First – what is an RFP? In this context an RFP (request for proposal) is a document, or collection of documents, that an organization would use to solicit bids from potential vendors on a specific job. If you have ever been through the RFP process you are well aware that it is a tired, worn and grueling road paved with the decaying bones of project managers and decision makers who fell prey to the notion that securing the perfect vendor would be as easy as submitting a simple request for proposal. While not the most tedious and painful facet in the world of project management creating an RFP ranks right up there with organizing color pallets and explaining “the internets” to elderly people.
In order for an RFP to “do the job” it needs to effectively articulate your unique and specific needs in a way that allows you to view your potential vendor’s bids in an “apples to apples” scenario. RFPs that are too vague are next-to worthless as they’ll end up falling victim to the interpretation of the vendors and you will find yourself with a broad range of bids with no common denominator with which to compare them. Welcome to our chicken and egg scenario. How do you adequately detail your development requirements in order to find the best possible team with which to work when half of the reason you want to work with a great team is so they can help you figure out what it is that you actually want / need / should probably have?
If you want to get this process done right (and right the first time) then you’re going to need to do some real work. This is where I can see my bounce rate sky rocket.
I’m not implying that you are “work averse” of course. You have way too much on your plate already! Half the reason that this RFP process came up in the first place was so you had the opportunity to off load some work on a highly competent, well priced, cutting edge dream vendor that is patiently waiting by his computer in eager anticipation of the RFP that you’re going to crank out in the next few hours. Here’s the cold, hard truth: even the best vendor in the world will be incapable of adequately communicating their value as it relates to your needs without proper and detailed specifications. If your RFP is lacking it means you’re going to miss that diamond in the rough.
So what’s the answer?
Instead of writing an RFP consider writing a website blueprint. No – you don’t need to be a developer. You just need to be willing to take the time it requires to think through and outline your specific needs. A website blueprint, when used as an RFP, is a perfect solution to the age old “RFP problem” as it enables you to put something in front of vendors that will give them a clear idea of what your requirements are from both a technical and philosophical perspective. The bids you receive will be easily compared as they’ll be based upon concrete requirements that detail your application’s primary scope of work. The best part of this scenario (as if it could get any better) is that you can use your website blueprint as the foundation for your scope of work once you aware the project.
The obvious question here is: How do I build a website blueprint?
Download my free eBook for step by step instructions! In my eBook you will learn:
- The four things every website should accomplish
- How to determine the right platform for your website
- Best practices for a successful build
- How to build a sitemap
- How to create functional wireframes
- …and so much more!
By using a website blueprint instead of an RFP you’re positioning yourself to receive higher quality proposals with more targeted information and geared toward your specific needs as an organization. You’ll also be allowing participating vendors a greater opportunity to showcase their value and creativity by giving them a better understanding what you want and a clear vision of your goals.
Don’t forget to include us on your list of participating vendors. We did write the book after all…
Feel free to download my free eBook: “How to create a website blueprint“! I’d love to hear your feedback…