• SJ

Avoiding Proposal Disaster series, week 2: the Hail Mary



We’re going through five proposal disasters and how an improved Go/No Go process could help prevent them. Today we’re talking about what happens when you learn of a perfect fit opportunity, but you know that you haven’t done the advance work properly.


Disaster 2: The Hail Mary


You’re late to the game on a large-scale bid. Maybe you meant to do capture, but you know…you got caught up scrambling to work on too many bids at once.


But who needs a capture strategy, right? You initiate planning as the solicitation drops with the hopes that your organization’s good reputation will pull you through.


What if you could prevent this kind of disaster from happening with a stronger Go/No Go process?

  • Institute an evaluation of how your capture strategy went (often called a blue team review). Make passing this a requirement to get a Go to develop a concept or full proposal. Hard stop. No capture = no proposal. The numbers back you up on this one: your chance of winning drop precipitously on bids where no effective capture was performed.

  • Spread out the Go/No Go process. Is it currently just a checkpoint at the point of beginning proposal development? Encourage opportunities to come before your decision makers as early as they’re known, and commit resources to them early (that means: if someone is assigned at 50% effort to working on capture efforts for an opportunity, treat them like they only have 50% of their time available for other projects!) When staff see that devoting energy to opportunities early is rewarded, the shift will happen naturally.


Devoting resources early not only increases your chances of winning but helps staff feel like they’ve been given the appropriate tools for success.


Keep checking back for our next post in the series!

  1. The 11th Hour Kill Switch

  2. The Hail Mary (today)

  3. The Pet Project

  4. The Busywork

  5. The Overstretch

If these disasters hit a little too close to home, it may be time to start re-evaluating your Go/No Go process. Fortunately, we’ve had the opportunity to see a lot of different processes at a lot of different organizations and learn a bit about what works and what doesn’t. Why not set up a time to talk about what we would recommend to improve yours?

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