Monday, April 5, 2010

Red-teaming: Improve Your Chances Of Winning The Business

In this article, Dr. Earl R. Smith II talks about using Red Teaming practices to increase a company's chances of winning bids / businesses.

Dr. Smith, a consultant and advisor to many corporate houses argues for the use of red teaming techniques to evaluate and modify a proposal so that the chances of winning the business are higher. He however, does not provide any examples of where this has actually succeeded in this article.

Red Teaming a Proposal the Dr Smith Way:

Putting together a Red Team:

Each red-team is tailor-made for the company, the client and the RFP.

According to Dr. Smith - the only reliable way to make sure the proposal is well focused and provides what the client (whose business is sought) requires is to have it reviewed by a truly objective panel which views it through the eyes of the client. This he says is the core of the process.

Scheduling the Red Team evaluation:

For a red team to effectively contribute and to allow for maximum benefit to the proposal team, Dr. Smith suggests that the red teaming should be scheduled far ahead of the due date of the proposal.

Evaluating the proposal:

The red team evaluates the proposal as if they are being asked to award the business; looking for weaknesses and strengths and checking to make sure threshold questions are addressed.

If the proposal has serious problems or if they think it is off base, they will question and respond in a way the client normally would.

Improving the proposal:

But unlike a client; they are on board to help improve the chances of winning. So after the evaluation, they also provide a critique which helps the team improve the proposal, value proposition, presentation and therefore the chances of winning the business.

Some Guidelines for Forming and Running a Red Team Review:

  • Because of their experience, members of red-teams emulate the process and mindset of the clients that the company is going to present to.
  • At least three people serve on each team.
  • They are knowledgeable in the company's space.
  • Team members must have no significant prior connection with the company that is presenting.
  • They must be willing and able to commit the necessary time and attention to the process.
  • Red team members are given at least a week to read the materials to be used in the presentation and do a bit of personal research.
  • Team members must be committed to helping improve the chances of getting the business.


The focus of this article seems to be more on providing information on red teaming techniques for prospective clients. Hence it provides a rather broad overview of red teaming. Though the author does mention a couple of examples of proposals that failed because they did not go through a red team evaluation, he does not mention any examples where red teaming has either helped improve or win a bid. The article could have been more compelling if it had had such examples.

1 comment:

  1. Nimalan, I agree with your assessment, where are the examples? There are so many articles that talk about the strengths and weaknesses to red teaming, and I have not read one yet where someone gave an example of how red teaming made their plan more successful given the necessary investments of time and money. I'm beginning to wonder if red teaming is more useful as a methodology or a way to keep consultants in business.