TulsaTechFest 2013 - RFP & Communications

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  • CFO - Has bigger picture plans for future development *Franchising / Relationship development with SubContractors *Income from FormsExecs - Process Driven, needs for every day scenarios.Know the business. Built previous versions. Understand needs of external and internal users *Forms *ReportingFrustrated Influencer - Understands need, has already been through versions 1 & 2 not quite meeting expectations & being expensive, does not see value of investing more money into SharePoint *Very influential on Execs and Techs *Needs access/control & will excel *Problem solver and team player
  • Executive Management – Intermediary (Me) ConsultantsWants Bullet PointsWant to Exceed Expectations Want the DetailsWants the best solution at the best price Wants to properly set expectations Properly and Competitively price the proposalDo not want to know all the details for both the management and for the consultants to be awarded the projectComfortable with a Rate Sheet Want line item pricing for decision making Need as much information as possible about the Goal is to under promise and over-deliver. Company, their process, perceived needs & wants To Mgmt = on time and under budget. Pain Points, etc. To Conslts = accurate work descriptions and payment for efforts, adjusting SOW as needed
  • CLARIFY, CLARIFY, CLARIFY So what I’m hearing you say is…Practice in my personal lifeTeach to couples at MergeIncorporate these techniques in the workplaceWhat I’ve learnedI am assuming what I hear is final, it could just be brainstormingNot every project/job needs to be completed above and beyond, exceeding expectationsNeed to make sure I’m asking for enough details for meMake sure I’ve heard the full messageStop to ask if there is more than one way to interpret the message, then clarify “your place” example
  • TulsaTechFest 2013 - RFP & Communications

    1. 1. FAIRLIGHT CONSULTING FAIRLIGHT CONSULTING Managing RFPs - Communication MELANIE NELSON, FAIRLIGHT CONSULTING
    2. 2. FAIRLIGHT CONSULTING Please Be Courteous!
    3. 3. FAIRLIGHT CONSULTING Agenda 1. Introduction 2. Business Case Study 3. Communication 4. Close and Thank You 13 January 2014 © 2013 Fairlight Consulting 2
    4. 4. FAIRLIGHT CONSULTING 1 Introduction 13 January 2014 © 2013 Fairlight Consulting 3
    5. 5. FAIRLIGHT CONSULTING Please take a moment to appreciate the sponsors that enable the TechFest Community to gather, share knowledge, and enjoy lunch and networking together. 13 January 2014 © 2013 Fairlight Consulting 4
    6. 6. FAIRLIGHT CONSULTING
    7. 7. FAIRLIGHT CONSULTING Speaking from two positions or viewpoints? As a consultant: @FairlightConslt 214.507.0053 Melanie@FairlightConsulting.com www.LinkedIn.com/in/MelanieFNelson As an employee: Tait Environmental Services Business Development & Technology Solutions Manager 214.531.9377 MNelson@Tait.com 13 January 2014 © 2013 Fairlight Consulting 6
    8. 8. FAIRLIGHT CONSULTING Managing RFPs - Communication Tulsa TechFest| Oct-11-2013 | Tulsa, OK Welcome! The SharePoint & TechFest Community has given me so much – I want to give back. Today I‟ll share the RFP Process I am currently engaged in, and what I have learned regarding communicating with the different parties involved. Reason for Presentation  Sharing my experience – business case study  Saving you time Audience  Business user Level  Business of SharePoint, not technical Created for  Consultants  SharePoint users  Business Decision Makers What‟s it worth? A month‟s time in this case… 13 January 2014 © 2013 Fairlight Consulting 7
    9. 9. FAIRLIGHT CONSULTING We learn wisdom from failure much more than success. We often discover what we will do, by finding out what we will not do. – Samuel Smiles 13 January 2014 © 2013 Fairlight Consulting 8
    10. 10. FAIRLIGHT CONSULTING 2 Business Case Study 13 January 2014 © 2013 Fairlight Consulting 9
