Vendor 101 #RFP Writing Tips – Developing Your Requirements

Reading, or writing requirement for RFPs (Request for Proposals, or Tenders) is one of those necessary bug-bears disliked by pretty much everyone involved in putting together a vendor deal – for those on the buying side as much as those on the selling side. Traditional requirement development – SOR or SOW (there is an apt acronym!) is fine for when there are concrete, known needs that can be quantified and readily put on paper. Where requirements are a little hazy, and center around the vendor or supplier proposing their solution to some kind of problem, consider substituting or at enhancing your requirement document. Take a leaf from software engineering practices by incorporating the use of use cases and/or case scenarios in requirements, to help the vendor identify better with the problem.  Working through these will also help you with comparing the proposals received. We love a good story. As little human beings our brains are cultivated by stories to help us learn and make sense of the world around us. So consider using a story telling approach to describe more clearly the paint points and your anticipated benefits, particularly from a user or “beneficiary” point of view. This will help respondents form a more multi-dimensional understanding of what your requirements are. And you are far more likely to receive vendor responses that are accurate and deliver the benefits you seek from your vendor deal.