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Interpreting an RFP


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Interpreting an RFP

  1. 1. Interpreting an RFPPrepared by George Saines, Caktus Group
  2. 2. Why me?Work at a small web consultancySee full project life cycle every dayLots of hands-on experience creating proposalsbased on RFPs
  3. 3. Two Goals:Answer question: “What are contractors thinking?”Improve the outcomes of your RFPs
  4. 4. Presentation OutlineExplain how Caktus interprets an RFPWork through a short exampleOffer high level thoughts and suggestionsPresentation will take 30 minutes
  5. 5. Projects in the WildCaktus sees project proposals of all kinds“I have an idea”All the way to full blown RFP
  6. 6. The Spec Continuum
  8. 8. #1: Assign a DevMatch based on previous experienceEstimators are lead developersEnormous value-addAlways check for this
  9. 9. #2: Create EstimateLine-by-line analysis of RFPBuild up spreadsheet of required work to meet thespecification
  10. 10. #3 ClarifyRFP question periods are enormously importantWarning signs: evasive/uncertain/general answersto questions
  11. 11. #4 Add Non-Dev WorkProject managementQuality assurance testingFeedback and reviewDesign and usability testing
  12. 12. #5 ScheduleTake requirements, map to calendar time, produceformal schedule
  13. 13. TimingEstimates normally take weeksA good estimate is expensive
  14. 14. Now An ExampleDLPA 8/2012 RFPShort: only 7 pagesSummary: they want a website that will make iteasy and convenient for the public to accessdigital library media
  15. 15. #1: Assign Lead DevColin had the necessary experienceFamiliarized himself with the RFP: read it
  16. 16. #2: Read & Estimate
  17. 17. #2: Read & Estimate
  18. 18. #3: ClarifySubmitted during their question periodReceived answers and adjusted estimate
  19. 19. #4 Add Non-Dev WorkPM, QA, Feedback, Design, UXUse static percentages of total developmentbudgetThis is developer-centric and intentionally so!
  20. 20. #5 ScheduleIn this case, RFP requires 32 weeksNecessary to fit hours into scheduleTypically schedules change
  21. 21. Take Home AdviceThree specific points that will improve your RFPoutcomes:1) Have developers write the RFP2) Create user stories3) Answer contractor questions fully: elaborate
  22. 22. Developer RFPsFuzzy requirements + fuzzy answers = ExpensiveQuotesGear the RFP to the people who will estimate itOften requires that someone in that profession tohelp write it
  23. 23. Create User StoriesUser stories are helpful, regardless of your industryHere’s a good link that explains how to write usefuluser stories:
  24. 24. This is Not a User Story“We want the site to be intuitive, clean, andsimple. Users should be able to understand whatthey are doing at all times.”
  25. 25. This Is a User StoryAs a site administrator with superuser privileges, I log in to modify a Twitterhashtag via I am able to access the edit screen withintwo clicks and search for an existing Twitter hashtag, receiving auto-complete suggestions with available options. Once I select a hashtag, I can save it in the Twitter Aggregator app and have the site begin monitoring and collecting data immediately. The aggregated data should be visible on the front end within 30-60 minutes. Only users with superuser access privileges should be able to add Hashtags, but regular admin users should be capable of removing them. Once a Hashtag has been removed, the data associated with it should be cascade-deleted from the backend.
  26. 26. Answer QuestionsRespond quickly, be specific.Example: “The RFP mentioned integrating withTwitter to create front end visualizations, how isthis feature intended to work?”
  27. 27. A Bad Answer“The site should show up-to-date information fromTwitter that monitors the impact of the site’spopularity in real time. We would like to use thevisualizations to present to our stakeholders asevidence of social media interest.”
  28. 28. A Good Answer“We expect the contractor to use the Twitter API to aggregate and storeinformation about a specific subset of hashtags that will be managed via thesite admin by client staff members. The front end visualizations will consistof 2 bar charts. The first will show the number of responses received duringa unit of time (we suggest reporting data by day). The second chart willshow the average number of links in the Tweets for the same period of time.The data will not scale based on the Y axis of the chart, and there will be noway for users to interact with the data. The underlying data should beupdated on page reload. Real-time updates will not be expected.”
  29. 29. The DifferenceSpecificity, attention to detail, an understanding ofwhat needs to be built.First answer might produce an estimate for thatfeature that is 4x higher.
  30. 30. Side NotesBudgets help contractors enormouslyGood developers won’t estimate work that isn’twell defined.The project management triangle always applies.
  31. 31. ConclusionYou now know how contractors think of RFPs.You now have some tips for getting the most outof your RFPs.
  32. 32. Shout At MeEmail: gsaines@caktusgroup.comWebsite: www.georgesaines.comTwitter: @gsainesLink to that article about user stories: