Put the RFP Down
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Put the RFP Down

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RFPs can be useful. But when building complex custom websites, they can actually be more hurtful than helpful. ...

RFPs can be useful. But when building complex custom websites, they can actually be more hurtful than helpful.

This presentation is for two groups of people:

Clients who are planning on building a complex custom site on a CMS.

Vendors who want to stop responding to RFPs but are having trouble explaining why RFPs are detrimental to the development process.

There are better ways to do things, and hopefully this will explain how.

This is based on a presentation done at the Drupal Dojo. If you'd like to get the full experience, check out the webinar with my full presentation.
http://groups.drupal.org/node/84939

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Put the RFP Down Put the RFP Down Presentation Transcript

  • PUT DOWN THE RFP Beta! How to save your sanity and help yourself AND your clients lead happier and more fulfilling lives. Drupal Experts For Non-Profits Discover • Plan • Design • Build • Support Friday, August 13, 2010
  • MY NAME IS ADAM I’m a Partner / Business Development I’m a recovering responder to RFPs. (this is where you say “Hi Adam”) Friday, August 13, 2010
  • “He who fails to plan, plans to fail.” Old Italian Proverb Friday, August 13, 2010
  • FANCY TECHNICAL TERMS RFP Wikipedia says: A Request for Proposal (referred to as RFP) is an early stage in a procurement process, issuing an invitation for suppliers, often through a bidding process, to submit a proposal on a specific commodity or service. Discovery The process of investigating, developing and implementing a plan for your website needs. Deliverables could include wireframes, sitemap, feature specifications, user interviews, personas, etc and most importantly, f o r f l ag a Drupal Implementation Plan. l at er Friday, August 13, 2010
  • WHO IS THIS FOR? Smoother Sales Process Smoother Vendor Process Better Drupal Sales Better Drupal Website Better Client Relationships Better Vendor Relationships Save Time Save Time Save Sanity Save Sanity Friday, August 13, 2010
  • WHO IS THIS NOT FOR? If you have a flawless & If you are required by law to automated estimation process write an RFP and have no way that requires little analysis. to edit the process. If you have a pre-cog on staff If you find budgets exploding and who can read a clients future ever lowering expectations to be thoughts. tons of fun. Friday, August 13, 2010
  • WHO SHALL WE BLAME? THE PROCESS! Friday, August 13, 2010
  • I’M NOT A SORCERER RFPs are not going away. RFPs can be useful. RFPs are NOT evil. But, most RFPs, in the Drupal community, currently waste EVERYBODY’s time, money and energy. Friday, August 13, 2010
  • Official Boring Bullet Point Slide WHY RFPS ARE AWESOME (ACCORDING TO WIKIPEDIA) • Informs suppliers that your company is looking to procure and encourages them to make their best effort. • Requires the company to specify what it proposes to purchase. If the requirements analysis has been prepared properly, it can be incorporated quite easily into the Request document. for f lag l at er • Alerts suppliers that the selection process is competitive. • Allows for wide distribution and response. • Ensures that suppliers respond factually to the identified requirements. Friday, August 13, 2010
  • ADVOMATIC BUILDS DRUPAL SITES FOR GOOD CAUSES LOTS OF EM Friday, August 13, 2010
  • WE’VE WRITTEN A TON OF RFP RESPONSES IN OUR DAY 50+OF EM We won 5 RFP bids in 5 Years Friday, August 13, 2010
  • TIME DEVOTED TO RFPS 1-3 3-5 10-40 WEEKS STAFF HRS PER RFP PER RFP PER RFP ALL FOR FREE! Friday, August 13, 2010
