Bid Management

Managing version control

When it comes to managing the bid process where a number of parties are involved, controlling the number of versions in circulation is crucial.  So how is this done effectively?


I’ve recently worked on a bid where there were a number of external parties to the project; each with their own style of writing, and each with their own approach.  We needed to be sure the correct document was in circulation at all times, and that the client’s desk didn’t become strewn with a number of ‘latest versions’.


I have to admit, it seemed daunting at the outset – how was this going to be managed without losing vital copy and retaining a professional approach with the client?


I engaged early in the process with the other writers to make sure we were all working to the same process - so that at all times we looked joined up to the client.  I discovered there were a number of simple things that we could do to achieve this:


  1. Be seen as the main contact – whilst all writers were employed on equal terms for different elements of the bid, it was important that all updates were sent to the client by only one of us.  This ensured consistency from the client’s view point and made sure that stylistically, the bid was consistent in approach.
  2. Agree the bid timeline at the outset – each writer had a different section of the bid to work on, and overseeing the timeline meant that everyone remained accountable. 
  3. Communicate – working alongside other bid writers was a great experience.  There is so much that can be learnt from others, even when they are deemed ‘competitors’.  By agreeing how the bid was to be run, agreeing to daily catch up calls and setting up a group email, made sure everyone was fully in the loop at all times.
  4. Maintain a master copy – unless everyone is working on the same IT system, or sharing the files through Dropbox, cloud systems and the like, then maintaining a master version really is the only way to make sure all amendments, updates and new copy are picked up. This also reduced the number of versions in circulation and being sent to the client.  From the client’s point of view, this this maintained our professionalism.
  5. Review in order – we planned a rota system for reviewing the document, so that no-one was missed and amendments and updates were not over written.


Not only did we achieve the best possible outcome for the client, but as bid writers, we now have new contacts to refer work to, and obtain a second opinion from.


By Bev Hulme, Bid Management Consultant.


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