What's the Big Deal About NOT Having a Centralized Proposal File Management System?


What's the Big Deal About NOT Having a Centralized Proposal File Management System?

You're a VP and Engineering Project Manager at a small AEC firm. You don't have a marketing professional on staff, but you do have a great office-wide administrative assistant that helps with proposals when they come out.

(Well, he helps by printing the Word docs you send him. You keep pretty tight reigns on all your department's proposals!)

You, as VP and PM, actually keep your own drafts of past proposals in a folder on your personal Dropbox account. I mean, you can access the files so quickly and easily! You know which previous writeups to re-use, based on the type of proposal. Plus, your firm's VPN is such a pain.

You've tried to give the work over to the assistant, but he just asks you so many questions every time. It's faster and easier to just do it yourself.


You end up at home sick with COVID for 3 weeks. 3 major proposals hit, and you've got no energy to work on them. Your...

Continue Reading...

DOT's Quick Tip #1: How to Increase Your RFP Submittal Score


Guest Author: Karen Lorenzini, P.E., DOTomation Senior Strategist


Never forget that the Evaluation Team members are reading anywhere from 2 to 100 proposals. What can you do to help them give you points AND, in case the scoring is close at the end, remember your team as being the most qualified to serve their needs?


DOT's Quick Tip: Organize Your Proposal Correctly to Increase Success 

The evaluators may read each team’s proposal through from start to finish. If the scoring criteria are in clear sections, however, it is equally (or more) likely they will read the proposals by section, scoring each section one at a time across all teams. For example, they may read and score all 100 Technical Approaches first before moving on to Project Manager (PM) Experience.

Organize your proposal into the bite-sized sections they’ve clearly listed in the RFP/Q, and/or based upon the scoring criteria provided. For example, if the scoring criteria are separated...

Continue Reading...

How to Create Your Own Personal Project Log


Guest Author: Katy Ruzicka, DOTomation Project Manager / Sr. Proposal Coordinator


Imagine this all-too-real scenario: You’ve just started work at a new firm, and there is a proposal opportunity that you know you would be valuable as proposed key staff because you have experience doing the exact same kind of project. But… you don’t know if you remember all of the details that the RFQ is asking for, and you are not sure if you can even find the project description because someone else always handled that process.

Did you just kill your chance at helping your new firm land a great job?


How do you keep from being in this situation (and others like it)? Keep a Personal Project Log (PPL)!


Who needs to keep a PPL? Anyone who might ever be proposed as staff on a project or who wants to be someday. Starting as an EIT, an SIT, lab assistant, etc, begin keeping your own log of projects that you have been involved in, and you will not regret having this...

Continue Reading...

3 Non-Negotiable Rules Every Firm Needs for Reviewing Proposals

During my 20+ year AEC career, I've worked with some amazingly-intelligent and creative professionals. Some of those folks were strong team players, which led to out-of-this-world outcomes. 

Others couldn't work well within their team, and the end results were average to sub-par.

For all of us, wherever we land on the spectrum, sometimes we just need some reminders of how to play nicely in the sandbox.


3 Non-Negotiable Rules

Recently I was reading a book for my kids' school, called An Ethic of Excellence by Ron Berger, a teacher in Massachusetts with over 25 years of classroom experience. As usual when I read any book, I found some amazing tidbits that apply perfectly to our AEC industry. 

From Ron, to me, and now to you...here are Ron's 3 Non-Negotiable Rules. I recommend them for writing review comments, as well as managing/participating in review meetings. I hope you find them as useful as I have!

They're simpler than you think. Ready?



Continue Reading...

Top 3 Proposal Leadership Skills for Technical Professionals

"I sure wish we'd turned our proposal writing draft in even later than we did...that would've really benefited the final product!", said no one ever.

We all have really great intentions when we start working on a new proposal. Frequently, though, proposal work is the first item on our to-do list that we let slip through the cracks. At first we just see our little piece of the puzzle being affected...we forget the overall team and proposal impacts that our slippage causes.

Keith J. Cunningham (author of The Road Less Stupid) recommends we consider the 2nd-order consequences of our decisions. The main concept here is that you really do have 100% control over your own actions. 

How do YOUR decisions affect the rest of your proposal team and the end product? Here are today's Top 3 Proposal Leadership Skills, specifically for technical professionals. We'll look at why these are important, and the consequences of each if we ignore them. 


#1: Share...

Continue Reading...

Stop Sabotaging Your Proposals: How to Write In the Active Voice

TODAY’S GOAL: make your proposal text alive and active, rather than passive and mushy.

Selection Team members often receive 15+ (sometimes as many as 100!) proposals to evaluate. You want your proposal to stay in their hands as long as possible. If it’s interesting and easy to read, your chance of winning a contract increases.

We AEC technical professionals LOVE to overwrite...and this is a major problem. We subconsciously make sentences longer and more verbose, creating proposals written mainly in the passive voice. Your competitors want you to keep writing in a passive voice because it gives them an advantage. 

“Think about it, would you want to hire someone who is active or someone who is passive? The language in your proposal can create either impression…” (Gary Coover)


Stop sabotaging your proposals. It's time to learn the active voice.


THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG: what is active voice?

Here are simple examples that...

Continue Reading...

Want to Predict an RFQ/RFP Win?

Goodness...wouldn't it be great if we could know ahead of time if we were going to win work with the proposal we just turned in to our local city, county, DOT, water authority, etc.??

Well, we can. 

Or at least we can have a much better idea of our chance of winning based on Lead Indicators.

Ever heard of those?

To define a lead indicator, we also need to define a Lag Indicator. They're two sides of the same coin.

According to KPILibrary.com, "Lag indicators are typically "output" oriented, easy to measure but hard to improve or influence while lead indicators are typically input oriented, hard to measure and easy to influence."

Let's give some quick examples.

A very clear lag indicator is the posted contract awards by an entity. You find out after submitting that you either got a contract...or didn't.

Lag indicators will not tell us ahead of time if we have a good chance of winning a contract.

What do you think a lead indicator is for an RFQ/RFP win? I suggest we look...

Continue Reading...

50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.