How To Make My ConOps Clear and Persuasive
Most ConOps solutions are complex, multidimensional and multivariable. Frequently, ConOps explanations are requested for Government proposal submissions. With such a multifaceted topic, how do you explain your ConOps in a way that your audience (evaluator) understands?
There are two reasons why most ConOps explanations fail.
Do not include content, acronyms, and abbreviations that may confuse your audience. Keep it simple and clearly identify any benefits, outcomes, and discriminators (things that set your solution apart from your competition).
ConOps graphics are often a combination of multiple graphic types. The audience, content and message drive graphic type selection. however, most ConOps graphics fall into three graphic categories:
A. Graphic types that show how parts relate to the whole process or system. Use this approach as a roadmap throughout your document. Highlight each element and explain each in greater detail at the beginning of relevant sections throughout your document (see the temple graphic below). The following are two examples of graphics that show parts relating to a whole:
B. Graphic types that literally show the system in use. These graphics use photographs, drawings, schematics, floorplans, models, and other visuals that remain true to reality to depict your ConOps. The following two examples illustrate how each system functions in a real-world scenario:
C. Graphic types that show process. Show how your system combines data, structures workflow, allows for continual improvement, manages risk, or offers a unique process flow using these graphic types. The following graphics illustrate the process through which the final outcome is reached:
Add other graphic types within your ConOps graphic as needed. For example, consider gauge graphics to show quantitative data (shown below).
Ask someone that is similar to your target audience to review and explain your ConOps graphic to you. Do they understand it well enough to articulate the presented solution? If so, you are on the right path. If not, use their feedback to improve your ConOps graphic.
(1) Summarized from Wikepedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concept_of_operations) and my own experience
Mike Parkinson, PPF.APMP, is an internationally recognized visual communications expert and APMP Fellow. He is a partner at 24 Hour Company (www.24hrco.com) specializing in bid-winning proposal graphics. His Billion Dollar Graphics web site (www.BillionDollarGraphics.com), "Billion Dollar Graphics" book, and Get My Graphic website (www.GetMyGraphic.com) share best practices and helpful tools with proposal professionals. Contact Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 703-533-7209.
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