My experience of responding to an RFP

Posted in Personal 30 Mar 2019

The month of March'19 was very happening for me at my home and office. The little one ,my 24 days old daughter, ensured that we were awake for the most part of the night.

And at my office , I got the opportunity to work on an RFP (Request for proposal). 3 years ago , when I was working as a contact center consultant at Infosys , I contributed to a few RFPs but after moving into the role of a project manager I focused mainly on managing the delivery of my new teams. 

Therefore, working on RFPs again was a learning experience for me because 1) I was doing it after the gap of 3 years and 2) RFP was for a support project and my prior experience was of working on contact center RFPs. 

In this post, I am going to share a few tips on how to respond to an RFP , the tips are generic in nature but would apply to most of the RFPs.

  1. Thorough Review of RFP artifacts: This is the first step and should be done very diligently. All the important points pertaining to RFP should be noted down and memorized as well.
  2. Key information: Try to extract following details from the artifacts:
  • What is the ask of the client ? What are high level requirements of the request? 
  • What is the kind of skill set being asked/would be required for fullfiling the asked requirements ?
  • What is the current operating model/architecture and what are the pain areas of the current operating model/architecture?
  • What are the functional and non-functional requirements?
  • What are the SLAs and KPIs?
  1. Identify a team based on size of RFP and response date of RFP. If the RFP is big and RFP response dates are aggresive then set-up a WAR room with all the identified team members.
  2. Prepare a list of questions along with right categories to be asked from client. Categorize the questions in 3 areas 1) high 2) medium and 3) low. Questions falling in "high" category must be answered by client with least turnaround time.
  3. Make a list of assumptions and try to get them validated from client as part of your questionnaire.
  4. Work on estimates and financials of the proposal along with solution document
  5. Check in your organization , if there are any tools and accelerators that can improve the productivity of your team thereby leading to faster time to market. Propose those tools and accelerators in your solution document
  6. Identify success stories/case studies from your organization that can be added in solution document. Success stories help in giving confidence to client
  7. Share profiles of SMEs/Architects/Developers who would be leveraged for project , if the SoW (statement of work) is signed