  • 1 OUR OLD RFP PROCESS I find an RFP or a lead 2 sends one. Julie Analyzes, Does Free Discovery, Passes Developers a Vague Feature Specification 3 Developers, Themers & Sysadmins Analyze, Do Free Discovery, Guesstimate Client Needs, Write A Technical Plan & Estimate, Pass Back to Julie 4 Julie reformats, adds PM, QA, and Contingency. Contingency adds 33% to bottom line of project so client isn’t surprised later. We then approve and send our honest and forthright 30 page proposal to client. Friday, August 13, 2010
  • OUR OLD RFP PROCESS 5 Friday, August 13, 2010 X Profit!
  • OUR OLD RFP PROCESS RFP 5A We make it to final round of discussions with client. Executive sees our prices which is 33% higher FAIL than competitors. They go with competitor. Then scope balloons and they get mad at them. 5B RFP We get the gig. After going through a proper discovery process, we discover that their needs AIL are far beyond what the RFP said. F Then scope balloons and they get mad at us. Friday, August 13, 2010
  • This made us sad. The process was clearly fundamentally broken, and worse, it was making Advobaby cry. Ad Sad vo ba by We had our worst sales quarter EVER. We were almost at rock bottom. Almost. Friday, August 13, 2010
  • ROCK BOTTOM Came disguised as two seemingly different RFPs. Long Vague They were Large Very State Education distributed Technical Well Drupal Retheme everywhere Thought Out RFP possible. RFP Friday, August 13, 2010
  • ROCK BOTTOM Came disguised as two seemingly different RFPs. Long Vague They were Large Very State Education distributed Technical Well Drupal Retheme everywhere Thought Out RFP possible. RFP d Detaile Vague N on-Dru pal Sp e c Sp e c Friday, August 13, 2010
  • ROCK BOTTOM Came disguised as two seemingly different RFPs. Long Vague They were Large Very State Education distributed Technical Well Drupal Retheme everywhere Thought Out RFP possible. RFP d Detaile Vague Awk Wel Dr upal war RFP For d N on- houg and l t ir re h mat easy c t out Sp e c leva nt l w/ S pe to ang do c read aug ume e nt Friday, August 13, 2010
  • ROCK BOTTOM Came disguised as two seemingly different RFPs. Long Vague They were Large Very State Education distributed Technical Well Drupal Retheme everywhere Thought Out RFP possible. RFP d Detaile VaForure RFP g Largewa Awk Wel Dr upal d N on- houg and l t Budget at ir re m Large ht out nt e c w/ easy c Spe to Sp langauge leva do c read Budget t ume n Friday, August 13, 2010
  • ROCK BOTTOM Came disguised as two seemingly different RFPs. Long Vague They were Large Very State Education distributed Technical Well Drupal Retheme everywhere Thought Out RFP possible. RFP d Detaile VaForure RFP g Largewa Awk Wel Dr upal d N on- houg and l t Budget at ir re m Large ht out nt e c w/ easy c Spe to Sp langauge leva do c read Budget t ume n m e d f ro F l ag g l ie r. . . e ar Allows for wide distribution and response. Friday, August 13, 2010
  • ROCK BOTTOM Came disguised as two seemingly different RFPs. Long Vague They were Large Very State Education distributed Technical Well Drupal Retheme everywhere Thought Out RFP possible. RFP d Detaile VaFor+d 9va0 mart w/ RFP gue Largewa 50+ Awk Wel Dr upal N on- houg and l t Budget ir re Large ht out t la c easy c Spnoesnesuge s p n ga Spe to le Re ReBudget read do c spons n ume es t m e d f ro F l ag g l ie r. . . e ar Allows for wide distribution and response. Friday, August 13, 2010
  • THE EXTRAPOLATION 90+ 50+ Respo Responses nses + 3 4 40 WEEKS STAFF HOURS PER RFP PER RFP PER RFP Friday, August 13, 2010
  • THE EXTRAPOLATION (MY TOTAL GUESTIMATE) 90+ 50+ Respo Responses nses + 1-2 2-6 ? HRS PER STAFF PER WEEKS OF PROPOSAL PROPOSAL INTERNAL DEBATE Friday, August 13, 2010
  • SAD RFP MATH 80 UNBILLABLE 90 PROPOSALS HOURS TO READ 1-2% CHANCE 90 DIFFERENT OF WIN IDEAS & BUDGETS Friday, August 13, 2010
