I have attended kick-off meetings for PQQs, tenders and proposals and noticed the following mistakes being made:
- Not enough time is allocated for the meeting; limiting it to a very quick allocation of tasks and little more.
- Participants are not available or not well enough prepared.
- The emphasis tends to be on pricing and contract conditions.
- Win strategies and win themes are not fully explored and often not even discussed.
- The creative aspect of winning bids is not given enough time so alternative solutions are not properly developed.
- The team is not looking at the PQQ, ITT or RFP from the custome’s perspective and is not spending the time to determine what it will take to score maximum points for each question or section.
- A content plan has not been prepared to guide bid writers and authors.
- A validation and review process is not discussed in detail. Usually just a date is agreed for the final review.
The consequences of these mistakes is that those who have been allocated the responsibility of writing answers to questions asked in the PQQ, ITT or RFP or writing a persuasive and compelling copy about how the solutions proposed will provide benefits and meet customer’s requirements, have nothing to guide them. There is nothing in place to help the organisation determine whether they will achieve maximum scores for what they have written.
In these circumstances writers are left to their own devices and find it difficult to know what to write about. They will waste time in the early stages trying to figure it out for themselves. We have all suffered from writer’s block, so we know how frustrating that can be!
This can put deadlines in jeopardy. A writer rushing to meet deadlines nearly always adversely affects the quality of what has been written. This is exacerbated where there are multiple contributors and the quality of writing and content may be very patchy indeed.
If the review meeting takes place only a couple of days before submission, then there may be a lot of rewriting to do. This means that someone has to work through the night to rewrite the document and final printing and assembly is done at the very last minute and that is when errors occur.
Does this sound familiar? If it does then you and your colleagues need to place much more importance on the tender/proposal kick off meeting.