Monday, August 31, 2015

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Proposal review sessions

Here are some items on proposal review sessions:

You can focus on a few aspects during reviews:
  • Customer emulation. Reviewers score the proposal according to the evaluation criteria, as if they were the customer's evaluation team.
  • Bid Strategies. Reviewers assess whether the proposal reflects the bid strategies necessary to win, tells the right story, and delivers its message effectively.
  • Compliance. Does the proposal comply with all RFP requirements?
  • Proof reading. Review for typographical errors and grammatical problems.
  • Technical evaluation. Does the solution proposed meet the specifications? Can it be delivered on time? Is there a better way to do the work?
  • Pricing. Is it priced to win? Is it still profitable?
It really depends on the audience you have that day, where you are in the process, and especially on what you want to get out of the review.

How should the review comments be supplied? The choices include:

  • Paper forms. Create a form with a series of questions that focuses the reviewers attention and provides places for comments.Can make collating the results easier. Forces the reviewer to state the problem and the solution.
  • Hard copy mark-ups. Let them scribble on the document and then try to make sense of it later. If there are a large number of evaluators you will need to consolidate the comments. Consider dividing the reviewers into teams and making each team responsible for delivering a single set of comments.Great if you don't want people to walk out with copies of the material, can be a pain to amass and wade through.
  • Version tracking. Microsoft Word, and many other software packages, provide tools that can be used to identify the changes made by a review and even to merge them with changes from other reviewers. There is a slight learning curve to get past if you've never used this approach before.
It is very helpful to frame the meeting around "How can we fix any deficiencies? What are the weakest parts of the proposal? Did we miss anything?"

What can reviewers look for?

  • Proposed Solution. Will it work? Does it fall within risk tolerances? Is it price-competitive? Is it best-in-class/best-value? Have all the benefits of the solution or approach been pointed out. Have all the features been sufficiently tied to the evaluation criteria in order to ensure credit?
  • RFP Compliance. Note any ways that the section does not adequately address an RFP requirement. Make sure all RFP requirements are addressed, especially anything relevant in Sections C, M, and L as well as any other sections that might contract relevant requirements. Call attention to anything that might contradict an RFP requirement.
  • Score. Give the section a grade according to the evaluation criteria, as if you were the client.
  • Bid Strategies. Does it reflect the correct bid strategies?
  • Additions. Note anything missing that should be added to the section or any parts that require additional detail.
  • Deletions. Is there anything that really shouldn’t be there or that a client might find patronizing? Is there anything redundant or superfluous (We disagree with “tell them what you going to tell them” introductions and simply delete them). Is there anything that can be taken out that will make it easier for the evaluator to get through your proposal?
  • Changes/corrections. Note anything that is not accurate or requires changing.
  • Experience. Has all relevant corporate experience been mentioned? A lot of times proposal reviewers are senior managers and may be aware of project experience that didn’t occur to the proposal team.
  • Themes. Are the themes for this section adequately highlighted?
  • Graphics/Illustrations. Are there a sufficient number of graphics in the proposal? Is there anything in the text that could be enhanced through illustration?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Google Maps directions can suck at times

Here GMaps wants me to get on an Interstate for about a half a mile,
then take an exit that doesn't exist, to get back on a local road.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Is Mark McGwire a serial killer?

Obviously not, but this police sketch sure does look like bad news for him:

Friday, August 6, 2010

Fixing Google Reader's Recommendations feature


I love Google Reader, much to the near constant annoyance of friends, family and co-workers who I frequently zip posts to via the awesome "Email" feature in Google Reader.

A feature that Google Reader added many months ago is "Recommendations". The concept is great, Google Reader pays attention to what you read, what you Star, etc and then will periodically give you some new blogs/sites it thinks you might like.

Awesome, sign me up. Those Googling fellows sure do seem to have this "search" thing nailed, and they seem pretty good at putting ads up in searches and that makes them "da dolla billz." Except the Recommendations feature as currently implemented kind of sucks


What sucks?
  1. It keeps recommending the same sites to me, over and over. Maybe if I tell you I don't want to read it you should listen to me?
  2. It keeps recommending sites I already read. You know what I read, those blogs are the basis for your recommendations. So quite doubling down on me.
  3. There's no gradient in the "No thanks" choice for not wanting to subscribe to a feed. You need to give me something like "Not right now" and "Never again" so I can banish the really bad suggestions.
  4. If fact, let me give YOU some feedback on your suggestions. If your recommend something, let me click "This totally rocks, gimme more of this" or "I just threw up in my mouth, get this trash out of here Dikembe Mutombo style".

So there you have it Google, 4 good ways to make Recommendations suck less. Let's do it!
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