Three takeaways for adhering to deadlines and creating accountability in an SBIR proposal preparation team

  • August 8, 2023

We have posted in the past about the importance of adhering to deadlines for submitting a proposal on time. This is important not only in terms of the stated deadlines for submission but also from a project management standpoint. Our team recently underwent professional development training to become more proficient in our Project Management skills. We learned much through our certificate course and even more from personal experience with clients. Internal deadlines are equally important, and there is a measure of accountability required from leadership to ensure that all team members complete their assigned work on time.

#1. set your SBIR project deadlines at the beginning of the project (onboarding) and ensure everyone is aware of their role and anticipated deliverables the team needs to do the work.

Basic project management dictates that there are internal and external deadlines. There is a breakdown of tasks required to get to the end goal (in this case, a cohesive grant proposal), and each item must be completed by the deadline to ensure all other tasks can be completed on time.

For example, it is impossible to start writing the “team” section of the SBIR proposal if a client cannot get back to us with a team roster by the stated deadline. This then impacts the completion of other proposal components, such as the breakdown of work and activities performed by each team member in the grant or collecting biographical sketches and other ancillary documents from personnel on time.

#2. Be sure you have an SBIR-savvy project manager

Our service package includes expertise in project management and our team’s high-level organizational skills and ability to keep clients on track. When members of a client team fail to provide their deliverables or complete their tasks on time, it impacts the entire scope of the project. It reduces the certainty of submitting a competitive proposal on time.

Without the deliverables in hand by the target date, our team does not have the necessary resources to provide our deliverables to the client. We do our best to coach and position clients in a way that gives them a competitive edge over other applicants, but there is only so much we can do when a team does not agree to or adhere to project deadlines.

#3. Learn from past experiences in which SBIR deadlines were not met and create a plan for improvement in the future

While it can be agonizing to watch a client continuously fail to meet deadlines, what we have learned from these interactions has been instrumental in our standard operating procedures for providing guidance to clients and managing our SBIR proposal projects and tasks.

Ultimately, the unhelpful habits of some of our past clients have allowed us to improve our product for those who are willing to put in the work. We have reconfigured our processes to include shared timelines, email reminders, and a set of mandatory client deliverables that each client is made aware of during onboarding. These processes have streamlined proposal preparation immensely, and we are thrilled to have received positive feedback from clients who were part of this new process.

We work with high-growth startups and organizations that support the startup and innovation ecosystem. We build highly specific non-dilutive funding menus, provide proposal preparation services, and measure outcomes of funding through evaluation. Schedule a consult call with us HERE.