05 JAN 23
Is the Bid Room dead?

Now that the dust has mostly settled from the pandemic, what does the bidding environment look like in the new world order?
We discussed the potential for this in our blog in July 2021. As a follow-up, we recently ran a poll to understand people’s preference for where they work on a bid. Not surprisingly, the results showed that bidding is little different to any other business, where the results showed:

  • Hybrid 43%
  • Virtual 33%
  • Bid Room 18%
  • Office 6%

It is clear from these results, that over three quarters of bid professional prefer to work in a more dispersed manner. But is that the most productive way to work on a bid?
In theory, gathering the whole team together in a single bid room, totally focused on developing the proposition and writing a compelling proposal is the ideal. However, not only is this unrealistic (and never has been), but also such draconian measures do not get the best productivity from people, and certainly does not meet most people’s aspirations for a work-life balance.
What was the purpose of a physical bid room? To gather together the people and the information necessary in a single place, where communication, discussion and review are easy. The world has moved on, and technology now enables easy information sharing and communication. So, we have drifted into an online bid environment using the technology, but without any strategy or training.
However, technology alone does not replace the physical gathering, where side conversations and ad hoc informal workshops happen. In the not-to-distant future, we may be able to resume centralised bid rooms in the Metaverse. We have been trialling this possibility using an established immersive virtual world, with very positive results.
But in the interim, most organisations will remain hybrid, in which case, exceptional management of people and process is vital and needs to be adapted to embrace the new way of working. Technology is helping to achieve this, but it is not a panacea. Accordingly, the role and skills of a bid manager and bid coordinator need to evolve in line with the new environment. Balancing the priorities of Task, Team and Individuals has moved to a whole new level of complexity, and existing bid managers and coordinators will need training in this fine art. Our specialist online training is in the final stages of development to address this.
For the rest of the team, working remotely depends heavily on trust, but this is difficult to build instantly when a new bid team is formed. A solution would be for bid team members to sign up to a charter, where they commit to delivering in accordance with the schedule.
We maintain that some face-to-face contact needs to be scheduled into the bid process, and the bid team members need to respect the schedule and ensure attendance. Ideally, this should be, as a minimum, the bid kick off meeting to ensure everyone understands their roles and responsibilities, and get to know the other team members.