Project Management

The Problems with RFPs (Part 2)

PMI Northern Alberta Chapter

Craig is based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and has worked with for the last six years developing the various HEADWAY processes (Project, Change and Portfolio). He has hosted a series of webinars and is a business intelligence subject matter expert.

Request For Proposals are a double-edged sword for many vendors, providing their avenue to riches but also being the bane of their existence. In the first article, we looked at the challenges with layout and content of the RFP itself. In this second installment of the series, we will look at the challenges vendors experience in the process from the point they are made aware of the RFP to the submission of the bid.

Good Business Practice
Vendors love to receive notification of RFPs that they think they can actually win. These are those RFPs that a vendor can look at and say, “We can do this! This is a perfect fit for what we offer!” (It’s like seeing a job description in the paper or online where you think, ”They wrote this for me!”

Good business practice would dictate that this vendor--as any other vendor--has an equal opportunity to win the business and will be treated with integrity in a fair, open and honest manner along with the other potential vendors or sellers. This custom attempts to ensure that there is a level playing field. (Think “Business Ethics 101”.)

Unfortunately, the world is not black and white--and neither are business ethics. The exhilaration felt by the vendor in finding the ideal RFP can be quickly dashed when it becomes apparent the level playing field does not exist and the RFP is actually …

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"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?" "That depends a good deal on where you want to get to."

- Lewis Carroll