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Where do RFPs come from?

Once upon a time in a big corporation…

Mr. X (you know? the one who does all the work) : Aaaaaargh! I am fed up of watching this screen 24×7 just to let Mr. Y (the boss) know if I ever see a red dot in the top right corner

Mr. Z (co-worker) : Hey we can probably get some software to do that. You should talk to Mr. Y (the boss) about it.

Mr. X (to himself) : Sure! that’ll get me fired.

So Mr. X doesn’t talk to the boss(Mr. Y). But Mr. Z plots an evil plot to get Mr. X out of the way. He tells Mr. Y that they should get software to replace Mr. X.

The Mr. Y loves the idea.
He makes a presentation to his boss…
who presents it to his boss (as if it was his own idea)…
who arranges for a meeting with Mr. P (a guy he knows in the IT department)…
who rants for the full duration of the meeting about how he doesn’t have any time / resources to build new software.

Mr. P then goes and whines about it to his boss (Mr. Q)
who says he has some money left from this years budget that needs to be spent. “Let’s get the software built by a vendor” he says.

Mr. Q talks to his boss
who tells him he should talk to Purchase department
who tells him he should talk to Legal first to write a request for proposal
who tell them he will need to hire 2 college grads and a really sadistic lawyer to create an incomprehensible document about what needs to be done. He spends all his budget on the college grads and sadistic lawyer and gets a document that totally impresses the Purchase department who awards him with the “King of Kickass RFPs” award.

Purchase then takes the RFP document and sits/sleeps/(i-dont-want-to-know)s on it for the rest of the year because there is no budget anyway. Then new money arrives in the next year and Purchase floats the RFP.

It goes to vendors who start acting like they actually understand the whole business and asking difficult questions. Purchase gets scared and calls Mr. Q. However, Mr. Q has left the organization to go and join another one as “Chief RFPist” after his award winning RFP last year. Mr. R has taken his job. He doesn’t know head or tail of the RFP in question.

He talks to his boss who says “Oh! Yeah I remember! So and so had talked to Mr. P last year about replacing his subordinate’s subordinate’s subordinate’s subordinate with a software.” Have him talk to the vendors. But Mr. X has already left the agonizing job, Mr. Y is on vacation and Mr. Z is too busy staring at the screen looking for a red dot in the top right corner to be able to get on a call with the vendors.

So Mr. P talks to the vendors and gives the “requirements”. The vendors write more bullshit in their “Response to the Request for Proposal”. They too have a couple of grads and a smart ass legal guy. Mr. P then takes all the responses to the purchase and legal department for their recommendation for the cheapest quote with the maximum loopholes and awards the project to the most “suitable” vendor.

And then they say 70% of IT projects fail.

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