Storyboarding the Process


Storyboards are a tool that everyone recommends, but hardly anyone does—especially now with the resources provided by the internet. But, a traditional storyboard can still be a helpful way to organize ideas. It is a shot-by-shot layout of how the proposal will be written and helps to ensure that the proposal team is working together to communicate a common message to the customer. There are two major benefits of using storyboards:


  1. Storyboards are a great way to secure your thoughts. More elaborate than simple notes, storyboards show the flow of ideas into the final product. I cannot tell you how often I have been in a meeting and, after a long brainstorming session, we finally come to our all-important “a-ha!” moment only to have no idea exactly how we got there. Drawing out your flow as you have it explains and records not just your idea, but the thought process. When writing your proposal, draw out each idea and map how it transforms into the final product.


  1. Similarly, a storyboard can capture entire strategies. Rather than just showing what the end result is going to be, it answers the all-important question: how? When responding to an RFP, it is not enough to simply say you will do something; it is important to give the details. By mapping out the writing process for your team to follow, you are ensuring that the entire plan is captured in a clear way.


The most important reason we storyboard is communication—communication to the team and communication to people outside the process, such as teaming partners and executive-level management. With the strategy and ideas securely captured, everyone will be on the same page when it comes time to write the proposal. It exists throughout the process and is available for reference at each and every step. It is also there to ensure that the team complies with the process the proposal and capture managers have laid out. With the storyboard established, it is much harder to deviate from the group and delay the proposal.


Perhaps most important to the use of a storyboard is the compliance and consistency in message. When writing, we all have moments of distraction or tangent that can distract from our message or purpose. Even the proposal manager or capture manager can be the victim of their own process. That is where the storyboard comes in. Having a detailed, piece-by-piece representation of the process keeps the message consistent across the board, and prevents deviations.


When creating your storyboard, begin with the capture plan, proposal plan, and outline provided by the proposal manager. Spread your main ideas out from there in a horizontal line from beginning to end. Then add details from there, spreading vertically from your main ideas. Remember to be visual with your storyboard; take a page from filmmakers and use easy-to-understand and quick-reference illustrations and symbols.


Storyboarding the proposal is a simple and tested way to keep a proposal on track. With all the technology at our fingertips, it may no longer be a big sheet of paper posted on a wall in the war room, but the principles are the same. Keep you and your team organized and on task when writing by having the process laid out in front of you in an easy-to-read storyboard.

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