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Request for Proposal: A Guide to Effective RFP Development 1st Edition

21 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 078-5342775754
ISBN-10: 0201775751
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Praise for Request for Proposal

“Bud Porter-Roth is an expert in the field of preparing RFPs, and we could not have successfully completed our project without his skill and knowledge. This book is a clear guide to an otherwise complex and difficult process. If you can’t hire Bud Porter-Roth to write your RFP, then you should buy this book.”

         —Lori Deibel, Manager, Library Services

“This book is priceless. It is a must for a novice writing an RFP.”

         —Doris Lopez, Senior Systems Engineer, O-Cedar Brands, Inc.

“This book brings a structure to a process that is too often unstructured. There have been no standards (outside of government) that I know of that apply to RFP preparation. I also believe that vendors (sellers) would welcome a more uniform and consistent style of RFP.”

         —Frank Tillman, API Systems Group

“This book provides overall coverage on a subject that deserves some real guidance. I like very much the sentiment concerning the RFP as the basis for a team and the idea that the RFP is the beginning, not the end. His emphasis on the need for clarity in the RFP and for measurable requirements needs to be heard and understood by many within the target audience. He takes an excellent position on ‘Why Write an RFP’.”

         —Patricia Oberndorf, SEI

“This book is well written and insightful. It provides good information on what makes a good requirement, how proposals are evaluated, and what precautions to take to prevent early elimination.”

         —Linda Fernandez

“Just a note to tell you thank you for providing some tips on how to structure an RFP. I work for a small company who does not have a specific template for this purpose and found your guidance a very useful starting point.”

         —Dan Salo

Despite its importance as an initial step in the development of major technical projects, the Request for Proposal (RFP) process rarely receives the professional attention it deserves. Used by government agencies and by private corporations to solicit proposals from contractors and vendors, the RFP document is the foundation for a successful project. A clearly written and properly organized RFP clarifies technical goals, communicates administrative and financial expectations, and sets the tone for good communication and a trusting and productive relationship between customer and contractor.

This experience-based handbook offers a systematic, comprehensive, and professional approach to writing RFPs. It guides you step-by-step—from initial planning to selecting the winning proposal—through the RFP process, demonstrating the most effective ways of structuring the document and expressing technical, administrative, and financial requirements. Request for Proposal: A Guide to Effective RFP Development focuses on the major goals of the RFP process—to elicit high-quality responses from potential contractors and promote effective communication between the client and the chosen vendor.

You will be able to:

  • Plan and organize the RFP effort
  • Outline each RFP section
  • Develop, write, and review all requirements, including those that are administrative, technical, and managerial
  • Set realistic pricing requirements
  • Pre-screen a vendor list to select appropriate vendors
  • Set up objective evaluation criteria for selecting the best solution
  • Prepare for post-RFP activities such as site visits, reference checks, and implementation activities

    In addition, this book includes several templates you can adapt for your own organization’s RFP efforts. Request for Proposal gives numerous examples of both effective and poorly-written RFP requirements that illustrate the author’s points and provide solid advice to help you avoid common pitfalls and implement best practices.

    For anyone with the responsibility of writing RFPs or responding to them, this book is are source you will want to keep close at hand.

  • About the Author

    Bud Porter-Roth is a technology consultant who specializes in helping clients develop and write effective RFPs, evaluate vendor proposals, and implement joint projects. As a result of hisreal-world expertise, Mr. Porter-Roth frequently writes and lectures on RFPs. He is also the author of Proposal Development: How to Respond and Win the Bid (PSI Research-Oasis Press, 1998).


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    Product Details

    • Paperback: 336 pages
    • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1 edition (December 31, 2001)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 0201775751
    • ISBN-13: 978-0201775754
    • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.6 x 9.3 inches
    • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
    • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #323,474 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

    More About the Author

    Mr. Porter-Roth has over 20 years of experience as a consultant, with a focus on electronic document management, records management, and paper document projects. Mr. Porter-Roth participates directly in each engagement providing a hands-on approach to the business process analysis, interviewing users, and writing a final report and recommendation.

    Areas of specific expertise include project definition, business process definition, requirements analysis, opportunity cost/benefit and TCO analysis, RFP development and vendor selection, and project quality assurance.

    Mr. Porter-Roth has a broad based knowledge of public and private industry having participated in major projects for the IRS, state governments, local county and city governments, and private businesses in the financial sector, retail industry, petroleum industry, and others.

