I’ve spent a lot of my career pursing opportunities from other organizations. In a life of fundraising, which seems like centuries ago, I used to write a ton of proposals. This skill, especially the ability to write fairly well, allowed me to be an active participant in “pursuits” for my old consulting firm. More than once during pursuits, our team of bleary eyed consultants would rip the client to shreds because their documentation wasn’t very good. Now, thanks to the desire to hire some extra help to get TechWhirl moved from Drupal [spit] to WordPress, our company’s name is being taken in vain. If it isn’t, it’s only because the vendors are kind.
Until this little exercise, I’ve never put anything out to bid. Sure, I’d get quotes on t-shirts or for an event and then ensure that my organization got the best price but nothing like what we’re trying to do now.
Connie and I have owned TechWhirl for over three months and things are going pretty well. We’ve created a new sponsorship program, and the initial feedback has been very good. Part of our plan is some pretty serious development for TechWhirl’s website. I probably lost a couple years off my total life expectancy during the first redesign so Connie and I decided to find some professionals to help.
We dutifully drafted requirements and researched WordPress to see what could be done and what couldn’t be done. It was during this research that our three month project whittled down to 6 weeks and now three weeks. So, I’ve become the client I always hated – lots of requirements with too short of a deadline.
Then, to compound things, instead of creating one master document that was something like 30 – 40 pages, I skipped that step in lieu of a few documents that sort-of hold together. Find the voodoo dolls for the pins in the ears, because now it’s a tight timeline and hard to follow. Fark!
And finally, we think we’ve drafted some pretty creative ideas. Creative ideas = customization = more money; but while we’re not poor going into this process, we’re certainly not plush with cash. So, now we’re running behind, confusing to follow and [at some level] cheap. The trifecta!
The fact I’ve finally gotten it through my head that I can’t do the development (too cheap to pay someone and also the reason for some of the delay) is a major step forward. We are being reasonable with everyone who’s pursuing the work and intend to be loyal to whomever chooses to
tolerate work with us right now. We’re trying to get the message out that we need just a basic site for the short timeline and then can do development slowly – reasonable – thus taking a step away from client from hell status.
We’re doing our best to clean up these rookie mistakes, but it’s the old Einstein rule of 11 changes to correct one mistake. The fact that we’re getting close to securing someone is a major achievement. It’s said that experience is what you get the moment after you need it and this process is certainly a good example. I’ll certainly bite my tongue the next time I see a client provide a less than well structured approach to an RFP. This stuff is harder than it looks.