The Request for Proposal Handbook

By Asner, Michael | Government Finance Review, December 1996 | Go to article overview

The Request for Proposal Handbook


Asner, Michael, Government Finance Review


The following article presents excerpts from a sourcebook of guidelines, best practices, examples, laws, regulations, and checklists from jurisdictions in the United States and Canada. The Request for Proposal Handbook was published in 1995. The excerpts here are reprinted from Chapter 4, "The RFP Document," with permission of the author.

Sample Tables of Contents

There are many sources for good ideas which can improve an RFP. The table of contents of another organization's RFP may help you to identify some areas or issues which you have not considered. These tables offer insights into how organizations structure their RFPs and identify some of the critical issues; they can be useful as checklists for items and topics. Exhibit 1 illustrates the table of contents of a simple RFP.

RFPs take many different forms. Each form reflects a different organization; culture; and set of priorities, skills, and requirements. In reviewing a variety of RFPs, you will see that many of them have four sections in common: ground rules, system requirements, evaluation criteria, and format of the proposal.

Ground Rules. This first section typically identifies the purpose of the RFP, the name of the person to contact for further information, and the number of copies required. This section may include a timetable of dates relevant to the project. It may also address a wide variety of other issues and contain statements such as "A corporate officer must sign the proposal," "The issuer is not liable for costs," and "The proposal will be incorporated in any resultant contract."

Requirements. This section deals with the specific requirements. It attempts to define the users' needs or problems. For example, if the RFP deals with acquiring a turnkey system - computer equipment, software, and applications packages from the same supplier - this section would contain a description of each of the current systems. It also may identify any known shortcomings or required enhancements. It would include a table of the volumes of each type of transaction both now, at the peak season, and for several years in the future.

Evaluation Criteria. This section identifies how the decision is to be made: how the best or most appropriate supplier and product will be selected. Many factors can influence the selection: cost, goodness of fit, support services available, and contractual conditions. At a minimum, this section should identify each of the factors which will be utilized. Some organizations only provide vague descriptions of the evaluation criteria; others go much further and identify not only each factor but its weight and the selection process itself.

Proposal Format. The final section of this simple RFP structures the proposal. It is important that each supplier provide its information in a comparable form. Imposing a sequence on all suppliers saves many hours of hunting through hundreds of pages of text.

A common organization for proposals is: 1) letter of transmittal; 2) executive summary; 3) our understanding of the requirements; 4) proposed equipment, software, and services; 5) costs; 6) physical requirements; 7) training; 8) conversion plan; 9) reliability and backup; 10) project plan and timetable; and 11) standard agreements.

Exhibit 2 shows the table of contents of a request for proposal prepared by a state agency. This RFP reflected the investment of large amounts of time, money, and experience. The approach to identifying requirements was especially well-done. In the requirements section, more than 100 specific technical features were addressed. An accompanying compliance table listed each of the technical features and provided a space for the supplier to enter "yes" or "no." In addition, the compliance table identified whether each feature was mandatory or desirable or whether the question was simply for information purposes only.

Incorporation of this table in the RFP simplified the work of the evaluators and made it easy to highlight major weaknesses. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Request for Proposal Handbook
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.