The Strawman Proposal was developed as a hypothesis-driven, problem-solving technique.
The idea of it is to create a draft version of your proposal for criticism and testing, and then use the feedback to make any necessary improvements to help create a rock-solid proposal.
But How Can This Be Used in Bid Writing?
Often used in a rhetorical sense, ‘strawman’ refers to a figure made of straw – easy to pull apart, destroy, and rebuild. The Strawman Proposal concerns itself with the potential improvements, innovations, or adjustments based on an original draft.
This technique can be used to help you write, and improve, your bid response as it allows you to pull out parts that aren’t suitable and replace them with more current information.
You can also use the strawman proposal technique to brainstorm ideas that you’d like to go into more detail about and also to help you pick the best ideas that relate to the scope of the contract.
Why Should I Create a Strawman Proposal?
The Strawman Proposal technique is a great tool for brainstorming as well as being a creative way to problem solve!
Not only that, but it encourages teamwork, which is what you need when writing a bid response!
The best thing about this technique is that it helps you to discuss any potential issues with your bid response with a group of people, rather than trying to figure everything out yourself.
This technique can strengthen your bid responses, you’re not working on it alone, and your team will bring a fresh pair of eyes to your response – meaning that things you might have missed have the potential to be picked up by another team member.
What Is The Strawman Proposal Process?
The Strawman Proposal process can be effectively applied to a number of different problems.
The steps involved in this process are:
Concept – Have a draft ready to present to the rest of the team. Make sure the team understands that the intent of the draft is to be used as a conversation starter, rather than a final piece.
Discuss – This is the brainstorming stage. You and your team should discuss what you like, what you don’t like, what you’d change, and why you’d change it. Make sure that they’re aware that all criticism and improvement ideas are welcome.
Clarify – You can link this in with the discussion stage, you want to ‘knock the strawman down’ and rebuild. Collect all inputs and suggestions and then analyse your response based on its strengths and weaknesses.
Decision – Create a new response and present it to your team. This is the version that the entire team should commit to.
This technique is a continuous process that involves removing, improving, and adjusting ideas. As it’s a concept, you shouldn’t spend too much time on it; its intended purpose is to spark discussion within your team to help you build your responses.
Can This Be Used Successfully When Writing Bid Responses?
Yes, it can!
The Strawman Proposal is a fantastic way to put together a strong, competitive bid response.
You can use multiple members of your team to help, bringing different points of view and expertise into the writing process.
You can start with a working draft per question – once one is written, send it to the team members who are a part of your proposal team so that they can read through it, make edit suggestions, and rewrite sections if required.
The whole point of a Strawman Proposal is to tear apart the draft, being as critical as you can, and build it back up to become an overall stronger response. Once you’ve done this for each part of the bid, you’ll find that your overall response is better, and the input from your team could even mean you learn something you didn’t already know.
It’s also a good technique to use if you’re using external bid writing services as you can work with the allocated bid writer to ensure that the response they’re writing is true & relevant to your company. It allows you to have an input in what is written and to be involved in creating your bid response.
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