    Mr. Porter-Roth keeps current on technologies by attending various technology conferences, speaking at technology conferences, participating on AIIM committees, and working with vendors during client engagements and system implementations.

    Additional information can be found on my website:

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Mike Tarrani HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on February 29, 2004
    Format: Paperback
    There are literally hundreds of good books on proposal writing, but only a tiny handful on writing RFPs. From among the handful this book stands out for a number of reasons:
    (1) It clearly described the RFP process from start to finish - and RFP development is a process with a defined life cycle.
    (2) The author goes well beyond the immediate objective of writing an RFP and managing the process by including thought-provoking material on post-award vendor management. This material sometimes escapes the RFP development team who is more focused on getting to the award milestone without thinking about the post-award ramifications.
    (3) It's not boring - the writing is lively, and the material is presented at a fast pace. The pace, however, does not leave gaps. Every facet of the RFP process is covered in sufficient detail.
    In addition to the above, the approach set forth in this book is consistent with best practices in RFP development. I especially like the copious checklists, the RFP roadmap, and the way illustrations are skillfully used to reinforce concepts and advice.
    Note that the focus of this book is information technology and software acquisition. Some of the material is unique to those domains; however, the basic principles and RFP process can be used for virtually any type of RFP, from office services to purchasing furniture.
    Overall, this is the one book I recommend for RFP development. If you are an IT professional, regardless of role, the chances are you will be involved in this process at some point in your career, making this book a valuable addition to your library. If you have recently been assigned to an RFP team you should get this book as soon as possible, and use it as your compass and blueprint if your organization does not already have a formal RFP process in place.
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    17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Karl E. Wiegers on March 22, 2002
    Format: Paperback
    Any organization that outsources development projects, buys package solutions, or contracts for other services will find "Request for Proposal" valuable. Filling a significant void in the literature, this book provides a wealth of practical guidance to help buyers describe their needs clearly and completely. In turn, these descriptions enable prospective vendors to prepare comprehensive and meaningful responses that will let a buyer get the best solution for its money. The book emphasizes writing RFPs for software-related projects, but the principles and practices apply to any acquisition activity.
    The book addresses the process of developing RFPs and evaluating proposals. It also describes in detail the sections of a well-constructed RFP and offers guidance as to how to prepare each section. Instead of presenting a simplistic prescription, the book addresses both sides of issues that are not clear cut, such as whether to include the details of the proposal evaluation criteria in the RFP. These discussions help readers understand the various points of view so they can select for themselves the appropriate course to take in each situation. The book includes many checklists, forms, examples, and practical tips. It is clearly written, easy to read, and comprehensive.
    I found this book very helpful as I developed a software subcontract management process recently. Every time I pick it up I spot another tidbit to consider adding to the process. "Request for Proposal" is a gold mine of useful ideas for anyone who has to ask vendors to describe how they propose to satisfy a buyer's requirements.
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    6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 11, 2002
    Format: Paperback
    RFP Handbook is a great addition to any IT project manager's bookshelf. It is clear that the author is writing based on real-world experience. The book offers a good foundation for creating RFP's and offers practical advice that will keep you from making costly mistakes. It also provides examples and templates for writing an RFP. I wish I had this book ten years ago. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is responsible for, or contributing to, the creating of an RFP.
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    4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 5, 2002
    Format: Paperback
    Mr. Porter-Roth's book is an invaluable resource for anyone challenged with the development of an RFP or responding to one. Having been involved many times on both the user's side for developing RFPs and evaluating responses and on the vendor's side responding to RFPs, one of the most valuable statements is that the RFP process is a partnership between the user organization and the responding vendors. Mr. Porter-Roth's advice for adhering to a well-defined structure of the RFP and the mandatory requirement on the vendor to respond according to the structure can save hours of confusion and frustration for purchasing and the users when evaluating RFP responses. The payback on an investment in this book will be manyfold.
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    6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 9, 2007
    Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
    I bought this book because I was to lead a group in developing an RFP but had no experience with RFP's. I don't know how this book will meet the needs of anyone with a lot of experience but I am extremely impressed by its readability, organization, and applicability. I'm still working on the project but have gotten good feedback on what I've developed, which I could not have done without the guidance and information in the book. It is logically sequenced and appears to cover all bases, though someone with a lot more experience would be better able to assess this. Impressed? Very.
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