Partners Don't Let Partners Write RFPs

Posted by Dave Fisher on 06.08.15
Dave Fisher
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“We want a strategic partner, not a vendor.”

Every time I hear it, I get a warm and fuzzy. Because when someone says “partner” - to me that means,  “We’re gonna pop the hood open on this puppy, show you what we’re dealing with, and come up with solution together.” Not only is this where we thrive at Aerie Consulting, it’s also where clients get the most value.

That said, partners don’t let partners write RFPs. RFPs are the antithesis of partnership.

OK – that’s a bit strong, but at its core an RFP assumes that the author has the answer to the problem. Typically, an RFP neatly lays out the approximate scope of a project, the technical and / or functional requirements of solution, and many times even the specific platforms that should be used when designing the solution. “But, what if the assumptions within the RFP are wrong?”


Great question, thank you for asking… If the assumptions in an RFP are wrong, you’ve successfully kicked off a project to develop the most affordable, wrong answer.

It’s an easy fix though. Replace the RFP process with a series of workshops. Let’s go back to the car analogy. Get some referrals on good mechanics. Go see a few. Tell each of them the year, make and model of the car and describe what it’s like to drive it. What you see, hear and feel.  Then soak in the findings and the recommendations from each mechanic. Ask more questions. Pick your mechanic (partner). Get working on that VW Beetle.

That’s a bit different than writing a paper (RFP) on what you think is wrong with your car based on your own research and asking three mechanics to quote replacing the catalytic converter… Especially not good if your catalytic converter is fine but your wheel bearing is toast.

You get the point.

So when it comes to your friends over here at Aerie– remember this.

  • You don’t need answers – hunches and pain points are a great place to start a conversation.
  • We’d prefer to be getting our hands dirty in the proverbial weeds with you. Let’s us help identify the root of the issue.
  • We promise a fast track to the best answer (even if it’s the least expensive).

Topics: Leadership

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