RFPs are often huge documents with literally thousands of questions that buyers inflicit on software vendors in order to assess the relative strengths and weakness of the product. They are a modern form of water torture to fill in, and some of them should be against the Geneva convention.
I thought that will my current role I had managed to avoid the joys of RFP response, but somehow I found myself manoevered into working on one at the moment. Damn.
Actually it is one of the better ones I’ve seen in a while. But there are at least 8 of us working on it at once. It is a real pain emailing it around, as it is now too big for the mail system. Versioning is a nightmare. Invariably something is missing, like a screen print or a reference story, and it is a huge scramble to find it.
There must be a better way.
WIki to the rescue? You give access to the team members, people could dump useful materials into the wiki, and then a gardener could craft it into a response, progress reports and so on could all be driven via the wiki, easy to allow management visibility, last minute pricing changes etc updates via RSS and so on. It would also be an easy way to drive reuse.
I try and avoid working on RFPs, but if I find myseld dragged kicking and screaming to one I’ll insist that we respond via the wiki.
Surely it would be even better to give the customer access to the wiki too. This would enable them to access your responses, ask questions, get clarification, and you could easily provide access to much richer materials such as click through demos, reference videos and so on. It would help create transparency between the buyer, partner and software vendor.
Alternatively, the buyer could set up a wiki page, and ask the vendor to fill in responses there. This would help with comparing responses, and responding to vendor queries. It would also give the buyer a living document when starting the post evaluation project, rather than an expensive doorstop.
I’ve not done much research on this, but If anyone has any template ideas or guidelines, please let me know. Perhaps the wiki vendors already offer this sort of template, if not then perhaps they could?