Winning Work with Agile
When dealing with significant investments and complex business issues, winning work requires laser focus on what matters most. For example:
- What makes a compelling executive summary?
- How do you develop a winning proposal?
- When should you not bid at all, or submit a non-compliant proposal?
- How should you prepare for and manage critical negotiations?
This is easier said than done. How often have you been told ‘this deal is strategic’, cancelled your plans with loved ones, and pulled an all-nighter to complete a proposal or pitch that you know you will never win?
Transforming Proposal Development
It is time to break through old habits and transform the buyer/seller relationship. Bid processes that were best practice 10 or 20 years ago need to be updated. Working harder and longer on every deal is not sustainable is you want to:
Increase value for both buyer and seller .
Increase predictability of complex deals on both sides
Reduce business risks such sole sourcing and security of supply
Align business relationships to strategic initiatives
Stay focused on the bigger picture (and not get stuck on one minor point)
Agile Proposal Development is not just about cranking out more proposals. Agile improves accountability, productivity and quality. This translates to better deals, productivity and relationships.
From Waterfall to Agile
In the late 20th century most IT projects failed to achieve their objectives, on time, and on budget. Software development was linear, following a sequence of steps from requirements to design, development, testing and deployment. Each step was completed and signed off before moving to the next step. This known as a ‘waterfall’ approach.
In reality market conditions and other factors change, so requirements will change. Such changes force a trade-off between time, budget, and functionality. Something’s gotta give.
Although the ‘waterfall’ approach provides good controls over the software development process. Ultimately there was too much focus on process and not enough on value. The Agile Manifesto was conceived in 2001 as an upgraded approach to delivering value for IT projects.
Agile Bids and Proposals
Bid/proposal development traditionally follows a waterfall approach too. By adapting proven Agile techniques from the IT world to proposal development you will improve:
- Accountability – Agile roles, scrums, sprints and daily stand-ups provide higher levels of accountability, and clear mechanisms for addressing blockages.
- Productivity – Scrums and sprints are designed with productivity in mind, and to consistently deliver completed work. Colour reviews are more timely and productive too.
- Quality – Focusing on value and delivering completed work raises overall quality. Feedback is more timely, and priorities adjusted to deliver value.