Re: Proposal vs Requirements/Specifications doc

Subject: Re: Proposal vs Requirements/Specifications doc
From: Rowena Hart <rhart -at- INTRINSYC -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 8 May 1998 08:41:07 -0700


I've written literally hundreds of proposals, so
here's what I know:

There is actually a proposal process that you
need to be aware of. It starts when a client has
a need to fill, for example they need to hire a
consultant to analyze their in-house computer
network. They create a document which is
called a Request for Proposal.

This document describes the work that needs
to be done, identifies any issues that may
affect the completion of the work (for example,
if the contractor must work at night, or if the
company does not know how many computers
it has or what programs are operating on them),
spells out any legal or contracting details,
identifies what the consultant must produce by
the end of their contract (such as a report),
sets a very specific time frame for responses,
describes in detail how the responses to the RFP
will be evaluated (usually providing a scoring
grid) and outlines what information, style or
setup the financial proposal (bid) must have.

Usually, an RFP has several sections. It is a
legal document, so should be reviewed by a
lawyer. If the company or individual sending
out the RFP does not disclose any dangers
or issues that may affect the contractor's health
or ability to complete the contract as signed,
the company or person can be held liable under
the law.

Your response to the RFP must meet all
conditions outlined in the RFP. If the RFP
specifies that you use a particular format for your
response, that you submit your response by
a certain time, or that you disclose the financial
health of your own company, you must meet
all of these demands in your response, which
is called the "Proposal". If you make a mistake
in your proposal, tough beans. You signed it
and sent it in and you are legally bound by what
you offered to the client. For example, if you
mistakenly quote $1000 instead of $100,000
to the client, the client can accept the $1000 bid
and you're filing for bankruptcy.

If you (or anyone else) has specific questions
about the proposal process, please feel free
to ask me privately at rhart -at- intrinsyc -dot- com -dot-
Remember, the RFP and your proposal are
legal documents, and you can be put out of
business through a poorly crafted RFP or



Rowena Hart
Technical Writer
Intrinsyc Software, Inc.

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