randy Pausch, Hyperion, 2008
Copyright © 2010, Rainmakerz Consulting, LLC 38 Chris Simmons Principal Rainmakerz Consulting LLC www.rainmakerz.biz 202-255-2355
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