It’s not you, it’s me: Time to say goodbye to RFP

What is RFP/ RFT?  

RFP (request for proposal) or RFT (request for tender) is often used by organisations who need to get multiple quotes for their project. But these documents are often very vague, can be easily misinterpreted and are often full of requirements an organisation thinks they need.

Request for proposal/tender seems particularly archaic to us and yet, large organisations may still do this as part of their process so they can weigh up multiple options in a short space of time. Sometimes there are legal reasons for tenders, sometimes it’s conditional in order to secure funding – but we’re still scratching our heads.

As an agency that builds custom products, and with such limited information provided to us in an RFP/RFT, any recommendations, pricing or timelines we propose would be based on hundreds of micro-assumptions. Those assumptions will almost certainly be wrong, meaning our proposal will propose the wrong solution. 

Do you like to gamble? We don’t – and we don’t want to bet your time and money on assumptions. 

To ensure we’re accurate with our plan, costs and timeframes, we love to collaborate with our clients to fully spec out the work.

So, what’s the alternative then?

Discovery.

…go on…

Discovery provides immense value to our clients with the output being a Project Blueprint that could be executed by any agency’s designers and developers. This paid piece of consultancy will give you all the information you need, going above and beyond the details often requested in an RFP. In addition, you’ll have the added benefit of your project being heavily researched by subject matter experts rather than the guessing games and shoehorning we often see in responses to RFTs.

With Discovery we will:

  • bring in a designer and developer to look at your challenges and goals
  • work with you to build a technical scope of requirements and framework approach
  • create some wireframes to help visualise the product
  • create a scalability plan to help your system cope with high demand
  • be able to give you accurate estimates and timeframes

This documentation forms the basis for some pricing options and gets your project ready for design and development.

What our clients say

Matt Bramble, Leverage Lab

“As a principal of an agency, I was incredibly impressed by the Discovery process conducted by Plume. The Plume team knows their stuff, but most importantly they know how to listen to a client’s needs and translate those needs into an actionable plan.  At the end of Discovery I felt confident we were all in agreement on the functionality requirements both near term, and long term.  Even if you think you know what your needs are, this process is absolutely critical to the long term success of an engagement.  I’m very excited to be working with Plume and will definitely recommend them as a partner for future clients.”

Andy Pearce, On track learning

“As a business we pride ourselves on taking a no nonsense and simple approach to meeting the needs of our customers. But as customers ourselves relying on a variety of partners we are all too often left disenchanted by specification documents or technical analysis which are shrouded in jargon. But this week we received our Discovery written as a story, where the information, or plot, unfolded in a sensible order and a language that mirrored our own. There was less tech jargon and more descriptive text to paint the pictures we needed.”

“It was so good, we shared the report with our entire staff and they were all able to engage in the process, it landed as opposed to flying overhead. We completed multiple reviews as elements cemented through discussion, without finding it a chore or putting it off. Both directors reflected how easy the entire process was and even wondered what we had missed, as it was almost too easy. But nothing was missed, the process was just professionally carried out in an informal way that mirrored our values.”

“We highly recommend Discovery carried by Plume, from the initial proposal to the delivery of the outcomes we have felt listened to and understood, challenged and guided as needed, but most of all we actually felt like partners not new customers.” 


If you’re interested in learning more about Discovery and how it can help with your e-learning or membership website project, please get in touch with us by clicking the button below.

Kaine Shutler

Founder & Managing Director

Kaine is the founder and managing director of Plume and the award-winning designer of many of our client’s products. Kaine’s 10 years of experience means that he can solve complex user challenges through creative interface design, and his work has been recognised by Interfacely and CSS Awards.

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