August 2013: "Proposalizing" CDRLs In Two-Step Acquisitions
August 31, 2013
None of us would disagree about the importance of integrated, high-quality documents as a prerequisite to a winning proposal. Not always, however, are documents so carefully crafted during program execution because they are "just" engineering artifacts capturing the design--not as important as the eventual proposal deliverable....right ?
Nope. In a typical two-step competition--as you all are likely to have experienced--phase 1 concludes with a down-select at or immediately following PDR. What sometimes is not recognized is that the sets of CDRLs that are delivered prior to SRR, SDR and PDR have far more capacity of showcasing your winning solution features/ benefits and engineering expertise....or not...than fifty pages or so of a technical volume delivered in the phase 2 proposal. In a Past Performance volume, for example, poor quality and non-integrated engineering products (suggesting lack of technical competence) are as difficult to explain away as poor program execution (suggesting lack of program management competence)...especially for your premier past performance program.
To assure high quality, integrated, on-time CDRL deliverables which concurrently showcase--and pre-sell--our winning solution features/ benefits, we simply borrow from our time-proven innovative proposal management processes. This method is also a great way to get the phase 2 proposal manager fully involved in the campaign at least partly on phase 1 program direct dollars. Specifically, to "proposalize" your CDRLs:
assign a CDRL "czar" who has global responsibility for all deliverable documents (analogy: the proposal manager)
do top-down design/integration of ALL documents together, don't piecemeal the overall storyline (analogy: the proposal architecture)
where appropriate, highlight the features and customer benefits of your winning solution--aligned to Section M criteria if known (analogy: the strengths)
hold frequent--or daily--CDRL integration stand-ups with document owners and content contributors (analogy: volume leads and writers)
use common terms, nomenclature throughout (analogy: the Use/ Don't Use list/ the Wall of Truth)
apply common branding, styles, figures, color schema, etc. (analogy: the style guide)
hold frequent informal peer reviews to maintain integration of storyline among the documents (analogy: physical or virtual "wall walks")
convene formal reviews at appropriate maturity checkpoints to reduce/ eliminate off-track adventures (analogy: plan/ outline, storyboard, Pink Team and Red Team reviews)
Executed successfully, much of the work completed during phase 1 then prepares the competitive "battlefield" through pre-sell, and directly leverages into the phase 2 proposal documents. That is how "proposalizing" the CDRLs increases Pwin, reduces proposal development risk, and saves precious proposal time and pursuit dollar resources.