In Government Proposals, experienced Proposal Managers develop a Proposal Plan to guide them through the proposal effort.
A Proposal Plan is a comprehensive set of documents, instructions, processes, tools, and templates that aids in the proposal development process. The Plan addresses and guides proposal activities at six major points in the proposal process: 1) Understanding the Requirements; 2) RFP Analysis; 3) Win Strategy; 4) Proposal Logistics; 5) Proposal Writing; and 6) Color Team Reviews. This is the sixth in a series of articles that discusses Part 6 of the planning process, Reviews.
Part 6 : Color Team Reviews
Color Team Reviews involves the formal reviews typically conducted during the proposal process and the expected outcomes of each review. The Proposal Plan documents the reviews to be conducted, identifies the reviewers, establishes the goals for each review, and describes the process for conducting the review (electronic or hardcopy).
The Proposal Plan also includes review templates for reviewers to fill out when identifying any errors, disconnects, deficiencies, or undeveloped areas of the proposal so that suggestions for improving the proposal can be directly communicated to the writing team. At RFP release, the Proposal Schedule is completed and the dates for the reviews are included in the schedule. The Proposal Coordinator works with the production staff to make available hardcopy or electronic documents for reviews and supports the review process. A comprehensive Proposal Plan documents the following types of reviews:
Blue Team Review:
The Blue Team reviews the annotated proposal outline for completeness and compliance with all sections of the RFP to ensure that the proposal, when written, will meet all requirements. If storyboards are used to focus and streamline the writing process, the Blue Team will also review the storyboards derived from the annotated outline and other proposal documents (such as the Win Strategy documents mentioned in the third in our series of articles) to ensure incorporation of these elements to maximum effect in the proposal document.
This review ensures identification and correction of any compliance errors; validates the proposal page count based on the evaluation criteria and the Evaluation Factors Scoring Tree; matches win themes, discriminators and features and benefits of the company/team’s offering to specific proposal sections; ensures that the storyboards support all relevant evaluation criteria; and validates graphics/tables, and hot box concepts prior to the beginning of structured writing.
Pink Team Review:
The Pink Team reviews the draft content of the proposal in progress at approximately 65 percent of completion. They review the technical/management approaches for technical compliance with requirements and internal consistency, (i.e., the technical/management approach should be well underway toward accurately presenting the company’s final offer, and should address all evaluation criteria). This review is also used to determine how effectively the win themes, discriminators, features and benefits, and any “proof” statements are presented in the proposal.
This review ensures that any technical and management approach issues are resolved in a timely manner; that any major disconnects, deficiencies, or inaccuracies are identified; that preliminary win strategies, features and benefits, proof statements, and graphics/charts and/or hot boxes are reviewed for their ability to convey the appropriate message.
Red Team Review:
The Red Team reviews the fully matured content of the proposal at approximately 90 percent of completion. They validate that the proposed offer is now technically complete, and review the entire proposal to determine whether it presents a compelling case for evaluators of the company/team’s capabilities, solution, win strategy, and offer design. The Red Team identifies any remaining vulnerabilities and/or inaccuracies, and offers specific suggestions for improvement.
This review ensures that the offer design adequately supports the RFP evaluation criteria; ensures a match between individual offer design components with key elements of the win strategy; identifies any remaining incomplete or missing technical solution or offer design elements; and offers suggestions on wording of the executive summary, introductions, section lead-in paragraphs, and graphics/charts and hot boxes to achieve maximum attention from evaluators.
Gold Team Review:
The executive from the company that is submitting the proposal, in the presence of the Proposal Manager, reviews that the post-Red Team changes have been inserted into the proposal document, and verifies that the proposal is ready for final production. This review may also be called the “white glove” review. They resolve any remaining errors in the proposal document.