Search

Must know points for writing RFP



Request for Proposals the process of documentation and solicitation that communicates your organization's need or availability for a certain service and invites various vendors to submit proposals in consideration for the opportunity. An RFP is a document that lists out all the requirements and needs of a project. Companies create an RFP for upcoming projects, as a form of a proposal to potential contractors and agencies. These contractors and agencies then bid to win the contract, based on the requirements of the RFP.

If your company is frequently contracting outside hires to accomplish projects, it's important you understand how to write an RFP, how to distribute it, and how to evaluate the RFP responses. An RFP is how your company presents itself to professional contacts, and you should take great care that it's done correctly. Creating an RFP is a multi-step process that involves external communication and RFP contract negotiations. From an amateur's perspective, there are countless ways to get this wrong.


Who writes the RFP?

A request for proposal is an employee's opportunity to advocate for themselves, their team, and what they need. Being so, an RFP should be written by the main stakeholders in a project. For example, you wouldn't ask the head of finance to write an RFP for a new website design. This would be assigned to the team that most often works with the company website, such as the site administrator or the content team, depending.

Request for Proposals the process of documentation and solicitation that communicates your organization's need or availability for a certain service and invites various vendors to submit proposals in consideration for the opportunity. An RFP is a document that lists out all the requirements and needs of a project. Companies create an RFP for upcoming projects, as a form of proposal to potential contractors and agencies. These contractors and agencies then bid to win the contract, based on the requirements of the RFP.

Write the RFP: Like a CV or resume, an RFP has a format. They'll change from one author to the next, but it's wise to follow a common formula so vendors know what to expect from the document. Number one tip for an RFP is that you're doing it to achieve something - and the better you can describe what you're trying to achieve the more likely you are to be able to make apples to apple comparison between vendors or partners. If you leave things too broad, it becomes almost impossible to compare options equally and you're almost certainly going to make a less informed choice. It's the number one reason we see projects have budget or scope issues, is because the objective gets refined throughout the engagement rather than being defined adequately from the start." There have been incidences where the RFP was not properly outlined by doing thorough Market research which ended up in selecting an incompetent vendor as per RFP criteria. Drafting an RFP is the most crucial step. Too much detailing on the specifications and eligibility results in single/few competent vendors leaving a room for oligopoly or cartels.els...es you already know can do the work.

A Brief RFP process overview


We will dive into the specifics of this process in following chapters, but here is an overview to provide quick understanding into the key steps of creating an RFP.

Determine needs: When writing an RFP, you're essentially writing a "help wanted" ad. You should be able to communicate things about the project such as skills needed, objectives project, and the timeline in which it should be completed. Clearly communicating your needs will help narrow RFP applicants down to the most qualified.


Market Research: Documenting your market research in an RFP saves time, energy and money. Market research helps an RFP writer to be concise and specific about the requirements. Sometimes a vaguely drafted RFP results in loose selection because of broad criteria or no competent bidders because of unrealistic specs. The problem with not being specific in an RFP is that the proposals you get back will also tend to be vague, non-committal, and have a higher risk of proposing something that you weren’t looking for at all. At the end of the day, you may wind up with no viable proposals or no ability to meaningfully compare the proposals that come in, because they’re all over the map. A better approach is to do some homework upfront about the firms you want to send the RFP to. Check out their websites, ask around to colleagues who may have used them in the past, and don’t be afraid to e-mail or call the firms themselves ahead of time to get a feel for their general capabilities or to solicit some ideas. Use that stage to broadly qualify your RFP recipient list, then use the RFP to choose the best option among places you already know can do the work.

Market Research: Documenting your market research in an RFP saves time, energy and money. Market research helps an RFP writer to be concise and specific about the requirements. Sometimes a vaguely drafted RFP results in loose selection because of broad criteris or no competent bidders because of unrealistic specs. The problem with not being specific in an RFP is that the proposals you get back will also tend to be vague, non-committal, and have a higher risk of proposing something that you weren’t looking for at all. At the end of the day, you may wind up with no viable proposals or no ability to meaningfully compare the proposals that come in, because they’re all over the map. A better approach is to do some homework upfront about the firms you want to send the RFP to. Check out their websites, ask around to colleagues who may have used them in the past, and don’t be afraid to e-mail or call the firms themselves ahead of time to get a feel for their general capabilities or to solicit some ideas. Use that stage to broadly qualify your RFP recipient list, then use the RFP to choose the best option among places you already know can do the work.

Write the RFP: Like a CV or resume, an RFP has a format. They'll change from one author to the next, but it's wise to follow a common formula so vendors know what to expect from the document. Number one tip for an RFP is that you're doing it to achieve something - and the better you can describe what you're trying to achieve the more likely you are to be able to make an apples to apple comparison between vendors or partners. If you leave things too broad, it becomes almost impossible to compare options equally and you're almost certainly going to make a less informed choice. It's the number one reason we see projects have budget or scope issues, is because the objective gets refined throughout the engagement rather than being defined adequately from the start." There have been incidences where the RFP was not properly outlined by doing thorough Market research which ended up in selecting an incompetent vendor as per RFP criteria. Drafting an RFP is the most crucial step. Too much detailing on the specifications and eligibility results in single/few competent vendors leaving a room for oligopoly or cartels.


Write the RFP: Like a CV or resume, an RFP has a format. They'll change from one author to the next, but it's wise to follow a common formula so vendors know what to expect from the document. Number one tip for a RFP is that you're doing it to achieve something - and the better you can describe what you're trying to achieve the more likely you are to be able to make an apples to apples comparison between vendors or partners. If you leave things too broad, it becomes almost impossible to compare options equally and you're almost certainly going to make a less informed choice. It's the number one reason we see projects have budget or scope issues, is because the objective gets refined throughout the engagement rather than being defined adequately from the start." There have been incidences where the RFP was not properly outlined by doing thorough Market research which ended up in selecting an incompetent vendor as per RFP criteria. Drafting an RFP is most crucial step. Too much detailing on the specifications and eligibility results in single/few competent vendors leaving a room for oligopoly or cartels.


Distribute the RFP: Distributing your RFPs is a fine art. You want to send enough to get a decent response but not become overwhelmed with proposals. When coming up with a list of recipients, you should consider the realities where either not enough or too many organizations respond.


Evaluate Responses: This process is time-consuming but important. Your team of stakeholders should go through every response carefully to determine the best candidates. The process of narrowing down candidates is called "shortlisting." Once you have your shortlist, or a smaller group of applicants that submit proposals, you can begin scrutinizing them more carefully. If your organization submitted an RFI, you may have already created a shortlist and sent your RFP to a previously narrowed list. Either way, the evaluation step will look similar.


Evaluate Further: After shortlisting your options, there are still more questions to ask. Compare this to a second round of interviews. Vendors should be ready to provide additional details and perhaps even a demo. Pricing, as well as terms of the agreement, come into play here. At this step, stakeholders should have all information necessary to make a final decision.


Evaluate Further: After shortlisting your options, there are still more questions to ask. Compare this to the second round of interviews. Vendors should be ready to provide additional details and perhaps even a demo. Pricing, as well as terms of the agreement, come into play here. At this step, stakeholders should have all the information necessary to make a final decision.