12 Ways to mitigate proposal kick-off planning risks

At the 2011 APMP International Conference, Lohfeld Consulting Group’s Managing Director Brenda Crist presented an informative session on mitigating proposal risks. Here are Brenda’s identified Proposal Kick-off Planning Risks and recommended Mitigation Strategies:

  1. Insufficient time to prepare for the Kick-off Meeting. Allow approximately 10% of proposal preparation time to conduct planning in preparation for the kick-off meeting. Ensure attendees receive the schedule and writers packages, draft executive summary, and communications/collaboration instructions.
  2. Little or no advance warning of the Kick-off Meeting resulting in limited participation. Before RFP release, identify as many kick-off meeting participants as possible. Keep them informed of the potential kick-off date. Send an email requesting their attendance at the kick-off meeting immediately after RFP release.
  3. Right participants are not invited. Consider holding a second meeting for participants who were unable to attend.
  4. Attendees are not prepared to participate. Provide just-in-time training to get them up-to-speed during the meeting. At the end of the kick-off meeting, everyone should clearly understand their roles and responsibilities.
  5. Little or no executive support for the bid. Determine why the executives are unable or unwilling to support the kick-off meeting. If necessary, consider scheduling a new bid/no bid meeting.
  6. Incorrect compliance matrix or requirements checklist. Have more than one person prepare the compliance matrix or requirements checklist. Ensure you follow the client’s instructions for preparing the compliance matrix or requirements checklist.
  7. Incomplete writing package or schedule provided at the Kick-Off Meeting. Indicate the writing packages are not complete during the Kick-off Meeting. Let writers known when they will receive the completed packages, and complete the packages as quickly as possible.
  8. No method of ongoing communications is defined or the method is incompatible with the team’s preferred methods of communication. Initiate ongoing standup meetings for managing the proposal. Select time and method of communication that is most convenient to participants.
  9. Teaming partners are not included in the planning or kick-off process. Include trusted partners in the planning process – their knowledge can benefit the planning process and they may be able to help prepare writers package materials.
  10. Risk Register is not used. Record risks and escalate them to the right source so they are quickly mitigated, avoided, deferred, or ignored.
  11. Insufficient time for data calls. If you want high-quality information for your proposal, allow sufficient time for data calls. Start the process during the Pursuit Phase and ask for final information at the kick-off meeting.
  12. No strategy for asking questions about the solicitation. Your company should not be afraid to ask questions about the instructions, evaluation criteria, or terms and conditions. Determine how questions can affect your competitive advantage before you ask them.


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Lohfeld Consulting