Providing Quality from the Start

A friend of mine recently told me of his disappointment about an RFT (request for tender) his organisation had released for a mobile app. The returning tendors all said 'that's fine, we can do that inside your budget'.

Great my friend thought, except he'd cited a budget that could never afford the items requested in the RFP. This way he could sort the good agencies from the bad ones.

What he was really interested in was advice, guidance and new ideas that would help him form a lasting relationship with his new supplier.

With a new project on the horizon, I agreed to help him.

The first version

Leaving the RFP sparse and only discussing the project's goals forces the respondents to either ask more questions, or provide a shot in the dark cost. In my experience, prospects are only too happy to answer questions about their projects and it's rarely seen as a negative if further questions are asked (and if it is, you do not want to be working with them).

Those that offer a shot in the dark, discard.

The final version

Unfortunately his superiors didn’t agree and insisted on including all their ideas. And low and behold, all the tender's that came in promised them exactly what they were looking for. Few actually asked any questions, and some, ignored the open source request all together and recommend their proprietary systems. That made me particularly angry and completely ignored the college's business objectives.

There were no fresh ideas, no understanding of the college's challenges or climate and no recommendations for a long-term strategy.

At this point, I was allowed to talk to the college's senior stakeholders and after, was invited to present to the board. My agency won the project and the website launched with a roadmap for the future.

Prospects and clients may think they know what they want, but they want your expertise and guidance more.