project similar to yours (scope, size,
etc). A vendor’s RFQ response usually is
more targeted than an RFI response
and may address specific requirements,
experience or capabilities requested by
RFI and RFQ responses typically do
not include time or cost estimates. A
Request for Proposals (RFP) defines a
project and provides vendors information
to submit a bid. Keep in mind, the more
detail you provide in your RFP, the more
accurate the resulting proposals and
estimates are likely to be. RFPs should
be issued once project requirements are
well-defined and to a short list of prequalified vendors.
Although some projects may merit
issuing an RFI, RFQ and RFP in sequence,
you should do what feels appropriate for
your project. If you’ve already identified
a list of vendors and have a pretty good
idea of what you need a vendor to do, you
might only issue an RFP.
THE ALL-IMPORTANT RFP
The request for proposals and its siblings — request for information and
request for qualification — are common
tools used to solicit bids from vendors.
A formal approach may be mandated by
your organization, the complexity or
importance of a project, or the project’s
budget. Or it may simply be your preference as a way to compare vendors.
A Request for Information (RFI)
typically is issued early in a project, sometimes before specific solutions have
been identified, to identify vendors who
offer the product or service needed. A
vendor’s response to an RFI might consist of a company overview, description
of products or services offered, and
examples of work done for similar organizations.
A Request for Qualification (RFQ)
also is issued early in a project, but usually after some requirements have been
identified. An RFQ seeks to identify vendors who meet certain criteria (e.g. skill,
experience, availability) to take on a
BEWARE RFP PITFALLS
Issuing an RFP implies that a certain
amount of thought and planning went
into its preparation. An RFP should be
consistent and informative, provide a
context and goals for the project, define
requirements that must be addressed
(and those that might be good to
address), and leave room for respondents to make recommendations based
on their unique experience.
Issuing an RFP that you downloaded
from the Web, borrowed from a colleague
or quickly assembled to meet your boss’
deadline isn’t going to provide the vendor with the information needed to tailor
a proposal to your needs (and is less
likely to result in a successful project).
Another common RFP pitfall is being
RFI AND RFQ RESPONSES TYPICALLY DO
NOT INCLUDE TIME OR COST ESTIMATES.
A REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS (RFP)
DEFINES A PROJECT AND PROVIDES VEN-
DORS INFORMATION TO SUBMIT A BID.
KEEP IN MIND, THE MORE DETAIL YOU
PROVIDE IN YOUR RFP, THE MORE ACCU-
RATE THE RESULTING PROPOSALS AND
ESTIMATES ARE LIKELY TO BE.