  • OMG, WHAT DO I DO NOW? A B C Friday, August 13, 2010
  • OPTION C WITH LESS RAGE C I found the problem. (Like a billion firms before me.) Friday, August 13, 2010
  • l ly t ly *ge ne ra *cu r re n DRUPAL RFPS ARE ANNOYING They are bureaucratic. They interfere with best practices. They are ineffective. RFPs sound great, mean well, but their results don’t help, and in some cases can hurt final product. Friday, August 13, 2010
  • WHY EVERYONE LOSES Spends untold hours Spends untold hours on gig they most reviewing too likely will not get many proposals Gives away Places focus on ideas for free budget over quality Makes discovery Expectations ruined assumptions resulting in when discovery inaccurate estimates changes scope Friday, August 13, 2010
  • THE COMMON THREAD DI SCOVERY Makes discovery Expectations ruined assumptions resulting in when discovery inaccurate estimates changes scope Friday, August 13, 2010
  • WHAT I DISCOVERED ABOUT DISCOVERY IN RFPS *sometimes provided by client (from 2-75% of the time) Project Overview User Research* HELLO my nam e is Feature List* CL IENT Competitor Analysis* Technical Plan* Design Comps* Wireframes* Friday, August 13, 2010
  • COMPLETELY UNSCIENTIFIC CHART % Chance of Vendor providing accurate estimate % of Clients who provide discovery deliverable with RFP 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% rch t w es an s ysis n Lis omp atio vie am Pl eea nal ture ver cific cal refr C rR or A ign hni O Fea Wi Spe Use Des ject Tec etit pal Pro mp Dru Co Muy Possible Discovery Deliverables Im po rt an te Friday, August 13, 2010
  • WEB DEVELOPMENT PROCESS t Im p o r t a n n pp e Th i ng s H a H e re ? ? ? Dis Te W De Qu Sit cov ch ire ve alit eL ery nic f ram lop yA au al ing me nch Plan nt ssu nin & & ran g De Imp ce sig lem & n en Se tat rve ion rT est ing Friday, August 13, 2010
  • WEB DEVELOPMENT PROCESS t Im p o r t a n n I have anywhere from pp e Th i ng s H a 2-70% of the information H e re you need. Please tell me how much this will cost? ? ? ? Dis Te W De Qu Sit cov ch ire ve alit eL ery nic f ram lop yA au al ing me nch Plan nt ssu nin & & ran g De Imp ce sig lem & n en Se tat rve ion rT est ing Friday, August 13, 2010
  • IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE? t Im p o rt a n n pp e Th i ng s H a H e re ? ? ? Qu Ex Te Dia Tr Cu est am st gn ea re ion ine & ose t An aly ze Friday, August 13, 2010
  • IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE? t Im p o rt a n n pp e Th i ng s H a I have a stomach H e re ache. How much will the surgery cost? ? ? ? Qu Ex Te Dia Tr Cu est am st gn ea re ion ine & ose t An aly ze As a patient, do you want your Doctor missing 30%-50% of the information they need to give you a proper diagnosis? Tuesday, August 10, 2010
  • YOU CAN CALL ME DR. DEVELOPER t Im p o rt a n n pp e Th i ng s H a H e re ? ? ? Dis Te W De Qu Sit cov ch ire ve alit eL ery nic fra lop yA au al min me nch Pla g& nt ssu nn & ran ing De Imp ce sig lem & n en Se tat rve ion rT est ing As a client, do you want a vendor bidding missing 30-50% of the information they’ll need for accuracy? Friday, August 13, 2010
  • YOU CAN CALL ME DR. DEVELOPER t Im p o rt a n n pp e Th i ng s H a Please figure out what I H e re need for a website before I tell you what I need. ? ? ? Dis Te W De Qu Sit cov ch ire ve alit eL ery nic fra lop yA au al min me nch Pla g& nt ssu nn & ran ing De Imp ce sig lem & n en Se tat rve ion rT est ing As a client, do you want a vendor bidding missing 30-50% of the information they’ll need for accuracy? Friday, August 13, 2010
  • WHY EVERYONE LOSES Spends untold hours Spends untold hours on gig they most reviewing too likely will not get many proposals Gives away Places emphasis on ideas for free budget over quality Makes discovery Expectations ruined assumptions resulting in when discovery inaccurate estimates changes scope Friday, August 13, 2010
