The story plays out time and time again. An RFP is put out for say a Rose garden. Proponents respond to the RFP and propose to deliver anything from a Dandelion garden to an Orchid garden based on what they think it will take to win the RFP (price-point, quality, reputation, meeting the requirements…). The organization puts the responses into their “decision matrix” and selects the proponent with the best score.
The winner of the RFP holds a kick-off meeting and describes the Tiger Lilly garden they defined in the proposal. Everyone at the kick-off meeting nods and accepts the presentation. Sound familiar?
The problem is; what happens at the end of the project when the Tiger Lilly garden is delivered and the question is asked “Where’s my Rose garden”?
The situation can be avoided if time is taken at the kick-off meeting to highlight what is different between the RFP and proposal instead of highlighting what they are proposing to do.
Often (especially in government organizations) the RFP is so complicated that the successful proponent is chosen simply based on some type of formula. The organization may not even have taken the time to recognize what the difference is between what they asked for and what the proponent proposed to deliver.
It is the responsibility of proponents to highlight these differences at kick-off meetings to ensure they will never have to say “I never promised you a Rose garden.”
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