Guidance for AEC Industry Firm Management and Principals


The importance of proposals makes them one of the most stressful parts of an AEC job, and making that process easier starts at the very top. As AEC Principals, you look at the big picture, so what does that mean when it comes to proposals?


Your job is to determine the leadership roles, provide support, and step in as needed. Depending on the structure of your company, you may be looking at the functions of your technical leadership, marketing leadership, and project managers. Set your expectations. Their roles and responsibilities must be balanced and achievable. If they do not have the skills necessary to do proposal work well, training must be an essential part of the process. If their plate is too full, you may need to be more involved to provide mentorship and oversight. 


Here are some tried and true suggestions for proposal roles by job description:


Your technical team should feel comfortable writing the technical aspects of the proposal: 

  • Cover letter
  • Executive summary
  • Scope of work
  • Project approach


Your marketing leadership will tailor the proposal to fit the project needs:

  • Resumes
  • Project experience
  • Client quotes
  • References


They will also edit the proposal for clarity and understanding and then oversee production and delivery. 


Your project manager should be just as comfortable managing a proposal as they are managing a project. They will:

  • Research the project and establish a strategic project approach

  • Write, review, and finalize the cover letter, management plan and approach

  • Determine the project budget

  • Determine the project schedule 

  • Strategize how your team will solve project challenges

  • Estimate the project fees and coordinate with subconsultants


Of course, every firm looks different, so the way you divvy up roles and responsibilities should align with your staff's abilities, availability, and capability. Determining the proposal leadership roles may mean defining your expectations and deciding who can meet them. Consider how you can support those individuals so they have the needed skills and resources to get the job done. Finally, keep your eye on the process and step in when needed, providing guidance so that everything runs smoothly.


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