Leadership League: The AEC Proposal "Pull Apart"

Jul 10 2024

How and Why to Hold a "Pull Apart" Party as Your Last Step in a Proposal


Creating compelling proposals is crucial for business growth in the competitive architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry. Managing the valuable content generated during the proposal process can be a significant commitment, often requiring considerable time and effort. However, the "Pull Apart" process offers a solution, streamlining content tracking, facilitating content reuse, saving time, and enhancing the quality of future proposals.


Purpose of the "Pull Apart" Process


Think of the "Pull Apart" process as your team’s post-game review session. It ensures all the hard work and valuable content from your proposal are organized, maintained, and ready for future use. Here's why it's essential:


  • Content Maintenance: Keep crucial content up-to-date in master materials.

  • Efficiency: Quickly tidy up the proposal folder, making future projects easier.


Preparation for a "Pull Apart" Party


Preparation is key, much like pre-game warm-ups and strategy sessions. Here’s how to get ready:


  • Team Involvement: Include your proposal coordinator, marketing coordinator, or marketing assistant. Make sure to involve the person who knows the proposal and the boilerplate material best, as they are likely more aware of changes or updates to master collateral.

  • Checklist & Folders: Draft a checklist of tasks and set up the necessary folders on your server.

  • Party Atmosphere: Make it fun! Book a communal space and order your team’s favorite snacks and drinks.


Timing is Crucial


Schedule the "Pull Apart" soon after submitting the proposal. The fresher it is in your team’s mind, the smoother the process will be.


Supporting Systems


Your company’s server is your playbook. A well-organized system is essential for efficient content management. Having a procedure to organize all documents will pay dividends over time, ensuring they can always be found and used effectively.


Action Steps in the "Pull Apart" Process


  • Save Key Elements: Using the final submission file, save each component—resumes, project pages, firm profiles, and fee schedules—individually to their respective master folders.

  • Organize Linked Files: Gather graphics, logos, photos, or PDF forms, and save each to its respective folder on the server. Save project photos in a folder with the project page, headshots with resumes, and PDF forms with boilerplate information.

  • Review and Save Draft Files: Identify any useful content from draft files not included in the final version. Save this information in the appropriate folders. For example, if a resume for a particular individual was initially included but then eliminated due to page restrictions, save that information in their resume folder so it doesn't need to be tracked down next time.

  • Clean and Organize the Folder: As each step is completed, ensure the proposal folder stays tidy.

    • Save all drafts and the final submission file for easy access.

    • Delete duplicate items.

    • Organize similar files together (e.g., resumes, graphics, photos).


Finally, celebrate your accomplishment! Acknowledge the team's hard work with a small celebration—just like a team celebrating after a victorious game.


Benefits of the Pull Apart Party


The "Pull Apart" is not just a step in the proposal production; it’s a crucial part of the proposal’s completion. The benefits, while not always immediately measurable, pay dividends for future proposals and maximize efficiency.


  • Efficiency: Saves time and prevents duplicated efforts in future proposals.

  • Best Practice: The proposal is only complete after the "Pull Apart" process, ensuring all materials are updated and ready for next time.


Incorporating a "Pull Apart" party into your proposal process enhances organization, efficiency, and team morale. It’s a winning strategy that makes future proposals smoother and more successful.

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