Bid Project Management Tool

About the client

Kittle Group is a professional bid writing consultancy based in the UK. Since 2014, Kittle Group has been supporting companies to tender for public sector contracts with expert bid writing services, taking ownership of the whole bid writing process. Their clients range from small, family-run businesses and charities to global enterprise companies.

Industry Other Location UK Engagement period Dec 2022 - Aug 2023 Technologies React, Node.js, AWS

Business challenge

Difficulty creating optimal bid plans and tracking project progress

Kittle Group's bid writing

Kittle Group's bid writing projects typically contain multiple questions, each requiring various tasks like storyboarding, drafting, reviewing, and proofreading. These tasks are assigned to different team members who must adhere to word/page limits and question weights.

Bid managers at Kittle Group were manually creating bid schedules and planning the resource assignments and then using an Excel-based tracker to monitor the progress of these bid writing projects. This posed several inefficiencies:

1Bid planning was time-consuming and labour-intensive, requiring the bid manager to manually schedule work for each writer.

2The bid manager had to explore many permutations to come up with an optimal schedule to avoid overlap and over-assignment of work.

3The bid tracker needed frequent updates, causing delays as the bid manager had to regularly check with the team, leading to the tracker not reflecting real-time progress.

4Managing multiple bids simultaneously, each with hundreds of questions, was cumbersome with Excel-based trackers, as separate trackers for each bid had to be created and maintained.

The solution

Project goals

Kittle Group reached out to GoodCore to develop a specialised bid management tool to streamline activities around bid planning and tracking.

The project entailed the following requirements:

  • Automate the processes around bid planning and tracking to improve efficiency and reduce manual workload.
  • Design the tool to be highly scalable and flexible, keeping in mind Kittle Group’s vision to eventually transform the product into a SaaS offering for other businesses in the bid writing service industry.
  • Deliver a fully functional tool that would cover all necessary processes around bid management within a tight budget.

Discovery workshops

We started with a product discovery phase, during which we:

Prioritised the essential features to minimise costs and deliver a functional minimum viable product (MVP) suitable for Kittle Group's in-house use, while staying within budget.

Created visual wireframes to establish an intuitive and logical layout—ensuring user-friendly navigation was crucial especially in the bid plan because of the multiple parameters involved.

Developed mid-fidelity prototypes and a proof of concept to test technical feasibility and gather initial feedback from Kittle Group, guiding further development.

Developed a technical blueprint that would balance the need for automation with the requirement for customization, ensuring a robust foundation for development.

Discovery workshops

Product development challenges and solutions

Automating bid plan creation

Challenge #1: Automating bid plan creation

A critical component was to develop an automated bid plan generation feature. This feature had to efficiently create bid plans with optimal schedules based on the number of questions in the bid, the difficulty levels of those questions, the schedules of team members, and numerous other factors.

Solution: Sophisticated bid plan algorithm

To achieve this, we developed a custom algorithm tailored to the Kittle Group’s specific business rules. The algorithm analyses various parameters to generate the optimal bid plan, such as:

  • the schedules of individual writers, ensuring that task assignments align with their availability.
  • the complexity and importance of each question by assigning a weightage and priority level to each.
  • the estimated time required to complete each answer, ensuring the workload is balanced and realistic.
  • the sequential nature of the tasks. It recognises which stages of the bid writing process must precede others, ensuring a logical flow of task progression.

Once the algorithm processes these parameters, it generates an optimal plan that suggests how to complete the bid stages within the deadline and with the available resources. The generated plan allows for manual editing and fine-tuning.

During the algorithm design, we simulated real-world scenarios around resource constraints and bid schedules and observed how the algorithm performed when creating bid plans. We carefully reviewed our client's assessment of those bid plans and this helped us refine the algorithm to achieve the most optimised implementation to cater to complex real-world bid writing project requirements.

Challenge #2: Catering to a variety of user types

The bid management tool was required to meet the needs of multiple categories of users — bid managers, bid writers, and external subject matter experts (Kittle Group’s clients). It was imperative that the system offered tools and functionality suitable for each user type.

Solution: Role-based access

We implemented a role-based access control system for different user types to deliver personalised UX.

Role-based access
  • Bid manager’s dashboard to create bids, generate plans, manage task assignments, and decide the team composition for every bid.
  • Team members' dashboard to view their tasks, update the progress on their tasks and raise flags for any issues, which are then notified to the Bid Manager.
  • Client user access to interact with the system as subject matter experts to review the questions and execute their tasks.

Challenge #3: Ensuring algorithm reliability

Given its central role in the bid planning process, we had to ensure that the bid plan algorithm was bulletproof and would function reliably and not disrupt Kittle Group's critical business operations.

Ensuring algorithm reliability

Solution: Automated and rigorous testing

To address this, we went the extra mile to unit test the algorithm code because it was the heart of the application. We integrated SonarQube into our CI/CD pipeline to maintain high code quality and security standards. Our deployment process included automated unit testing, ensuring that any code failing these tests would not proceed to the deployment stage.

Challenge #4: Ensuring scalability for a future SaaS product

A key challenge in the product development phase was ensuring that the bid management tool was scalable, keeping in mind Kittle Group’s aspiration to eventually launch it as a SaaS product. Scalability was essential to accommodate a growing number of users and organisations without compromising performance or functionality. The solution needed to be robust enough to evolve from an internal tool to a multi-tenant SaaS platform, catering to clients in the bid writing industry.

Solution: Modular architecture to support multi-tenancy in the future

To address this challenge, we designed the application with a modular architecture. This approach allows the system to support a multi-tenant setup in the future. The architecture is designed to scale horizontally and it can handle an increasing number of tenants without significant changes to the architecture. Additionally, we implemented role-based access control (RBAC) within the system. This feature not only serves the current authorisation needs but is also extendable to support a multi-tenant platform. This forward-thinking design ensures that the system can seamlessly transition and adapt to the new business model of the Kittle Group in the future.

Ensuring scalability for a future SaaS product

The project with GoodCore Software certainly met my expectations. They created what we asked them to. We're testing the MVP internally for now, so we haven't seen the impact yet. Overall, everything went well; we're thrilled with the product and output. We thoroughly enjoyed the process with them.

Sam Nimmo

Sam Nimmo, Director

Kittle Group


The impact

The MVP of the bid management tool has been successfully launched and is now being used internally by the Kittle Group. This tool has significantly improved their bid management process in several ways:

  • The automated bid planning feature now enables Kittle Group to create optimal bid schedules without manually working out a large number of permutations and combinations of resource availability across multiple bid activities.
  • Necessary communications related to each bid are now automated, ensuring timely and consistent updates.
  • The tool offers real-time updates on the bid process, helping to keep all team members and stakeholders informed.
  • This new system has streamlined business operations, improved efficiency, and reduced human errors, enhancing the overall productivity for our client.

Kittle Group is collecting user feedback to refine and enhance the tool further. The ultimate goal is to test and refine the tool through internal use and then launch it as a SaaS product. This expansion will open up new market opportunities, allowing Kittle Group to offer this solution to others in the bid writing industry, thereby scaling their business and providing a valuable tool to the wider market.

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