BUS 505: Business Strategies and Proposals- Assignment 4
The proposal process is a document constructed of a number of different parts, all of which are important, and all of which play a specific part. It is imperative that each part is complete, and accurate, before it is prepared for presentation. One of the major sections of the proposal is the WBS, or Work Breakdown Structure. The work breakdown structure lets project managers plan their work more efficiently. A project is characterized by time-limited activities and is assigned fixed time frames and costs. When it is finished, a project must fulfill the stakeholder needs it was designed to address. The project management has to plan for the schedule, the fixed costs and the overall completion of the project and assign responsibilities.
The WBS helps to make this planning consistent and provides for effective project execution. The WBS is necessary to fully organize the entire proposal process, and is the step needed to assure no part of the process is missed.
Plan & Organize 1.1 Create plan 1.1.1 Strategize a Budget 1.1.2 Coordinate Activities 1.1.3 Organize Time line 1.1.4 Design Development 1.2 Brain storm ideas 1.2.1 Sketch design 1.2.2 Choose Materials 1.2.3 Finalize design 1.2.4 Staff 1.3 Hire seamtress 1.3.1 Pattern Manager 1.3.2 Graphic Designer 1.3.3 Gather Materials
1.4 Identify work area 1.4.1 Shop for materials 1.4.2 Organize Materials 1.4.3 Outline Responsibilities 1.4.4 Production 1.5 Sketch Pattermns on Materials 1.5.1 Cut/ Sew materials 1.5.2 Sort Products 1.5.3
The essential part of the WBS is the organization, mainly because it outlines the overall project simply. Simplicity is vital, especially when there are a number of different parts within the project, which most major projects contain. The WBS breaks down and systematizes the different sections of the project, such as preparation, production, and completion. This is important because all responsibilities are outlined ahead of time. These leaves little to no room for confusion since there is a complete breakdown of responsibilities and procedures to complete
the expected project.
The cost estimate is the secondary portion of the Work Breakdown Structure, and is essential in the preparation phase of the proposal. The cost estimate is defined as an approximation of the probable cost of a product, program, or project, computed on the basis of available information. A cost proposal also is not restricted in any length and must provide cost information for all performance periods. This means that all information within the proposal must be referenced with the cost estimate, any information missing will affect the overall cost estimation, which in turn could cause a rift in the overall proposal. Some cost estimates can be approached in many different ways, and is usually determined by the proposal team. A Price-ToWin approach is a controlled approach to determining what the bid level should be in order to win the contract, which is an amazing business strategy. It is similar to asking the question, “What would my competition bid for this contract?” This is a strategic way of understanding the competition and bidding accordingly, mainly as an affordable way to fulfill the customer’s
contract and create a competitive edge.
When constructing a cost estimate, it is important to keep in mind that a Price-To-Win approach is developed to increase the competitiveness of the proposal. It is important that the cost estimate- is:
• Compliant with all RFP Requirements
• Coherent and free of errors
• Compelling and stands out
Understanding the competitive market for this requirement is vital, so the more that is known about the competition, the better chance at an appropriate bid.
Work Space and Design
Other (Review, etc.)
