Q:  

I work for a non- profit organization that is just starting to write an RFP for their membership database and redesign of their Web site. Because of limited resources, I have been assigned to manage this project and, needless to say, it's a stretch. What can I do to start me in the right direction?

A:  

Sid Adelman’s Answer:

  1. Be very clear about your business requirements and include those in the RFP as background for the vendors.
  2. Understand and be sure to distinguish among what is "mandatory," "important" and "nice-to- have." Let the vendors know.
  3. Get a few sample RFPs – don’t reinvent what someone else has already invented.
  4. Avoid asking for the moon; ask only for what you need. Make it easy for yourself and for the vendors (if you make it too hard for the vendors, the good ones won’t even reply and the bad ones will only provide vague, boilerplate answers).
  5. Bring in a consultant to help you develop the RFP and to evaluate the responses.
  6. Have a small group involved in the RFP creation and evaluation – if you have an army involved, you will have to make unfortunate compromises.

Douglas Hackney’s Answer: I’m assuming funds are limited and resources are non-existent. If this is the case, then you might try approaching a local university and seeing if a graduate student or two is interested in working with you. Your project could form the basis of their research or thesis.

Clay Rehm’s Answer: I would recommend project management training. Even if it is a one- or two-day session, there is much to be gained from such a session. I would recommend you visit the PMI Web site (www.pmi.org) for more information. Also, Sid Adelman and Larissa Moss have written a book on the subject, which is very good. Sid also teaches a one-day class that is very good.

Characteristics of a good project manager include big picture thinking, planning ahead, great organization skills and the ability to get along with anybody!

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