Like references, organizational charts (hereafter, "org charts") are good to assemble pre-proposal. Before you get wild with the connecting lines and hierarchies, there is subtext to consider.

Most purchasers are interested in the team you've created to satisfy similar projects/product requests, but they're also concerned with the future site- or account-specific team they'll see fulfilling contract duties.

This creates an obvious dilemma: How do you showcase a team that doesn't exist yet? We'll touch on this further down below.

The Team


Assembling the project team is not as intuitive as you may first guess because of these considerations:

  • Should you include or nominate the entire executive or C-suite team to the project?
  • What does the purchaser actually request from you? Resumes/CVs for everyone or only a select few?
  • If you have gaps in project fit, should you go out and find freelance consultants to fill these gaps? And should you create contracts with these individuals prior to the bid effort?
  • Say the project demands 2-3 designers and you only have 1 available on staff. Will you burden that FTE person with a full project workload? What happens to their other work?
  • What about turnover and people moving around during the execution of the project?

Thinking Like a Government Agency

Government agencies prefer order over chaos, simplification over complexity, and specificity over generality.

The project team should be structured to address: 1) the scope of work and 2) any risks involved with the project. That's it. SMEs and consultants should only be included if they will have a direct connection to the project's success, be visible to the client, and so forth.

Description Layers

Team members usually appear in multiple sections of a proposal. Similarly, they need to be introduced to the purchaser and evaluative team in different formats. There is the Overview format, which is more of a list, the Summary format, and the Resume/CV format. Highlighting a team member in all three shows a commitment and dedication to the project, whereas, only highlighting in 1-2 shows a utility that covers just the scope of work.

Many purchasers and government agencies ask for a "narrative organizational chart." Description layers and the formats listed above are not that. Narrative org charts are more like paragraphs that blend everyone together in a coherent, legible format, with responsibilities mapped out. They're easier to write once the graphical part of the org chart is complete.

The Graphics

There is a balance to consider:

  • You'll want to simply communicate the main points: name, title, relation to others, and a color (optional) showing department or function.
  • The RFP title and number is fine, but adding objects like technology (for an IT bid) or planes (for an airport-related project) will distract from the overall graphic.
  • You'll want to have names for managers, but individual staff members can be generic.

Do's and Don'ts

The above is a Don't because of the lack of critical information. You'll want to express names, and if you really need to show your business development or sales teams, consider developing two types of org chart: the project-based chart and the corporate-level chart.

The one above is another Don't chart, since it shows very little about the account management side of the business. It also makes the titles harder to see with the varying font sizes.

If you're a small team, this is another Don't. The ranking/hierarchy is confusing and there are some formatting errors (such as double spacing).

The chart below is one created for a TKS client (so, a Do), and lists whether the personnel listed is an employee or contractor. It also has colors for each division, and properly communicates hierarchy and the chain of command.

Showing Future Hires

You can either make this confidential, show titles like "Supervisor" or describe a sample supervisor's qualifications. To put it another way, there is a spectrum for how much information is possible to share for future/un-hired employees or FTEs. You can also create a graphic placeholder for that future person and create a narrative that dives into the process for finding this person, how they'll be on-boarded, and ultimately, how they'll be introduced to the project/engage with stakeholders.

Questions or requests for org chart development can be made to:

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