    11. 11. FAIRLIGHT CONSULTING Scenario: SP2010  Enhanced SP2013 Environmental Compliance Database Current RFP to Using Internally Enhance Performance Structure to allow External Users Filling forms Approval work flows Collecting metadata Same functionality and purpose as earlier versions, adding external user functionality Reporting Functions Process Flows well established  System was working as designed Needs  Architecture for scalability  Speed  Better Search Low User Adoption    Speed slowed as data increased No personalization Dependent on consultant to update system Considering  Alternative form solutions Additional  Alternative devices for capture 13 January 2014 © 2013 Fairlight Consulting 10
    12. 12. FAIRLIGHT CONSULTING Definition from Wikipedia for RFP 13 January 2014 © 2013 Fairlight Consulting 11
    13. 13. FAIRLIGHT CONSULTING Other RFP Key Stakeholders CFO Execs on Same Page Frustrated Influencer Ready to Pay Understand the Need Cost Conscious ROI Driven Has bigger picture plans for future development 13 January 2014 Process Driven, needs for every day scenarios Know the business Built previous versions Understand needs of external and internal users Understands need, does not see value of investing more money into SharePoint Experience with versions 1 & 2 not quite meeting expectations © 2013 Fairlight Consulting 12
    14. 14. FAIRLIGHT CONSULTING Three distinct voices communicating Executive Management    Ticket Price Big picture Rate sheet “We just need the db and form capabilities” 13 January 2014 Intermediary    Expectations Detailed Pricing Consultants   Award Need details All Parties “I’ll do as much work as possible so you don’t have to.” “We really need to go through a Discovery Process ” © 2013 Fairlight Consulting 13
    15. 15. FAIRLIGHT CONSULTING Timeframe Simple email trail shows the month I could have saved  9/3 - Sent RFP to selected consultants  8/30 – Created Requested Attachments  8/29 - Shorter Version submitted  8/27 - Meeting to get feedback on RFP  8/23 - Emailed RFP for individual review  8/21 - Formal request for feedback on RFPs submitted   13 January 2014 8/10 - Submitted 1st Draft of RFP 8/09 - RFP Requested © 2013 Fairlight Consulting 14
    16. 16. FAIRLIGHT CONSULTING Active Listening & Problem Solving Important in Business as well as Personal Life Moving forward during the RFP process and throughout development and implementation I must Practice what I preach CLARIFY, CLARIFY, CLARIFY Incorporate these techniques in the workplace  What I‟ve learned  Making Assumptions  Level of work not needed  Stop to ask if there is more than one way to interpret the message, then clarify  “your place” example 13 January 2014 © 2013 Fairlight Consulting 15
    17. 17. FAIRLIGHT CONSULTING Communication Speak / Write for your Audience Executive Management The management does not have time to do all of the work that you are doing to manage this RFP. They are decision makers and purse string holders and are trusting you to do the heavy lifting. You don‟t have to explain everything – even if you want to, they don‟t have time to hear it. Limited time to listen / review / read  Know your objective  Keep messages precise and focused  Know what it is the Execs want to know Consider the Format  What is most important?  Three key points  Mine were Mandatory/Preferred/Optional – too big!  Additional detail can be put in an appendix  Put focus on anything requiring a decision  Make it simple – yes/no, dollar amount, etc.  Make it clear – that decision is needed, timeline for decision, options to choose from (if so, give pro/cons) Pay attention to their attention span, and adjust if you start „losing‟ anyone 13 January 2014 © 2013 Fairlight Consulting 16
    18. 18. FAIRLIGHT CONSULTING Exec Management Communication Summary You can tell the details of the RFP in an appendix or attachments to the RFP. 56% SIMPLIFY GIVE THEM THE GIST Make sure to have the details accessible so if there are any questions, you will be able to draw from that information, or provide it, but do not inundate the audience with details. On this slide, you really notice the numbers, not the text. 13 January 2014 And you can continue the conversation after the meeting/presentation/call, responding with lots of detail if they require it.  Think big picture  Big concepts  Decisions, not details 2013 THEY DON‟T WANT OR NEED ALL THE DETAILS © 2013 Fairlight Consulting 17
