Increasing your Proposal Score with outstanding Risk Management Sections

Companies often miss the opportunity to differentiate their proposals by submitting a generic risk management section, and customers who are highly risk conscious judge those solutions less favorably. Showing a true understanding of the risks in the program and offering plans to mitigate those risks will convince your customers that they should select your company.

Many proposal teams do not spend enough time and consideration developing outstanding risk management sections. Usually, one author is assigned to write the section, and then the team shifts their focus to other work. Great risk sections are usually developed from hours of intensive brainstorming and inputs from every key player who understands the program. It is impossible for a single author to define and evaluate all of a program’s risks.

Many risk statements are not really worded as risks, which reveals the company’s lack of research and knowledge of the problem. For example, a typical risk statement goes something like this, “A lack of qualified resources endangers timeliness of deliverables and continuity of services.” And the risk mitigation is, “Acme Corporation will bring qualified resources to ensure timely submission of deliverables and no disruption of services.” This type of risk statement and mitigating actions essentially say that the major risk to the customer is the contractor not doing their job, but the mitigating action is for the contractor to do their job. Don’t represent something as a risk if it is within your company’s control.

Risks are things that impact schedule, quality, and/or performance and that are outside of your company’s own abilities to plan and manage the program. In other words, these are things that negatively impact the program no matter how well you plan and execute the contract. There are essentially three categories of risks to present in your proposals:

  • Risks caused by lack of information or knowledge about the project that can only be gained in the process of project execution
  • Risks caused by lack of control or resources to deal with external events or authorities
  • Risks caused by lack of time to complete tasks sequentially and methodically

If a company is bidding to perform a project at a facility where no site survey has been completed, then a good risk statement would say, “The existing facility is not large enough to support the required number of personnel for the Service Desk function, which could lead to inability to provide the required services.” The mitigation strategy would be to identify an alternative to the existing facility in case the survey findings confirm this risk instance.

Another risk example could be, “Not getting environmental licenses and regulatory approvals in time because of delays at the issuing agency.” Good mitigation approaches could discuss expert bodies, relationships with the regulators and local authorities, and the ability to design and build in accordance with every possible standard.

Risk analysis is vital to any proposal even if there is no requirement for a separate risk section, and risks should be addressed in each section, where possible. Make your risk statements work for you by showing your customer why you decided to design your solution the way it is offered. This will allow you to showcase your knowledge of the program and convince your customers that your company is truly the lowest risk provider.

OST Global Solutions is a professional business development consulting firm. We provide capture and proposal teams to develop a winning proposal. Or we can provide consultants on a case-by-case basis to fill gaps on your business development team. Our services consist of capture management, proposal management, orals coaching, proposal writing, graphics support, editing, desktop publishing, and cost volume development.

Reach out to us to discuss how we can help you develop a winning proposal.

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