During the proposal process, reviews are necessary to developing winning proposals. Yet, reviews can be difficult. This is especially true when teams are ill-staffed, disorganized, or lack leadership. Strong review teams are critical to improving a proposal’s evaluation score. One proposal review team, the Pink Team, is imperative. Not only for developing a bid’s success, but also for ensuring compliance.
Color-Coded Proposal Review Teams
Color-coded proposal reviews are an accepted industry practice. The end goal of color reviews is to massage RFP responses at multiple review stages to win. In general, proposal reviews are comprised of 6 different teams.
Each review team has a different goal and is made up of various members of the organization. The following summarizes each color-coded proposal review team and their purpose:
- Blue Team: This team prepares, plans, and schedules for the entire proposal team. Blue team members are largely responsible for ensuring that the proposal outline is correct and complete, and identifying win themes and information gaps. At handoff, each proposal section should be assigned to a proposal writer.
- Pink Team: Pink Team members develop core proposal content and messaging. This group’s focus is on narrative, detail, and messaging—not on grammar or punctuation. The Pink Team relies on the Blue Team’s outline and direction to develop content.
- Red Team: The Red Team handles positioning and compliance. Members of the Red Team are primarily from the management, legal, and compliance teams. Red Team reviews heavily assess proposal content from the evaluators’ perspectives.
- Green Team: This review team has several duties. These include providing pricing, formatting the proposal, and fulfilling evaluators’ expectations. Members of the technical, management, writing, and cost teams make up the Green Team. Pricing should not only reflect the proposal’s solution, but all pricing information should be provided in the format requested in the RFP.
- Gold Team: Gold Team reviewers focus on cleaning up the proposal and ensuring consistency. Team members are senior executives and managers who are often key technical personnel. Each proposal section is combed through to ensure information, data, tables, and proposal graphics are fully compliant.
- White (AKA White Glove) Team: This team gives the final approval for a bid’s submission. Executive and management stakeholders make up the White Glove Team. They review the proposal page-by-page to catch obvious visual errors (e.g. incorrect page numbers, print errors, mislabeled figures). The White Team also reviews any revisions made by the Gold Team.
The Pink Team Review
The Pink Team is critical in proposal reviews, since they set the direction for the development of the proposal. The Pink Team decides if the structured outline meets the requirements of the RFP. During the review, Pink Team members are looking to answer: Are win themes developed? Is the strategy strategically articulated throughout the outline’s section?
The end goal of color reviews is to massage RFP responses at multiple review stages to win.
The Pink Team is not looking to correct misspellings or poor grammar. Instead, this review ultimately determines the ability to meet the RFP’s requirements. For some proposal teams, the documents being reviewed are storyboards or mockups. The Pink Team will use these documents to ensure compliance is being met and to document issues or mark areas for improvement.
Challenges in Pink Team Reviews
Each review team is met with a different set of proposal challenges in the review and development process. While these challenges vary, the Pink Team often faces vague or conflicting feedback from other proposal development team members. At this stage, the proposal is usually in the form of storyboards and mockups. Because of this format, not all of the objectives from various stakeholders may be clear.
Much of the Pink Team’s role is to confirm planning. Capture and proposal strategies, the proposal outline, section mockups, and the compliance checklist should all be prepared for the Pink Team’s review. Post-review, the next color-coded team receives redirections on the proposal strategy, an annotated outline, recommendations, and a verified compliance checklist. However, if objectives, strategies, and proposal sections are incomplete or delayed, the Pink Team will be unable to develop the proposal and its win themes.
Pink Team Expectations
The Pink Team’s goal is to confirm planning and compliance. But what exactly should the Pink Team be looking for? Here is a checklist to help fulfill the expectations of the Pink Team:
- The proposal is 60 to 70% ready for submission
- In its current state, the draft is fully compliant with the RFP
- The outline presents a strong narrative
- Drafted content and rough graphics support the proposal’s approach
- Each section contains content or a description of its intent
- Any requested SME resumes are prepared for submission
- References are clear and complete for the compliance review
Keep in mind that not every proposal team has the personnel or resources to go through a full color-coded team review. Consider proposal review alternatives if your team faces bandwidth constraints. An effective proposal development process should be scalable, flexible, repeatable, and documented. Likewise, an effective proposal development process should have a team owner and milestones with verifiable inputs and outputs.
color-coded proposal review teams are a necessary component in the proposal development process. The Pink Team, in particular, plays a critical role in setting the direction for the proposal and ensuring compliance with the RFP. However, the Pink Team faces its own set of challenges and expectations. It is important for proposal teams to understand the roles and responsibilities of each review team and to have a scalable and flexible proposal development process in place. By doing so, proposal teams can improve their chances of success in the competitive world of government contracting.
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