    19. 19. FAIRLIGHT CONSULTING Communication Speak / Write for your Audience Consultants Technical consultants need as much information as possible to accurately price this RFP. They are attempting to determine what level of expertise will be required, and the time to complete the project. A full discovery period would be required to gather all the information needed to fully line-item price the project.. Limited time to review and respond  Clearly state the goals and objectives required to be met  Define the scope as precisely as possible  Know what it is the consultants need to know requires understanding the system they are working with (SharePoint) Help them format their response  Prioritize what is most important to the key decision makers  Specify mandatory, preferred and optional  Mandatory defines whether contractor can meet requirements  Preferred and Optional give the opportunity for consultants to incorporate valueadded benefits, further opportunity to win the business  Additional detail can be sent after the fact Solicit and respond to questions from each consultant, but evenly distribute the information to all 13 January 2014 © 2013 Fairlight Consulting 18
    20. 20. FAIRLIGHT CONSULTING Communication Speak / Write to gather information for yourself Intermediaries Our role is to ensure that we collect the proper information to suggest a solution, and for management to be able to make that decision. Collecting the required information  Clarify the needs to be met by the RFP  Clarify the timing, structure and expectations for RFP approval  Clarify what additional information the consultants need in order to bid the proposal as well as they can without a full discovery Help consultants format their response  Clarify questions if more information is needed, so you can respond quickly  Distribute answers evenly  Request clarification if there is a part you don‟t understand in their response, giving them an opportunity to provide more information Help management make the selection  Research solutions offered by each and weigh suggestions based on management  Be prepared to explain suggestions, terms, concepts, suggested architecture, overall solution to management both for suggested consultant and other offerors  Clarify that the suggested consultant meets the requirements  Clarify any additional requests management may have Do the work first, so the others do not have to wait on you 13 January 2014 © 2013 Fairlight Consulting 19
    21. 21. FAIRLIGHT CONSULTING Setting Expectations More Work Up Front, but No Surprises My thoughts/reasoning In the long run, it will be laid out, and we (me & consultant) can do phases. I learned how to do the detailing up front, by going through and working through other contractors and developers with software. Not SharePoint, but software in general, building websites and applications, and through those experiences, I found it best to lay all the details out up front so there‟s no hidden surprises. Then had to research and know my product to ask the right questions. Other Experiences  Submit RFP  Responses aren‟t detailed enough  Send additional information  2nd round of responses still don‟t convince me they‟re pricing the project accurately  Decision to fully detail requirements for pricing Difference between posting for any responses or specific respondents  Already selected consultants  Pleased to work with any of them  Interested to hear suggestions of each  Pricing will influence the final decision  RFP process provides opportunity to test communication with Offerors, which is crucial to this project 13 January 2014 © 2013 Fairlight Consulting 20
    22. 22. FAIRLIGHT CONSULTING Setting Expectations My thoughts/reasoning More Work Up Front, but not Surprises In the long run, the project will be laid out, and we (me & consultant) can do phases. I learned how to do the detailing up front, by going through and working through other contractors and developers with software. Not SharePoint, but software in general, building websites and applications, and through those experiences, I found it best to lay all the details out up front so there‟s no hidden surprises. Then had to research and know my product to ask the right questions. Other Experiences  Submit RFP  Responses aren‟t detailed enough  Send additional information  2nd round of responses still don‟t convince me they‟re pricing the project accurately  Decision to fully detail requirements for pricing Difference between posting for any responses or specific respondents  Already selected consultants  Pleased to work with any of them  Interested to hear suggestions of each  Pricing will influence the final decision  RFP process provides opportunity to test communication with Offerors, which is crucial to this project 13 January 2014 © 2013 Fairlight Consulting 21
