July 2013: Round-Robin Reviews Increase Proposal Development Efficiency
July 31, 2013
Proposal reviews--both formal and informal--are a familiar and time-tested means for accomplishing, among other things:
driving schedule to maturity points within the development process;
incorporating viewpoints of others not in the 'hot tub', by playing the part of the evaluator;
rapid improvement in the proposal product (much like 'boiler room' process discussed in the October 2012 newsletter); and
checkpoints for e.g. compliance, themes, customer musts incorporation.
However, formal reviews tend to be expensive (because of the experienced senior personnel engaged) and not necessarily time efficient. Following the in-brief, reviewers (typically assigned multiple documents) begin and end as they wish within the assigned review period. This method yields:
concurrent (i.e. "shotgun") overlapping/ duplicate review and comment of the same material by multiple reviewers, followed by
post-review distillation/ integration of comments/ markups from multiple sources prior to incorporation into the proposal product.
The "round-robin" approach--a minor variation on the traditional "shotgun" review--addresses the two significant negative aspects stated above. Rather than multiple reviewers starting on the same documents at the same time, we stagger the start times for documents and reviewers such that each document is serially reviewed, and each subsequent reviewer's comments build upon prior reviewers' markups. That is, Reviewer 1 (assigned documents 'A' and 'B') begins with document 'A' while Reviewer 2 (also assigned documents 'A' and 'B') begins with document 'B'. Coordinating appropriate hand-off points between them, each finishes review of both documents within the prescribed period as before. Using standard features of Microsoft Word track changes, each reviewer's markups and comments are captured in the same way, but are now contained within a single document.
Significant advantages and efficiencies of the "round-robin" reviews approach include:
subsequent reviewers do not spend time duplicating the comments of prior reviewers, as they are already captured;
writers do not have to sort through and integrate as many (duplicate) comments in multiple marked-up documents; and
because each subsequent review builds on its predecessor, we achieve multiple “turns” on the product during the same review period.