When you have to manage an RFP, there are always a lot of people with different goals and needs. To improve the way you handle the requirements and requests, start by understanding who your stakeholders are and what their prioritized needs are. Then create a dependable process for managing which requirements map to which stakeholder roles, keep everyone in the loop, and balance competing demands from different people invested in your project.
Stakeholders are those people who have a vested interest in the success of your project. They may be internal or external to your organization, but they’re certainly going to be involved with it in some way. Stakeholders can be individual people or groups of people, and they tend to fall into three main categories:
- Customers – End users
- Leadership – Executives, managers, and decision-makers within an organization
- Investors/Owners – Those with a financial interest in the overall company success
- Partners – Go-to-Market or Implementation providers or suppliers who will provide products or services based on the project outcome
RFP Project Summary
Before you start developing your solution, make sure you define the target problem, project objective, and set your goals. If you don’t know what your goals are going in, there’s no way to know whether or not you’re making progress.
Provide clear direction as to the goals, scope, timeline, and criteria for supplier selection when writing an RFP. Be sure all stakeholders are represented within the project summary and are in agreement. It’s critical that expectations are set up front within the RFP and that all high-level goals are properly represented and included within the project summary.
Balancing your stakeholders’ needs
Balancing stakeholder needs is something that you’ll have to learn how to do in order to become a more effective project manager. Stakeholders may have different and conflicting priorities, which means that you need to be able to deal with these competing interests effectively. Some stakeholders will want one thing, while others will want something else entirely.
The larger objective of the RFP project can help to properly prioritize goals. If the RFP’s primary objective is to find a new green supplier and one of the stakeholder requirements is to restrict the supplier location to a specific city or region it while another stakeholder requirement is to only use a supplier with a required certification for food-safe packaging, it can create too narrow a possible supplier pool. If the packaging must be food-safe, then the certification is a must have priority and the whole point of the project is to select a more environmentally sound supplier so that is a must have. It becomes more clear that the regional location of the supplier is a nice-to-have and it’s important to note the impacts of location on additional factors and overall project goals. For example the project is to select a green supplier, suppliers who are outside the ideal region may require additional shipping which impacts overall carbon footprint. While the requirement is a nice-to-have, the impact of the location needs to be a consideration point in the main objective.
A dependable RFP process
A dependable process is a process that can be relied upon to deliver results.
It’s one of the most important characteristics of any business process, and stakeholder RFP management is no exception. A dependable process is consistent, predictable, and repeatable—meaning it’s repeatable by different people at different times in different situations. It’s not an easy task, but it does need to be done correctly before you can expect quality results from your stakeholders.
Deploying an RFP management tool can help support a consistent process where all stakeholders remain informed about status, easily weigh in on priorities and participating supplier responses, and share feedback in-context. To get the best results when managing stakeholder RFPs, use a dependable process, keep everyone in the loop and balance the competing demands of your stakeholders.
A dependable process is essential. If you can’t rely on it, your stakeholders will have trouble trusting you with their business. Make sure that your RFP workflow is easy to use and provides clear instructions for reviewers so they can easily complete their work.
Stakeholders should know what’s expected of them during each step in an RFP process because this helps them stay focused on their tasks while also providing peace of mind that they aren’t missing anything important along the way. It’s also important to keep stakeholders informed about progress by communicating status updates and other relevant information via regular emails or meetings – this will help prevent miscommunication between teams working on different parts of an RFP at once (e.g., sending out proposals).
If you’re struggling to manage stakeholder RFPs and keep everyone happy, it might be time for a change. The key is to have a dependable process that can be customized for each client’s needs, keep everyone on task and in the loop so everyone’s contributions are valuable and appreciated, and balance the demands of multiple stakeholders when possible.