Your proposal review team is your gate keeper; they provide feedback on compliant issues and strategy weaknesses that guide your team through revisions and strengthen your proposal. When feedback is in conflict or non-compliant however, a “hot wash,” or debrief, allows the proposal manager to evaluate, clarify, and prioritize exactly what feedback is incorporated into your proposal before the team takes action.
Unfortunately, a complex proposal can take anywhere from a partial day to a week to “hot wash” – which is just too time-consuming.
How do you balance the benefits of “hot washing” on a tight proposal schedule? Here are three ways to “hot wash” your next proposal review in record time.
Skip the Review Document “Merge” Step
A typical “hot wash” begins with two categories; what went well and areas for improvement. In other words, what did the reviewers like and want to strengthen vs. what they didn’t like and how to correct it. Here’s the challenge; four people review but before you can effectively “hot wash,” you must first “merge” the review documents into a single document to consider and weigh feedback.
This time-consuming step is just one reason teams centralize their review process. When you centralize your review process, you automatically centralize reviewer feedback into a single document. That means you skip the “merge” step and get to your “hot wash” faster.
Centralizing your reviews also means proposal managers have greater control over the review and “hot wash” process. For example, the proposal manager can sort and filter feedback and quickly ferret out unhelpful comments, like “this is weak,” or clarify feedback like “this needs more.” The result is a more focused, quality revision that keeps your team on schedule.
Arbitrate and Prioritize Feedback
Email out four review copies, and the odds are you’ll receive three copies back. The odds are also that two reviewers will have conflicting feedback. Perhaps they disagree on how to strengthen an important point in the Executive Summary, or worse, they disagree on a point of compliance. This leaves the team asking, “What do I do now?”
Proposal reviews are all about consensus; identifying and agreeing on what needs to be fixed and what needs to be strengthened in the proposal. When the team struggles with how, or if, to incorporate feedback, you face endless revisions that cost the team time.
In addition to eliminating the “merge” step, centralizing your review process also aids the “hot wash” process. For example, you can sort review feedback by subject or location to quickly identify where the conflicts are, reject feedback that is out of compliance, and eliminate any confusion among the team before the next revision begins.
Not all Review Feedback is Created Equal
Proposal reviews are an essential proposal management tool, but not all review feedback is created equal. For example, learning a requirement response is “weak” is good to know, but what action should be taken to correct it? When you “hot wash” and sort and filter review feedback you can also clarify instructions for incorporating feedback into the next revision cycle.
For example, one reviewer might focus feedback on win strategy while another reviewer focuses on how evaluators score your proposal. If you’re early in the review stage, you can easily prioritize feedback on win themes and discriminators. But if you’re late in the reviewing stage, and time is short, you can prioritize feedback on compliance and scoring, tasks that would otherwise negatively impact your submission.
Whether you call it a “hot wash” or a debrief, post-review is a crossroad for your team. Evaluating review feedback before revisions begin will save time, avoid endless revision cycles, and better focus your team’s time on strengthening your proposal for the win. Learn more at this year's Privia Virtual User Conference - it's free, it's virtual, and everyone is invited.
Are you ready for a faster, more productive way to review that cuts your review time in half?