Yael Cohen, PMP, is a freelance project
manager in Denver, Colorado, USA.
Clearly, the way your organization handles proposals has a big impact on the projects themselves.
That makes it crucial for project managers to pay
attention to the proposal process, whether they
have a formal role in it or not.
Here are three ways organizations and project
managers can work together to create strong proposals—and successfully deliver on them.
1. Involve a project manager from the outset.
A project manager can provide early technical
expertise and often a reality check while the team
is still crafting a proposal. After all, a proposal
ultimately becomes the contract between the
organization and client. When I’ve been involved
in a proposal effort, either as proposal manager
or contributor, I was able to be a more successful
project manager during execution. If it’s not possible for a project manager to be part of the proposal development, try to have someone else be
involved in both proposal and delivery to bridge
PROJECT MANAGEMENT IN ACTION
any gaps and create a stronger relationship with
2. Weave a cohesive, authentic story. Having
worked as a proposal evaluator, I know that evaluators can read right through weak proposals. I
have seen proposals where client names are incorrect—telling me that the proposal was merely copied and pasted from a previous one. Even worse
are proposals that don’t address all the requirements. Project managers involved in proposals can
prevent this from happening. Cost element aside,
the proposal winner is usually the one that provides a compelling start-to-finish account addressing all of the requirements.
3. Speak with one voice. Organizations that don’t
have the right requirements, skills or experience
often partner with outside organizations to make a
proposal. However, all parts of this combined team
need to be on the same page to avoid confusing
the client, both during proposal writing and project
delivery. If the project manager can be involved,
he or she can help ensure the client sees a united
front—one entity that promises to help the client
achieve its mission, rather than a disjointed team of
people from different organizations.
Being involved in the proposal process requires
project managers to invest time upfront, but this
early investment can result in a smoother proj-
ect in the long run. Organizations can’t just be
focused on winning the work; they also have to
successfully deliver what was committed to in the
proposal. As a project manager, your reputation
will precede you if you can bridge both worlds. PM
The way your organization handles
proposals has a big impact on the
projects themselves. That makes it
crucial for project managers to pay
attention to the proposal process.
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