One of the most effective tips I’ve come across for proposal writing

is… Write it, take the last line, put it at the start, rewrite it. This one tip has helped me, and the teams I work with, dramatically reduce the time it takes to prepare a clear, compelling management summary or presentation. I learned this courtesy of my alma mater, PA Consulting.  They called it Top Down […]

Why Most Bid Writing Methodologies Fail

One of the things that I notice, a lot, is how difficult teams find it to actually follow the standard bid writing methodologies that they are taught. Without getting too proprietary about things, most of these methods run something like this: prepare outlines for each response area (how am I going to answer the question […]

Engagement Manager, Bid Manager? What’s The Difference?

A common area of confusion on complex bids is between the different roles and responsibilities that need to be established to lead the team successfully.  This confusion is, in my view, a straight reflection of the tension that exists between the following internal functions: Commercial: objective is to achieve a target margin or return on […]

Contractual Sledgehammers and Management Nuts

There is a fundamental problem with ICT contracts in the public sector.  It arises from the persistent use of contractual sledgehammers to crack management nuts. The problem, simply described, is this.  When things go wrong with IT projects in the public sector, lessons are identified.  But, they aren’t learned consistently.  Contractual lessons are learned well, […]

Does Agile Development need a different contractual paradigm?

I’ve been involved in some discussions with a group of agile development experts (aka the Agile Development Network) about how they can get involved in more public sector contracts.  What’s clear from the discussion is that there is a gulf of understanding between software development specialists and procurement people that needs to be addressed urgently. […]

Writing a Winning Tender : Rule 3

Rule 3: Don’t Lie This rule was brought into sharp focus by the recent court case between BSkyB and EDS, where the judge set aside the limits of liability in the contract on the basis that EDS had fraudulently misrepresented themselves when tendering for the work. The temptation to lie (euphemisms: “emphasise the positive”, “gild […]

Writing a Winning Tender : Rule 1

I’ve been doing quite a bit of work in the last year helping organisations to prepare tender responses, to the extent that I accidentally ended up being perceived as a bit of an expert in tender writing by a client. This was a great example of the way in which other people can have a […]

Feedback and Experience of the Competitive Dialogue Process

One of the hotter topics in public sector procurement at the moment is the use of the Competitive Dialogue (CD) procedure to place contracts for complex services like IT.  For those who don’t know:  Competitive Dialogue was introduced at the end of 2006 by the EU as a new procedure to control the way in […]