Harold van Heeringen

Worldwide, many Requests for proposals (RFP’s) are sent out every day to even more potential suppliers. In modern RFP’s, clients are trying to gather objective criteria, with which they can analyze and evaluate bids from different suppliers. However, the questions asked in these RFP’s are often hard to answer for immature organizations, but sometimes even harder to answer by more mature organizations.
Sogeti Nederland B.V., a large IT software supplier in the Netherlands, is often struggling to answer RFP questions like:
– What is your productivity rate for .Net projects?
– What is your standard duration for a project of 1.000 function points?
– What is your price per function point for a Java project?
Of course, these questions seem like good questions, but in fact these questions are ‘un-answerable’. We believe that there is no such thing as a standard productivity rate, but that there are a number of factors, like duration, size and complexity, that together lead to a realistic productivity rate. We could answer a question like: ‘What is your productivity rate for a moderately complex java project of 500 function points and a duration (low-level design – acceptance test) of 20 weeks?”. However, these are not the questions that are asked in RFP’s, so we have to improvise.
This also means that in the software industry, quotations of suppliers are often not realistic. Client organizations should become aware of the questions they should ask in RFP’s and they should learn how to evaluate the quotations from the suppliers. In this paper, both topics will be discussed. Participants on the demand side will learn which questions they should ask in RFP’s and how to identify the quotations from suppliers that are not realistic. Participants on the supply side will learn about the future in RFP management and the questions that they should be able to respond to in the (hopefully) near future.


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