Winning tenders and Request for Proposals (RFPs) are vital for project and program consultants to have a successful business - especially in capital works project management. As client side project management experts, consulting firms must clearly demonstrate their strengths in four key areas: People, Methodology, Past Experience, and Pricing.
This article will focus on top tips in these key areas and assume that the client side project management business can be competitive in the pursuit, i.e. we believe you have the people and meet the compliance obligations. This guide is designed to help project & program consultants think strategically about how to respond and win.
People: The Key Factor of Project & Program Consulting
Your team's skills are crucial for your success in acquiring capital works projects. Effective strategies include:
- Specialized & Project Relevant Skills Display: Everyone else has client side project managers on the roster. You must highlight your project manager's relevant abilities in areas essential for the specific capital works project, such as competence in managing construction or design activities around a school. Not everyone can appreciate a student's class timetable or angry school neighbours.
- Team Dynamics and Leadership: Focus on the teamwork skills and leadership qualities necessary for the team, from the assistant project manager right up to the project director. Each must have complementary skills and cover each other's gaps.
- Multiple Options for Key Personnel Introduction: Present multiple options for potential project leaders, emphasising your diversity 'on the bench' and giving the tender assessor a choice of skills and experience.
Methodology: Your unique approach to delivering Capital Works Projects
Your strategy for having a successful capital works project 'experience' with your client can make you stand out. Everyone says they can deliver the project, so focus on how your client will feel with you on the team if you are selected. Key aspects to highlight:
- Innovative Methods: Discuss how your methods use innovations and technologies that reduce friction, make life easy, and improve efficiency in capital works project management for your client. Think Building Information Modelling (BIM), drone and aerial surveying, AI-driven reporting, sustainable construction materials, virtual reality (VR) for project visualisation, real-time data analytics platforms, automated reporting systems, Internet of Things (IoT) for site monitoring, and modular or prefabricated construction techniques These innovations will make your client also look good internally.
- Project Control & Risk Management Expertise: Describe your team's skill in recognising and minimising risks by pre-identifying treatment strategies and how you have implemented these before. Highlight that doing critical tasks like this in a spreadsheet is a 'risk' and promote a digital solution, bringing this to the attention of those assessing responses. You'll get higher criteria score than everyone who nominated a boring old risk register in a spreadsheet.
- Value-Added Solutions: Explain how your methodology offers extra value, especially in the context of client side project management knowledge. As the client side project manager, your business should bring deep knowledge of the project's specific industry and functional areas. This specialised expertise enables you to provide tailored action around the project's foreseeable problems, design requirements and more. Knowledge unique to your firm and only your firm learned through decades of experience doing 'this exact type of project' is offered as part of your response. One good decision can save millions of dollars, and one bad decision the other way!
- Competitive Edge: Combining the above three things ensures you bring a compelling offering, but you must identify an edge ahead of your potential competitors. Express why your strategy is better than the rest, and without naming and shaming, ensure that 'going with anyone else' presents a huge risk.
Past Experience: Showing Success in Capital Projects
Your track record is proof of your firm's capabilities. Showcase this by:
- Relevant Case Studies: Select past projects that match the RFP's scope, showing your success as client side project managers in capital projects where you delivered a similar experience. We always recommend sharing screenshots of your experience, such as dashboards, reports or other 'experiential' content you can sanitise and share.
- Client Testimonials: Include testimonials showing your firm's excellence in managing capital projects. Try to get a CEO, CFO or high-level executive.
Pricing: Indicating the Quality and Value of Your Services
Competitive and realistic pricing indicates the quality of your services in capital project management. If you've positioned your value high, your prospective client will be willing to pay for it.
- Value Proposition: Link your pricing with the methodologies and technologies used, highlighting the value a seasoned client side project manager brings.
- Return on Investment: Never present your costings until you've positioned your value and how that value is translated into an actual dollar return. This helps to prime the reader into viewing your costing as value for money relative to your service offering as the top client side project management firm
- Transparent fees: Provide detailed fee breakdowns that show a thorough understanding of the project to show you have nothing to hide. This builds trust with your prospective client.
It's fine to be more expensive if you've positioned your value higher
Winning a client side project management role via tender or RFP in the project and program consulting space can be challenging. It requires a strategic approach and a point of difference in a world where everyone offers the same. By effectively emphasising the points raised in this article across People, Methodology, Past Experience, and Pricing and stressing the value of your client side project management firm, you will position yourself as the ideal partner for managing and executing capital projects successfully.