What Do I Do to Solve Problems? (Part 7 of 9 in Outsourcing Proposal Development)
During the course of a proposal project, you – and your chosen consulting firm – are going to run into problems. It’s the nature of the beast – you are working on a large and complex project with a very short timeline. Effective project management techniques will help you and your consultants get through the issues and keep moving forward.
Sometimes, though, the problems mushroom into something bigger – it just seems like things are not working out between you and your consultants. When this happens, you need to explore what’s happening. For example:
- Are your internal resources creating barriers to success? If the business solution is unclear or constantly shifting, the consulting team won’t know what they are writing about from day to day – and deadlines keep slipping. If subject matter experts (SMEs) are uncooperative or unavailable (usually because they are buried with other work), it’s unlikely the consultants will be able to make much progress.
- Are the wrong consultants assigned? It happens – a consultant was assigned to a section but doesn’t have the specific skills and knowledge needed for that particular section. Or, something happens in the consultant’s life that creates a huge conflict for the proposal. A good consulting firm will generally detect and solve these problems very quickly, but they need feedback.
- Is there a personality conflict? These cover a broad spectrum of “stuff.” Sometimes the consultant is an extrovert assigned to work with a subject matter expert who is an introvert. Sometimes it’s the reverse. Occasionally there are just differences in work approaches that can lead to conflict: “my way or the highway.” These all have to be examined and carefully worked out between the company and the consulting firm – it can be an involved process, but it needs to happen quickly to ensure effectiveness.