The Red Team & Five C's of Proposal Review

Published: April 28, 2020

Contract AwardsProcurement

Learn what the Red Team is and how to use it effectively when reviewing proposals.

The writing process for a government contract proposal is completely different from any other form of writing. In the final stages of writing, it may seem difficult given the format, content and many requirements to include. It is important to follow the guidelines for responses but by the time it comes to editing it is hard to spot inconsistencies, properly edit your own writing, and address all aspects of the proposal, all while following formatting requirements. This is why it helps to form a proposal review team, commonly known as a “Red Team” to ensure success in this challenging, but essential process.

The Red Team process is a highly efficient, although cumbersome, way to review your final proposal that is the best option for writing a winning proposal. By creating a Red Team, it allows for the final stages of writing a proposal to be thorough but also successful. This team is designed to address the important areas, the Five C’s, and leave the final touches for when the proposal is near completion.

The Red Team should be checking against these "Five Cs" of proposal review:

  1. Coherence – How is the language of the proposal? Be mindful of technical jargon and focus on what the proposal is asking for.
  2. Completeness – Is every requirement in the RFP fully addressed? This includes formatting, questions, submission requirements; be sure to address any gaps in strategy.
  3. Compliance – Do all sections of the final proposal incorporate listed regulations, at the state, local, or district level? Are there any data restrictions to consider? Is proper legal language in place to protect proprietary information?
  4. Consistency – Are all sections of the proposal in the correct order? Does the formatting remain the same throughout?
  5. Correctness – This is where you check for nitty-gritty errors such as grammatical discrepancies or numerical typos. Be sure the proposal is thoroughly checked and that it creates a cohesive response to the RFP.

When forming your Red Team it can include a variety of backgrounds and expertise, which can help address the needs within your organization. It is also worth breaking up the Red Team process into what positions are involved in what sections, such as leaving the Cs of completeness and compliance to roles with more experience writing proposals and the legal team. Having particular lenses approach certain areas can make the proposal review process more efficient and effective.

Finally, when organizing your Red Team be sure to include all areas of business that may need to be incorporated. As previously discussed, it is worthwhile to involve the legal team, but also include proposal managers, technical writers, researchers, and product experts as you see fit. Also, spend time creating the best Red Team for the proposal being evaluated and bring in the right expertise to get the job done. Creating a well-rounded team will be the crucial point to making a final proposal a winning proposal.

Wondering what the next steps are to creating winning government proposals? Check out this series of webinars that explains how your team can get the tools it needs to succeed.