The Pink Team usually occurs after storyboard/annotated mock-up process step completion.

The proposal Pink Team objective is to provide the proposal team with constructive, actionable guidance that will increase proposal evaluation ratings/scores. In many companies, the Pink Team Review is a review of the first written draft of the proposal. However, depending upon your organization, this review can take several forms: 1) annotated outline with detail where available; 2) story boards with outline, thematic opening statements and graphics concepts; 3) first compiled draft of the proposal; and 4) more than 75% completed proposal product. For the purposes of this discussion, we will focus on the first draft Pink Team review.

Pink Team Version Production

An independent team is asked to perform a Pink Team review on a complete set of proposal mock-ups or a completed proposal first draft. Mock-ups are not under configuration control; therefore, the module author is responsible for:

  • Completing the text
  • Obtaining graphics from the proposal coordinator
  • Interleafing or pasting up the graphics
  • Submitting a hard copy to the Proposal Coordinator.
  • The Proposal Coordinator compiles the module mock-ups, creates a master copy, then produces a copy for: each Pink Team participant plus one master comment copy and the Capture Team Manager(s)

Proposal Manager and the Proposal Coordinator

The coordinator assembles the Pink Team book using the intended final tab plan and outline as the table of contents. Missing mock-ups should be noted to avoid confusing the reviewers. When possible, at least one section should be formatted with color and graphics so the reviewers get a sense of the final product.

Pink Team Participants

Ideally, Pink Team reviews are independent of the proposal development process. Typical Pink Team composition includes:

  • Former customer personnel that were affiliated with the program/mission
  • At least one representative from each teammate organization, preferably with proposal experience
  • The Program Manager or his designee when available
  • The Pink Team chair — an experienced proposal review team leader

Technical and recent, relevant, hands-on programmatic expertise is also needed to adequately assess whether your approaches are correct and your experience is relevant; i.e., are you answering the mail and in a way that will appeal to the review board? Pink Team members are furnished, via (email or mail), with the RFP to study prior to review participation.

Pink Team Review Execution – When, Where, What and How

When — The review occurs per the schedule in the proposal management plan. The Capture Manager is responsible for identifying review team participants.

Pink Team, including the debrief, should take no longer than two days.

Where — Pink Teams should convene where there is minimal interface with the proposal team. This can be accomplished by conducting the review in an off-site (non-proposal room) location, or giving proposal team leave while the review is being conducted. Breakout meeting and reviewing space is recommended.

What and How – The Pink Team review focus is on:

  • Compliance — Does the outline follow the instructions and the evaluation criteria? Are the headings/answers easy to find?
  • Accuracy — Is the author presenting the correct answer and is the answer clear?
  • Graphics — Do the visuals, or stated graphics concepts, effectively communicate our approach and experience?
  • Benefits — Does the customer get any benefit from your approach or experience?
  • Presentation — Is the presentation logical and is the space used wisely?
  • Competitiveness — Is your offer better or appealingly different from the competitors likely offers?

The Pink Team review process is determined by the review team lead. Regardless of the review methodology, the Pink Team must, at a minimum, develop and present to the proposal team:

  • One Pink Team comment form for each module, factor and sub factor
  • List of proposal show stoppers
  • List of recommended fixes

Proposal Review Discrepancy Report (Word version)

The Proposal Manager develops the forms to be completed by the review team. In addition to the section-by-section critique, the Pink Team is encouraged to provide global comments on the proposal as a whole, and summarize the strengths and weaknesses, including showstoppers.

Pink Team members should make specific comments in their review copies — documented recommended corrections, additions and pointed questions. Comments such as “so what,” “why” and “wrong” are of little use to the proposal team.

Often the proposal team has specific issues to bring to the Pink Team for consultation. The Proposal and the Capture Manager develop this ad hoc list of additional Pink Team issues, which come from the authors and In-Process Reviews (IPR). Typical focused inquiries for Pink Team consideration include:

  • Is the concept of operations clear and correct?
  • Are specific themes effective and appropriate?
  • Does the team adequately cover the scope?
  • Does it make sense?
  • Which key person should you propose (given a set of alternatives)?
  • Which project descriptions should you present (given a set of alternatives)?
  • Is the proposal as presented compliant in both outline and page allocation (Pink Team is usually too early for a sound assessment of the content compliance)?

Pink Team Debrief

The debrief is attended by the Proposal Manager, Capture Manager, Proposal Coordinator, volume/section leads and module authors, SMEs and a representative from publishing. The manner of Pink Team debrief is determined by the Pink Team leader. The leader can present the entire debrief in meeting format using comment forms as a handout. Alternatively, debrief can consist of many presenters, but only one presenter per factor or sub factor, using a projected presentation. The proposal team is to listen, but not engage the presenter except to get clarification of the Pink Team comments. Also, the Pink Team members should be reminded to give constructive criticism. In other words, point out both what was done well and what needs improvement as opposed to criticizing the writer.

The Pink Team may identify some modules that require a face-to-face debrief with the author. These debriefs are attended by the Proposal Manager as well as the affected Pink Team members, author, volume lead, section lead, and SMEs. The purpose is to have one clear direction for the module as the meeting output. An action plan is developed and documented at the meeting. The Proposal Manager and section leads oversee the implementation of the module recovery action plan.

Following debrief, the Proposal Coordinator “strips the books.” Which means, the coordinator collects the Pink Team books, if presented in hard copy, and extracts the pages with comments and organizes them by module author. The comment forms are likewise compiled for distribution to the correct author. If electronic files were issued to the team, the Coordinator parses the files and returns the comment sheets and the sections back to the authors electronically.

Comment Disposition

The Proposal Manager reviews the comments with the Capture Manager and extracts the substantive comments and recommendations that require disposition. Yes, there are often silly review team comments that warrant no expenditure of the author’s time to resolve. The comments that need resolution are input on a disposition tracking form.

The Proposal Manager then meets with each module author to distribute Pink Team comments and discuss the list of comments requiring formal disposition. This is informally referred to as a recovery plan. When the author incorporates all assigned comments, the author provides the disposition matrix to the Proposal Manager to demonstrate how the author addressed the comment or why they did not address the comment. The proposal coordinator maintains and tracks the master disposition tracking form until all comments are resolved. This form is one of the inputs to the Red Team review process.

– Melanie Baker & Mike Lisagor