Proposal Managers: Mitigating Risk

Mitigating risk makes up a huge portion of a proposal manager's job. When pursuing a bid opportunity, it is of the utmost importance to plan - for everything.

This sounds like something from an insurance commercial. However, it is critical that you make a contingency plan to ensure successful delivery of your proposal, even in this digital age.

Here are some things to consider when planning your proposal:

  • Where do your team members work?
  • How are your collaborating with them on the proposal?
  • How does the weather forecast look? (effects both hard copy and electronic delivery)
  • Do critical team members have vacation or other time off scheduled?
  • How much time do you need to finalize the documents?
  • For hard copy delivery, how much time do you need to print, bind, review, and ship?
  • For electronic delivery (via procurement portal or email), what is the ideal timeframe for submitting prior to the deadline?

Plan for the following to help you stay in the game:

Technology failures.

Technology is amazing (when it works), but we’ve all experienced the panic that can ensue when it doesn’t. Your proposal plan should document what your team can do to mitigate this risk.

Weather and natural disasters.

Blizzards, tornados, hurricanes, the polar vortex, severe storms, and earthquakes can shut down entire states. What happens if your region is shut down but the weather is peachy where the RFP is to be received? Staying up to date on changing weather patterns can help you plan to expedite processes or contact  the proposal recipient in advance.

Vacations and geography.

If a critical pursuit team member has vacation planned, ask for a backup or integrate their time off into your proposal plan from the start. Consider where team member time zone or standard working hours differences, and plan ahead to optimize workflow.


Team members and their families may have scheduled appointments or procedures, and medical emergencies do arise. It is important to keep everyone’s health in mind and have a contingency plan in place. Creating a project plan from the very beginning allows your team to incorporate prior engagements and ensures that everyone is on track with deadlines and deliverables.

 Personalities and working styles.

We live in a time where we people sometimes make choices that limit the lives and freedoms of others. Fast-paced or complex projects with impending deadlines can cause high amounts of stress in and between team members. Personalities and work styles do not always seamlessly gel. What processes and policies can your team implement to mitigate these risks?

Each of these examples can factor into whether a bid opportunity should be pursued at all. Without a proper plan, the answer can more often be “no.” But, if risks and roadblocks are considered and weighed appropriately, there is little reason to abandon an RFP.

We hope you enjoyed our tips for mitigating risk. For more proposal tips and tricks, check out our blog series RFPs 101: Click here

Photo by Sammie Chaffin on Unsplash

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