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Planning and coordination > Planning and coordination - Pg. 83

Managing the Bid 83 task undertaken by technical experts or senior managers, while promotional material, CVs and so forth are produced and maintained by technical or secretarial staff. Some firms bring in specialist writers and consultants to mastermind bids and facilitate the production of technical input. Others may have no system at all either for managing the necessary resources or for allocating bid responsibilities: in some cases, the work of preparing a bid will be given to any staff member who happens to be around or has downtime between contracts ­ not a recipe for success. In large contracting organizations, bid skills are often recognized as a specialist resource supplied by staff who spend most of their time writing and developing bids. A multi-skill firm may support a group of bid specialists sufficiently versed in the technical background of its activity to be able to draft sections of text and edit material from other experts and senior man- agers. They may also have the job of keeping promotional material, CVs and project records up to date and fine-tuning this material to the requirements of each bid. This type of unit is found most commonly in firms where large- scale contracts tend to overlap divisional boundaries, though an aversion to central overheads has reduced its incidence. One proviso that has to be made about using bid-writing specialists is the need for them to keep in touch with the practical realities of managing projects and the challenges of meeting deadlines, especially in difficult work environments. If bid writers grow isolated from the day-to-day mechanics of contracts, they risk making poor judgements about time schedules and staff inputs, which can put in jeopardy both the professional results of the assign- ment and its financial outcome. The bid writer has a responsibility to be realistic about what can be achieved in the time available. Bid writing should alternate with project work, and practical experience needs to be fed back into bids. The use of a bid manager provides the structured approach required by businesses that have to deal with a continual flow of invitations to tender. Bid management may be a full-time job or a role taken by the person best suited to match the particular requirements of each bid ­ for example, the proposed team leader or project director, or the individual who knows most about the technical demands of the work. The bid manager may serve the firm as a whole or one or more of its constituent parts: his or her time may be devoted exclusively to bids, pre-qualification documents and marketing activities or it may include participation in project work. Precisely how the responsibilities of bid management are best handled is a matter that each firm has to determine for itself. The bid manager's role has six main priorities: structuring, coordinating and motivating the bid team; driving the work forward and ensuring that input is developed on time and to the required standard; obtaining any specialist information and input that may need to come from external sources or contractors associating in the bid;