    23. 23. FAIRLIGHT CONSULTING 3 Communication 13 January 2014 © 2013 Fairlight Consulting 22
    24. 24. FAIRLIGHT CONSULTING Active Listening & Problem Solving Important in Business as well as Personal Life Coaching on Communications in my Personal Life I’ll discuss things I teach to couples at Merge and apply them to this business scenario Speaker Listener Technique  So what I‟m hearing you say is…  Expectations  Constructive Griping  Problem Solving 13 January 2014 © 2013 Fairlight Consulting 23
    25. 25. FAIRLIGHT CONSULTING The Speaker Listener Technique Personal Coaching Rules for the SPEAKER 1. Speak for yourself. Don‟t mind read! 2. Don‟t go on and on. Rules for LISTENER 1. Paraphrase what you hear Stop and let the listener paraphrase. Don’t rebut. Focus on what the speaker is saying. Rules for BOTH 1. The speaker has the floor. 2. Speaker keeps the floor while the listener paraphrases 3. Share the floor. 13 January 2014 © 2013 Fairlight Consulting 24
    26. 26. FAIRLIGHT CONSULTING The Speaker Listener Technique Business Application Rules for the SPEAKER 1. Be prepared. Speak clearly. Don‟t assume. 2. Be concice. Stop and let the audience paraphrase. Rules for LISTENER 1. Reply with clarifying questions, paraphrase what you heard Don’t rebut. Focus on what the forspeaker is saying. BOTH Rules 1. One speaker at a time, no interruptions. 2. Speaker keeps the floor while the listener paraphrases 3. Only one speaker, listener paraphrases until the speaker is finished saying everything they have to say.. 13 January 2014 © 2013 Fairlight Consulting 25
    27. 27. FAIRLIGHT CONSULTING Expectations Personal Coaching EXPECTATIONS: – are beliefs about the way things will be or should be-- including about behaviors, roles, life and death, relationships, and so forth – that are not met lead to feelings of sadness, disappointment, frustration, and anger. Three Key Problems 1. You can be UNAWARE of your expectations 2. Your partner‟s expectations. 3. Your expectations may be UNREASONABLE. 4. Your expectations may be UNSPOKEN. What to do about Expectations  Identify them  Consider if they are realistic  Discuss together -> Aware, Reasonable & Spoken 13 January 2014 © 2013 Fairlight Consulting 26
    28. 28. FAIRLIGHT CONSULTING Expectations Business Application EXPECTATIONS: – are beliefs about the way things will be or should be– based on past experiences and personal preferences – that are not met lead to – lack of efficiency, frustration, and possibly even missed deadlines or underperformance Three Key Problems 1. 2. 3. 4. You can be UNAWARE of your expectations or Expectations of other parties Your expectations may be UNREASONABLE – each business scenario is different and what works at a F100 company may not work at a family owned business, the level of detail one company may provide for an RFP may not be known by another company Your expectations may be UNSPOKEN – you must be clear and document as needed What to do about Expectations    Identify them – talk to all parties Consider if they are realistic - how much detail for consultants Discuss together. Ensure expectations are properly set for both parties  formally - Annual Review,  informally – conversation. 13 January 2014 © 2013 Fairlight Consulting 27
    29. 29. FAIRLIGHT CONSULTING Constructive Griping Personal Coaching When you did X Specific Behavior In situation Y Specific Situation I felt Z Owning feelings Be Respectful and Be Specific 13 January 2014 © 2013 Fairlight Consulting 28
