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Featured KSI Institute Faculty Article: 10 Keys to Effective Stand Up Proposal Meetings

Posted by on Monday, April 7th, 2014

By Jim McCarthy, Principal Owner and Technical Director of AOC Key Solutions, Inc. (KSI)

We have all been there: Stand-up meetings that began with such promise, but over time they languished until we came to dread them as time wasters. Here are 10 keys to making your stand-up meetings effective for everyone:

  • Actually stand up. Don’t let anyone settle in their seats for a session of gridlock. They’re called “stand-up meetings” for a reason. Keep ‘em standing and they will want to adjourn quickly.
  • Use a Plan of the Week (POW)/Plan of the Day (POD). Start each week and each day with a forecast of coming events, priorities and deliverables for the week or for the day.
  • Have an agenda. Use a standard agenda to create a daily rhythm and fast-paced tempo.
  • Operate from a punch list. Use this tool to track and enforce action items and deadlines. Don’t review all items, just those due soon, due today or are overdue.
  • Use the parking lot. If an issue can’t be solved in two minutes or less, park it. Resolve it off line. Then communicate the response at tomorrow’s meeting or via another forum.
  • Ensure face time for the client. Make sure a formal part of each stand-up meeting is devoted to remarks by the capture manager, program manager, or senior executive.
  • Stay on topic. If the meeting starts to focus on something that may be important, but is of interest to only a few, then you are off track. Only topics of universal interest should be discussed at these sessions.
  • Seize the initiative. If something is going wrong or doesn’t quite feel right, your job as proposal manager is to call it out.      Identify the elephant in the room. Don’t personalize the elephant, but name it. Consider issuing a “Red Flag” to get management’s attention.
  • End with a request for feedback. I use a segment called “Upon  Further Review…”. This enables the team to look backwards and forwards and point out any concerns or issues for the good of the group.
  • Keep your meetings to 20 minutes max. Sure, there are exceptions, but if your stand-ups routinely run more than 20 minutes, you may be experiencing “meeting creep”. Better to end your general standup on schedule and convene a second meeting with a smaller group to handle a complex issue.

Jim McCarthy is the Founder and Principal Owner of AOC Key Solutions. His career spans 30 years of marketing strategy creation,  proposal development, and oral presentation coaching to federal contractors. 

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