Instead of using the kickoff meeting to initiate discussions about how you will run the proposal, prepare in advance so you can communicate the ground rules for all contributors.
Distribute writers’ packages that include guidance for style, procedures and configuration control. This approach will eliminate the extra work often created for the production team by every contributor adapting their own styles and systems.
- Use a standard style sheet so that drafts do not need to be reformatted. Style procedures for writers should be kept as simple as possible both to save writers’ time and to simplify production.
- Provide a style guide that defines the look and content of headings, graphics, captions, callouts etc.
- Provide a glossary that establishes how you refer to the bidding organisation and the customer organisation, as well as the abbreviations and terminology that you will use throughout the proposal. Even if you want to update some of these during proposal development, you will at least be working from a consistent base.
- Define how files are managed, named, stored, and backed up.
- Maintain version control by establishing where draft documents will be stored and allocating controlled access to files and materials.
- Prepare contributors to fulfil their roles by explaining in advance document flow procedures including deadlines and review processes.