With companies closing their offices and supporting staff to work remotely from their homes, how bid teams continue to work together and avoid last-minute pandemonium is front of mind for Aurora Marketing. Our team of consultants are experienced at working remotely and integrating quickly to bolster teams, but we do recognise that this can be a challenging adjustment for many professionals who are making a sudden and new transition to full-time remote work.
Ensuring the team is productive when working remotely is what our clients are saying is their biggest challenge. We have gathered our wisdom of working remotely to share tips on how to continue to give your bid response the winning edge.
For teams who operate in an environment that fosters innovation and collaboration, the best ideas are often created in brainstorming workshops and face-to-face meetings, so working remotely requires a big shift in mindset. Our clients are using programs like Microsoft Planner and other project management tools such as Monday.com as tasking tools to allow team members to track progress. Virtual communication programs such as Skype, Facetime, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts are keeping people connected.
In our own Aurora Marketing team, we are trialling a combination of two programs, Microsoft Teams for the videoconferencing and Mural for a virtual whiteboard, to give us the technology for simulating a workshop environment. We need to adapt the workshop running sheet to rely less on long sessions of roundtable discussions and whiteboarding, and instead trial short periods of independent work followed by orderly turn-taking to exchange ideas. We have spent the past year using Microsoft Teams to connect our interstate people to head office. We now hold daily morning and afternoon check-ins and find these work best if they are scheduled in advance, allow sufficient time for each person’s contribution and comprise a fun element. The fun elements might include a show and tell of a favourite household item, introducing a pet or family member or a round-robin of what each person is grateful for.
In this time of uncertainty, we are discovering that our clients are finding a more directive management style is the best approach. Overcommunicating is far better than under communicating. People, even the most experienced professionals and executives, are looking for clarity, direction and certainty. Team leaders are providing more directive and specific instructions from afar, using morning virtual meetings to clearly outline the tasks for the day, and an afternoon reverse session for team members to outline their progress back to the team leader.
It is important that people find ways to stay connected and positive. Team building activities and celebrating milestones can still be effective when working remotely to promote employee happiness, retention and productivity. Why not get creative and keep it fun by holding a virtual happy hour, a daily song to lift the mood, a walking meeting or send riddles and brainteasers.
Use this time to reflect
Inevitably, there will be tender program slippage and some project opportunities put on hold. Bid teams are finding themselves gaining additional hours and are using these to ensure responses match the client’s request, provide a deeper technical detail and develop a truly unique solution for the client. Time is also being used to undertake a review of previous bids or conduct a lessons learnt workshop to provide a clear picture of what has been working well, what could be done better and how they compare to industry best practice.
Aurora Marketing is regularly engaged by companies to review past submissions as an audit and benchmarking exercise. When we do an audit, we review both the actual bid documents produced (the what), as well as the company’s people, systems and processes that produce the bid documents (the how). We also provide the option to facilitate a Shadow Evaluation Panel who can review the submission and provide valuable feedback based on their expertise and experience as an evaluation panel member.
Undertake a Go/No Go process
It is critical, now more than ever, that companies undertake a thorough Go/No Go process to ensure they are brutally selective when selecting project opportunities.
Bid submissions can involve significant spend, so it is important to use a question analysis to help decide what tenders should be pursued. Questions that could be asked at this time may include: Do you know – and respect – the client? Will costs be reimbursed if the project doesn’t proceed? Is this project or acquisition properly funded? Is your company comfortable with the contractual requirements?
Schedule shift work
Although the introduction of ‘shift work’ may sound cumbersome, it can greatly enhance the overall time spent on a bid response, reduce the IT network load and allow for the juggle of family responsibilities. Setting a strict schedule will ensure all team members are clear about who works when, and by alternating shifts, this gives people flexibility to blend their work life with home life.
Find the silver lining
This pandemic is already the most disruptive and challenging experience many of us have lived through. While the enormity is not lost on us, we are also a team of optimists and see real potential for our clients to continue to work successfully on bids during the coming months. When this crisis is over and teams reform in offices, we will see a renewed commitment to active listening, the appreciation of new virtual programs and a deeper sense of the importance of reliability and accountability gained from a shared experience such as this.
For more information on conducting a bid audits, developing go/no go processes or to assist with the continuation of bidding during the COVID-19 pandemic, contact us at Aurora Marketing on 1300 976 312 or firstname.lastname@example.org