More than ever, virtual proposal teams are both increasingly common and necessary. Proposal managers must complete the same tasks in a virtual environment that are required when managing a co-located team. The increased challenges are most often communication and accountability.
Virtual proposal teams have proven to be not only successful and cost effective. In some organizations, developing a proposal virtually is the ONLY option due to resource or other organizational constraints.
Whether virtual or co-located, proposal teams always have the same goal: preparing a compliant, customer-focused proposal.
Whether employing a partially virtual team or applying a complete virtual model, use these guidelines for effective virtual proposal team management:
- Identify and openly discuss the inherent challenges of working virtually to agree on a plan of action.
- Establish virtual meeting ground rules early.
- Exploit the advantages and compensate for the challenges of virtual teams.
- Establish and maintain a high-trust
- Clearly define and assign key virtual team roles and tasks—hold team members accountable.
- Publish and keep “evergreen” the proposal schedule.
- Select task-appropriate, easy-to-use technology—provide adequate training, when necessary.
- Over communicate.
- Employ ways to motivate the virtual team and individual contributors.
- Establish a rigorous review structure—don’t short-change key milestones in the process.
- Adapt to new technologies and tools as they come available.
Performing a lessons learned and documenting successes and challenges may be even more critical in a virtual proposal environment. Assign this task and hold the team accountable to help ensure continuous improvement.