    30. 30. FAIRLIGHT CONSULTING Constructive Griping Business Application When you did X Requested this RFP / Wrote a 60 page RFP In situation Y For the next version of the Environmental Compliance Database The result was Z I thought the goal was getting pricing so wrote as much as I could to get line-item detail for your final selection Additional work needed to be done to adjust for Be Clear and Concise to avoid confusion 13 January 2014 © 2013 Fairlight Consulting 29
    31. 31. FAIRLIGHT CONSULTING Problem Solving Model Personal Coaching & Business Application Problem Solution  Agenda setting  Decide on what to work on right now  Plan to work the other pieces of the problem at another time  Focus in and narrow down the concerns  Brainstorming  Agreement and compromise  Work toward what you can both agree to do  Discuss pros and cons of different potential solutions  Follow-up  Agree on solution to be tried now  Agree on a time frame to try solution and agree to assess and revise as needed 13 January 2014 © 2013 Fairlight Consulting 30
    32. 32. FAIRLIGHT CONSULTING This SP2010 -> SP2013 RFP Both reinforces and teaches me new ways to work I have learned and am learning… SharePoint is amazing…  But is not the solution to everything, and „selling‟ that doesn‟t come across as genuine  Can be overwhelming to anyone that doesn‟t know the capabilities on a more detailed level The SharePoint RFP  Does not need to be a full governance plan and map for future growth  Was meant by management to be a tool to select a consultant  Ballpark pricing pending discovery and a rate sheet  Timeline was not cut and dry end of the year for full roll out  Extra effort on my part caused undue extra effort to others - to review, respond, and discuss (opens a can of worms) 13 January 2014 © 2013 Fairlight Consulting 31
    33. 33. FAIRLIGHT CONSULTING Recap Lessons Learned Overall Communication Consider your Audience Consider type of communication  Emails  Short -> Execs  Detailed -> Devs/Conslts Don’t Wait - Ask Check Ahead of Time This is bullet level two or Paragraph style This is bullet level three  This is bullet level four  This is bullet level five  Which is actually bullet level six 13 January 2014 Active Listening Always, and particularly for RFPs/Projects This is bullet level two or Paragraph style This is bullet level three  This is bullet level four  This is bullet level five  Which is actually bullet level six Be Prepared This is Heading Style This is bullet level two or Paragraph style This is bullet level three  This is bullet level four  This is bullet level five  Which is actually bullet level six © 2013 Fairlight Consulting 32
    34. 34. FAIRLIGHT CONSULTING 4 Adaptive Solution The Win! 13 January 2014 © 2013 Fairlight Consulting 33
    35. 35. FAIRLIGHT CONSULTING This SP2010 -> SP2013 RFP Status Update Management approved RFP is out & I am sending the detailed information to consultants in a Q&A email formant Great Communication with management  Annual Review and genuine conversations  Extra time and listening actively over a multi-day period resulted in a communication breakthrough with the frustrated influencer – Clarification of his needs = understood On-going communication with consultants  Some dropped out of process due to needing full discovery or more time  Relationships being developed with some consultants through the process  Better outlines of functionalities needed are being created through Q&A emails Very pleased with the progress once expectations were clarified, and am excited to move into the selection process when proposals are received 13 January 2014 © 2013 Fairlight Consulting 34
    36. 36. FAIRLIGHT CONSULTING 6 Close Thank you @FairlightConslt 214.507.0053 Melanie@FairlightConsulting.com www.LinkedIn.com/in/MelanieFNelson 214.531.9377 mnelson@tait.com @taitenvupdates 13 January 2014 © 2013 Fairlight Consulting 35
    37. 37. FAIRLIGHT CONSULTING Please Complete An Evaluation Form Your input is important! You can access Evaluation Forms at: http://TulsaTechFest.com
    38. 38. FAIRLIGHT CONSULTING
    39. 39. FAIRLIGHT CONSULTING 5 Question & Answer Time @FairlightConslt 214.507.0053 Melanie@FairlightConsulting.com www.LinkedIn.com/in/MelanieFNelson 214.531.9377 mnelson@tait.com @taitenvupdates 13 January 2014 © 2013 Fairlight Consulting 38

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