  • HOW EVERYONE CAN WIN STOP STOP RESPONDING WRITING TO RFPS RFPS Friday, August 13, 2010
  • WHAT IF I ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY HAVE TO DO AN RFP? Find a way to make the process work for you. Break it into two phases. Do a Discovery RFP. Take those deliverables and then do a Development RFP. Remind your decision makers that quality of work saves money in the long run. Build relationships with Vendors you trust. Lean on them for advice on how to approach your leadership. Friday, August 13, 2010
  • I’VE BEEN RFP FREE FOR 6 MONTHS WOOT!! Friday, August 13, 2010
  • OUR NEW RFP PROCESS A client send us an RFP. We tell them we don’t respond to RFPs. Friday, August 13, 2010
  • OUR NEW RFP PROCESS I have an RFP. A client send us an RFP. We tell them we don’t respond to RFPs. Friday, August 13, 2010
  • OUR NEW RFP PROCESS I have an RFP. A client send us an RFP. We tell them we don’t respond to RFPs. RFPs tend not to We’ve found that scope and be accurate in budget can change dramatically if determining cost. you don’t do Discovery first. We can’t estimate project costs until after you go through a proper discovery phase with a Drupal shop. Friday, August 13, 2010
  • OUR NEW RFP PROCESS I have an RFP. A client send us an RFP. We tell them we don’t respond to RFPs. RFPs tend not to We’ve found that scope and be accurate in budget can change dramatically if determining cost. you don’t do Discovery first. We recommend talking to We can’t estimate project your peers and find a Drupal costs until after you go firm that you trust to engage in through a proper discovery a Discovery phase with. phase with a Drupal shop. If you’d like to see what we can do, After a flat rate Discovery phase we’d gladly sit down with your decision with us, we’ll provide you with a makers and walk you through our process Drupal Implementation Plan and an with previous clients. We can give you estimate. You can then take that plan vague ballpark costs. elsewhere for bids, or hire us! Friday, August 13, 2010
  • HOW VENDORS CAN WIN Get paid to diagnose. Your expertise is valuable. Encourage potential clients to scrap the RFP process, and engage in a discovery process. Instead of writing proposals, write case studies, and show potential clients your process. Take all the time you would be spending writing proposals you are guestimating, and fix bugs in Drupal instead. Friday, August 13, 2010
  • HOW CLIENTS CAN WIN Don’t write RFPs. If you must have some formal process in place, write an RFQ (Request for Qualifications). Only send your RFQ to a few vendors that you trust or were referred to. Better to get 6 great proposals then 90 of all shapes and sizes. Find a vendor within your budget, whose process makes you the most comfortable, who has expertise in your specific industry and hire them just to do Discovery. Friday, August 13, 2010
  • WHAT IF I’M TOO SMALL OR NEW TO SAY NO? Make sure that the potential client will add to your credibility. Make sure that they will improve the street cred of your portfolio. Make sure they will help your bottom line. Don’t just send a proposal, get to know the client. Try to find an advantage that will make your proposal stand out. Friday, August 13, 2010
  • IT’S THAT SIMPLE QUESTIONS? Friday, August 13, 2010
  • RESOURCES Blair Enns: http://www.winwithoutpitching.com/ Becoming the Expert The Manifesto Advoblog: Web Dev for Noobs Discovery and UX Design Friday, August 13, 2010
  • THANKS FOR LISTENING! Adam Mordecai Partner / New Business Development How’d I do? Let me know: http://www.advomatic.com/NoRFP mordecai@advomatic.com Twitter: @advomatic & @advodude FB: http://facebook.com/advomatic Friday, August 13, 2010