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How to Manage a Winning Proposal?

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Alan Tawse



4 min

Any proposal process will rely on good planning, organization and management to ensure on time delivery of a competitive and professional submission. In larger organizations, it is not uncommon to see several ongoing proposals running in parallel which can impose a heavy workload for a proposal administrator to plan and manage the work of a number of teams of specialists and subject-matter experts that contribute much of the content for any submission.

We have found XaitPorter an invaluable tool that has changed the game for proposal administrators, by providing a single integrated solution with additional controls and capabilities. The following steps give an outline of ways you can manage your ongoing proposal projects using this purpose built cloud based solution.

Project creation

When a proposal request is received it takes only a couple of minutes to create the project, add the planned response documents and choose the appropriate template for the response. If you have the client RFP in Microsoft Word, you can use the outline feature and import the response structure in one command, complete with client questions ready for your writing team to address.

Managing users and teams

When you have a new project, adding users from your user pool is quick and easy with a drag and drop operation to add individuals or teams. You choose the level of access for each user by assigning them a role as project coordinator or regular users to read or to edit content. Everyone added to a project, they are able to access it, see its contents and will find that it shows up in their personal XaitPorter Dashboard.

Workflow Roles

The built-in workflow requires each section of your document to be assigned someone to the following roles:

  • Main Writer and optional Co-writers
  • Reviewer(s)
  • Approver

Setting deadlines

As each section is assigned its Main Writer, Reviewer and Approver, a deadline can be applied either at a Document level for the whole document, or at Section level, or a combination of the two. The deadline can be set in two parts, a Red (final) deadline and a Yellow pre-deadline where you select a number of days before the red one. This is useful to alert those involved to a looming deadline in enough time to be able to complete their task or alert someone if assistance or intervention is required.

Assignment alert

As everyone is assigned tasks and deadlines they are automatically notified by e-mail of their task and deadline, and the information shows up on their personal XaitPorter dashboard in the tasks list area. Both the e-mail and dashboard contain a shortcut to take the individual to the appropriate place in the document to perform their task.

Workflow Status

A small window in each section shows its workflow assignments and current status so that everyone working on the project can see if It's still in Work in Progress, or Ready for Review or Ready for Approval.

The Main Writer will decide when to change the status from Work in Progress by selecting a button to "Send for Review''. That sends an automated e.-mail to the Reviewer and locks the section for the writing team to prevent any changes. As a reviewer you can read and if necessary edit, but if you want changes made by the writer(s), you can use the "Return for Edit" button and complete the remarks box to explain the changes required. This sends an automated email to the Main Writer and returns editing control to the writing team to make the required changes. One done, they can again use the Ready for Review button to send to the Reviewer. The same process applies when the Reviewer is ready to use the Ready for Approval button to send the section onwards for final approval.

Real time monitoring and control

You can monitor progress of your project(s) by reviewing the content directly in the response document. Your XaitPorter dashboard also provides a graphical summary and the whole team can see the document structure tree on the left of the work-screen which uses the section icons to visually indicate progress and responsibilities.

  • Blank - work not started or work in progress
  • One third green - Section ready for review
  • Two thirds green - Section Ready for Approval
  • Fully Green - Section Approved
  • Section Yellow - Yellow deadline has been passed
  • Section Red - Final deadline has been passed
  • Green head and shoulders icon - You have been assigned a task in this section

You can use the reports option to pull a report showing the status of each section and how it is progressing against its deadline, when it was last updated and by whom. Also, your dashboard will contain a "Project Manager Overview" of all your current projects and documents with a progress bar showing the percentage complete and your task list and comments area will display any tasks you need to address or unread comments from colleagues working on your projects.

These controls allow proposal administrators to manage and monitor multiple simultaneous projects by providing everyone with visibility of current content, progress tracking of the workflow while the automated alerts keep users informed of their tasks and deadlines.

If you would like to know more, contact your local Xait Customer Success Manager who will be available to discuss any aspect of how the administrative controls in XaitPorter can enhance your experience of the proposal process.

Related articles: 3 Ways to Produce Better Quality Tender Submissions for Less Cost

Ultimate Proposal Checklist

Author picture

Alan Tawse

Alan has worked in the oil and gas industry since 1974 in various administrative, operational and managerial roles in the UK, Netherlands and Norway. In 1993 he joined Halliburton in Norway as country manager of their new Drilling Systems division. Following a merger with Dresser industries in 1998, he moved to Business Development where he established a BD support team providing centralised expertise for tendering, contract management, market intelligence and various BD software systems. After managing up to 200 tenders and proposals annually for over 20 years, Alan retired at the beginning of 2020 with plans to explore Norway, and spend time with family overseas, He enjoys downhill skiing in the winter, golfing in the summer and following the Formula 1 racing season throughout the year.

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