An Agile Approach to Agility

Agility is a fundamental principle of winning business. When it comes to capture and proposal efforts, you must be able to adapt to changes as they come. And there are many, many opportunities for changes to happen throughout business development. (How many RFP drop dates get postponed, pushing your plans back with them?) 

As agility has gained sway in the proposal development market, more and more companies are looking to adjust their internal processes into agile processes. As great as this is, it is important to realize that agility is not a set process—having any type of rigid agile guidelines would mock the core concepts of agility. The principles of agility encourage a response to change. When you try to tweak company processes and frameworks to become more agile, you must be flexible in your approach.  

What is Agile? 

According to Agile Alliance, “Agile is the ability to create and respond to change. It is a way of dealing with, and ultimately succeeding in, an uncertain and turbulent environment.”  

Almost everyone in the proposal development world is used to responding to change. Adopting an agile process includes periodic check-ins so you can adjust capture or proposal efforts when the customer or market make adjustments—not right before proposal submittal. Instead of being surprised by changes in competitor tactics or customer requirements, an agile business model includes regular assessments of the bidding environment. This makes sure you adapt as changes arise. 

Benefits of an Agile Business Development Lifecycle 

Some may argue that teams function on set processes and procedures. And, to some extent, that is true. But for a company to effectively win business, capture and proposal personnel must be able to assess and respond to unique changes when they come. By incorporating agile principles throughout your business lifecycle, minute changes throughout the process prevent monumental ones after major reviews.  

It is a mad scramble for proposal teams when they reach the Red Team review and learn they are off the mark in their proposal. Developing agile steps throughout the proposal development process prevents this type of scramble because it ensures the proposal team has checked for and adapted to changes throughout proposal development.  

How to Include Agility in Your Business Processes 

As previously stated, there is no set-in-stone agile process. Instead of several clear-cut instructions, there are agile principles that apply to all phases of business. To incorporate agility most effectively into your pre-existing business lifecycle, consider the following questions: 

  • How do we currently handle a change from the customer? How can this be improved? 
  • What activities do not support sustainability? 
  • How can we proactively identify and respond to change from customers? 
  • What steps can we do concurrently? 

This is not an exhaustive list. When you review your existing process, focus on ways that allow you to continually assess business markets and your competitive position within them. Establish regular stand-up meetings throughout your process so you can stay current on proposal details and adjust accordingly. Ensure you have clear ways to develop and adjust a proposal based on customers’ timelines. Look for other areas of your business model that can evaluate the environment and adjust to how it has altered. 

Be agile in how you adopt agility. Because this is a business mindset built on change, embrace changes to your business process. Not only can this save you stress and rework in proposal development, but it can also win you more business.