Proposal Preparation Copy

Define the Scope of the Intervention

The scope defines what needs to be done and what will specifically be excluded.

  • What is included and what is excluded?
  • Delimiting elements / boundaries.
  • Work breakdown structure/schedule, sequences & interrelationships.
  • Milestones and reporting points.
  • Performance & responsibilities.

Consolidate Available Information

  •  Client invitation /RFP
  •   Interview data
  •  Prior Client assignment files
  •  Other background information
    •   Client
    •   Industry
  • Information from related Businesses
  •   Own information
  •  Prior Projects /references
  •  Industry reviews
  •   Products and services
  •  Financials
  •   Press releases
  •  Directorships

Look for information that provides a competitive edge

Analyse the available information

Analyse the information with a view to diagnosing the problem.
What are the trends, problem indicators, symptoms?
Have we seen this before?
Do we have sufficient information to diagnose the problem/ need?

Diagnosis- What exactly is the problem or need?

  •  The key to design/ approach is diagnosis
  •   Diagnosis is determining cause and effect
  •  What is the problem?
  •   What are the symptoms, causes?

Determine The Consulting approach

How do we address the problem/ need?

• Using specific methods?
• Which style and involvement approach should be used?
• What are the steps in determining the approach?
• What is the proposed solution and how is it designed?


• New or established method?
• Associated methodology?
• Is it proprietary or generic?
• Boilerplate or customization?

The proposed approach can differentiate you from the competition

Engagement Style and Involvement

• Does the style adopted need to be specific or adapted to the client in question?
• Does the client have a specific preference for engagement style that you are aware of?
• What level of involvement does the customer require or demand?
• Who performs which tasks – Consultant or Client? This affects pricing directly and can be used to negotiate price variations.
• What seniority of consultant is required from the consultancy? This also affects pricing.

This is especially important in change projects

Steps in Determining the Approach to an Assignment

Choose an existing approach or design an approach appropriate to the task at hand.
Determine the conceptual framework. Remember the outline of the methodology?
Identify high level tasks, sequences and dependencies by phase/milestone. This is effectively the project schedule.
Identify key deliverables by phase or milestone.
Determine the anticipated effort by work plan task and staff level.


Remember project support and management costs and requirements.
Make assumptions explicit for example expectations of the client, their roles and responsibilities, etc.
Build the approach and related pricing into the subsequent proposal and management presentation.
Include as many of these considerations in your standard terms and conditions to avoid forgetting important line items in your proposal.

Proposed solution / design

Wherever possible, use the opportunity of the proposal to ‘design the job’ in accordance with your own strengths. Ensure that you do not give too much away. Clients may be notoriously unethical and give your intellectual property and pricing to a competitor.

  • Designing the job well is often the key to:
    o Getting the job
    o Delivering a good product
    o Making a profit
    o Enhancing your reputation
    o Addressing resource leverage (ratio of senior to junior staff)
  • Designing the job happens before the job is awarded, not after.

Designing the job is the heart of the proposal development process.


We now need to consider who does what on the proposed assignment from the firm’s resources:

  • Identify and allocate the appropriate resources.
  • Determine leverage ratios. A typical consulting leverage ratio is about 1:7, which means one senior to about seven more
  • junior resources.
  • Forecast availability for each resource or at worst by resource type.
  • Match resources to the client, remembering the decisions you have made regarding style and involvement.
  • Determine relative costs of each resource by type or seniority level.
  • Consider location implications, especially of the client is located far from your centre of operations.

Estimate Effort

Ways of Estimating Effort
“Gut feel”.
Prior experience.
The result of a scoping exercise.
Extrapolation, based on an expected baseline plan.
A combination of the above.

Which approach is the most accurate in your opinion?

Estimating Techniques

1. Identify high level tasks.
2. Estimate effort by task.
3. Identify resource types and levels by task.
4. Multiply effort by individual rate.
5. Total and re-assess iteratively.
6. Obtain a second and third opinion if necessary.

Establishing Pricing Strategy

What determines pricing?

  • Need for business.
  • Relative positioning of consultancy/ reputation.
  • Existence of competitors and their pricing.
  • Pricing policies, especially international firms.

The objective is to get the job at a fair price, not giving too much away

Develop Pricing Strategy and Initial Fee Estimates

  • Base on high level project plan, ‘gut feel’ and prior experience.
  • Consider probable pricing of key competitors.
  • Get the work at a fair price.
  • Identify parameters for premium pricing or discounting.
  • State what can/cannot be estimated and what is/is not included by phase.
  • Consider possible fee rate changes by phase.
  • Identify methods of calculation/presentation (time and materials, fixed fee, ceiling).

Notes:  Negotiate subcontractor payment arrangements early, if applicable.

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