Writing a Strategic Project Approach: Tips for the AEC Professional

Jul 25 2022

How to Write a Srategic AEC Project Approach


In any proposal, the project approach is likely the most important section: it is where you tell the client exactly how you can make their project a success. This is where you get to shine and really show what you know about the client and their their needs, and what unique solutions you bring to the table. Because this section is so important, it is critical to get started early—ideally before the RFP comes out. (And yes, we can hear you groaning from here.)


In order to write a successful strategic approach, you must research, brainstorm, and then brainstorm some more. The writing is the easy part!

Get Down to the Details


As soon as you hear about the project, meet with the client to determine what is driving their project, what the challenges are, and what is most important to them. Bring that info back to the office and meet with your proposal team to pick apart the new infomration. With that, the ISBPs (Issues, Solutions, Benefits, Proofs) come easily.


Identify the top three or four issues and really dig in on how to solve them. Throw all your ideas out there, even if they seem dumb. You never know what will end up being your silver bullet.


Once you have brainstormed all your ideas, sort through and look for those with the biggest benefit to your client and, ideally, those that only you can deliver. It is also important to provide proof that these differentiating solutions work and deliver the intended benefits—where have you done it before?

Tell the Story


With all your pre-work finished, the hard part is over! Now, when it comes time to sit down and write the approach, just tell the story of their project and how you’ll help make it successful. Rely on your ISBPs to help you talk about all the unique solutions you’ve come up with to make their project a success.


Tell them how those solutions are a benefit, and weave in examples of how you’ve done it in the past. Make the story about them—with you as the supporting character.

When you’re done, the proposal won’t be just another generic project approach regurgitating the RFP. You will have a strategic project approach tailored to the client and their project. And it will tell them why you are the best consultant to help them achieve the successful project outcome they are looking for.


More Stuff You Might Need


Learn more about writing to respond to an RFP.

Learn more about leadership designating tasks and staying organized during proposal time.

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