Source: Fictitious data, for illustration purposes only
This is a simplified version of a cost estimation priced to win would include, but most cost estimations are usually a lot more detailed. Many Price-To-Win estimates will include detailed competitor information, including an assessment of what the customer is willing the pay and an assessment of that the competitor would bid based on a full analysis of the market and past bids on similar projects. This is why Price-To-Win cost estimates are so unique, and also critical to the success of a bid proposal. The company is not only bidding to the contract, but also bidding to overshadow the competitions. The PTW includes an extensive process of gathering information, but there is also a lot of risk when placing a bid based upon price to win. This is mainly because there is a lot of information to be gathered before an accurate bid can be presented, but also because the competitor is assessing their bid in the same manner. It is in fact a gamble since it is a difficult task to determine exactly how a competitor will bid, so PTW is completing market and competitor research with the hopes that the competitor follows the
The success of any company is determined by the overall culture of the company and the integrity they lay their foundation. So, it is imperative that there are practices put in place to prevent unethical behavior, which could in turn diminish the reputation of the company. There are a number of best practices to prevent this issue, many of which are easy to monitor and carry out. First and foremost, it is important for a company to put into place a set of policies and practices all parties within the company must follow. This will set out a clear set of rules to prevent grey area when it comes to upholding the values and ideals of the company. It is essential that these policies are clearly written, outlines all possibilities for unethical behavior, and are easy to find so if there is a situation that needs to be addressed there is no question that the information is accessible for all parties involved at all times. Second, there must be an extensive review of possible candidates for hire before any decisions are made. This means there must be an extensive review of their background and past experience, as well as a full interview process to determine if the candidate will fit within the company culture. This can be done by holding a behavior-based interview, which would determine how a candidate would act in a situation where the ethical behavior may be against social norms. Last, it is important to put controls in place so that these procedures can effectively be monitored. When building a business, it is one thing to put procedures in place and another to practice those procedures daily, but an entirely different thing to hold people accountable for unethical behavior. A great way to prevent unethical practices is to perform audits regularly, this way it will help reduce the opportunity for unethical behavior, help find issues that may have happened accidentally, and prevent risk all together. This means making sure each employee has an understanding of your company’s expectation of ethics, and commits to fully working in an ethical manner. Each process is critical to the success of the company, and is a key component in the reputation of a company for future
Cost estimates are usually based on limited information, so therefore need to be bound by limitations to make estimating possible. Analysts must create a series of statements that define the conditions the estimate is based on, which are made in the form of ground rules and assumptions (GR&A). Ground rules represent a common set of agreed on estimating standards that provide guidance and minimize conflicts in definitions, whereas assumptions represent a set of judgments about past, present, or future conditions postulated as true in the absence of positive proof. It is important to clearly identify the GR&A during the development, so there is not confusion of the cost estimate. They should clearly define what the estimate includes and excludes; identify program schedule information by phase and program acquisition strategy; identify any schedule or budget constraints, inflation assumptions, and travel costs; and describe
effects of new ways of doing business.
One of the most important GR&As is to define a realistic schedule, which may be a difficult process in regards to the information available when completing the GR&A. This is mainly because without adequate information it is difficult to establish program schedule without being overly optimistic. If members of the production team are not involved in developing the program schedule, then assumptions would have to be made. In this case, it is vital that the GR&A outlines the confidence that the team has in the ability to achieve the schedule so it can be documented and upheld. Some examples of GR&As in this case would be the following:
• There is a goal of December 2015 to complete the first order of production
• All production will be completed at Broadway Design Studio
• Materials will not exceed more than 30 percent of estimated cost
• Staff will be designated on all parts of production and modified as required to support
• Materials and equipment will endure qualifications test to guarantee quality and
• Staff performance will be inspected every 30 days to ensure optimal performance and qualifications to complete tasks
GR&As can be outlined in different sections based upon the needs of the project, for example, cost, schedule, and operations in regards to the project. The most important understanding of GR&As is to make sure they follow RFP requirements, and that they completely outline all rules to avoid confusion within the cost analysis.
The cost estimate if by far one of the most important details of the proposal, and it is imperative that the information provided is clear and accurate. The cost estimate has a number of different parts, and each part is equally important to the proposal preparation process. This includes the work breakdown structure, which outlines every portion of the complete project, and also the GR&As which outlines the limitations of the cost estimation. As a company, each part of the proposal preparation phase must be reviewed for accuracy, because it could be the key to a winning bid.
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Osborne, S.R. (2011). Winning Government Business – Gaining the Competitive advantage with Effective Proposals. (2nd Ed.). Vienna, VA: Management Concepts.
(2015). Step 5 Identify Ground Rules and Assumptions. AcqNotes.com. Retrieved by http://acqnotes.com/acqnote/tasks/step-5-identify-ground-rules-and-assumptions Zwilling, M. (2010). The 10 Ingredients of a Great Business Plan. Retrieved by http://www.forbes.com