Articles United Kingdom
15 July 2022 2 mins read

Really learning the lessons in bidding

How can we change the reputation of ‘lessons learned’ in bidding?

What are bidding best practices?

It’s fair to say that in bidding, ‘lessons learned’ doesn’t have the best reputation. The wrong way to learn is to arrange a single ‘lessons learned meeting’ at the end of a bid and just hope to learn the right lessons — because unfortunately, you rarely will. What normally happens is a feedback bloodbath, tumbleweed, or tea and medals.

Do you want to avoid pointless feedback sessions? Here are our 7 tips for learning lessons the right way.

How to benefit from lessons learned

1. Appoint someone accountable for learning lessons across the organisation — preferably someone senior at the executive level.

2. Gather observations from the three main sources: the customer, your own team, and any suppliers or teaming partners.

3. Validate the observations. Are they the opinion of the most senior person, or the one with the loudest voice? Are they emotional from pent up frustration?

4. Prioritise the observations you’re going to act on first. You can’t fix everything at once, so decide what takes priority and will have the most impact.

5. Pilot the changes. There’s not much point in rolling out a new process or technique if it doesn’t make any difference.

6. Implement the changes and measure the benefits. Only then can you say that lessons were learned.

7. Use a BMO (Bid Management Office) to collect, analyse, and report the data.

When should I do a lessons session?

Hold reviews at the end of each bid stage to gather observations, validate them, and apply them to benefit the next stage.

Many people ask whether you should hold reviews before or after the customer’s decision is announced. We recommend doing both. Doing it before removes bias from the discussion, but you still need to know why you won or lost, so you should do it afterwards as well.

What if I haven’t got time to do a lessons session?

Time or budget issues mean you’re not going to learn how to improve, which in a competitive market is the same as going backwards. Can you afford not to? Chat to us today about how we can help you make the most of your lessons session in bidding.