Managing a Presales Project: How Different Is It?

Paul is a project manager in Madrid, Spain.

In project management, we generally talk about managing projects that were sold to our customers. But how about the management of a presales project? Is that just like managing any other project? I mean the presales project itself, from request for quotation (RFQ) to proposal—not the preparation of the delivery project. Is managing such a project much different? Do we have the same constraints? Is it less stressful? More fun, perhaps?

A little background: In my 20 years of experience in telco and IT, I have jumped back and forth between delivery and presales. I presented solutions to customers, delivered projects and sometimes even sold solutions that I had to deliver myself. In some companies, the presales project manager may be called bid manager; to differentiate between roles, let’s use this naming here.

As an example, an RFQ has to be answered with a solution proposal and a price. When this RFQ comes in, the assigned bid manager quickly has to scan through the requirements to identify who should own it (it won’t make much sense to send the RFQ to the wireless department if the customer is looking for, say, solar panels).

It’s also important to identify early what type of additional support is required—if services are requested, we must involve the services department as soon as possible. If some components have to come from …

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