Weeknotes: 42.2015 – sharing research and 8 tips on writing a successful brief

On October 22nd, 2015, posted in: weeknotes by

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We’ve been doing a lot of thinking a lot about how we disseminate the research findings and knowledge gained from the various projects that FGW do. One way is by talking about it in various arenas. In this vein, Laura gave a lecture at JFK University to their Museum Studies course about what makes a good RFP and shares her tips below:

“We often write briefs/RFP’s for on behalf of our clients but it was only when I needed to speak to the JFK University Museum Studies course on the RFP process, that I stopped to think about what actually makes for a successful RFP.

Here are my top tips:

Don't depend on luck, cautionary tale depicting a crashed car

Some RFPs leave too much to luck

  1. Identify the audience and describe use cases. Who is the target audience and how will they use the product or service?
  2. Describe desired outcomes and indicators. If the project is wildly successful what will that look like and how will you know? What is the impact you want to have on your audience? What are the pain points and gain points for your audience that you’re trying to address?
  3. Ask for a description of the vendor’s process but don’t micromanage every project deliverable. You not only want to know what solution a vendor is proposing but how they are going to get there. Development process and project management approach have an enormous impact on the final product. They can mean the difference between a project that gets you your next promotion versus one that takes years off your life.
  4. Make your expectations clear. This sounds blindingly obvious but I’ve seen countless RFPs in which an organization fails to state key project priorities and expectations about the working relationship. Sometime we can’t see the forest for the trees. Having someone who is unfamiliar with the project review a draft RFP will often reveal hidden assumptions that need to be more clearly stated.
  5. Conduct interviews/presentations, ideally face-to-face. This is a relationship and personal chemistry is important.
  6. Plan for post-launch. What are your requirements of the vendor post launch? Maintenance? Warranty? Staff Training? Documentation?
  7. Be transparent about your evaluation process. How will you be assessing the proposals you receive? What’s your timeline for decision-making?”

More sharing: the Van Gogh Museum work was presented at the Communicating The Museum conference in Instanbul in September by Marthe de Vet (Head of Education at the Van Gogh Museum) Ebelien Pondaag (Strategist at Fabrique) and our own Alyson Webb. The video went up last week on YouTube, and you can watch it below.

It features Marthe talking about the way they originally tried (and failed) to eliminate risk by pinning down all the details and how that wasnt a good approach. It eliminated the room for creative response without actually limiting the risk. Hear what they tried instead.

Back to our work week, we’ve been concentrating on the VGM family guide, following the previous look at the adult guide. In particular we’ve been reflected on the way in which the service design and onboarding process can almost be more important than the guide content in terms of the impact on visitor experience. So, if the visitor isn’t set up properly, it becomes a battle to even get to that content. More on this soon.

One Response to “Weeknotes: 42.2015 – sharing research and 8 tips on writing a successful brief”

  • Claudia says:

    Yes, yes, yes a thousand times, yes!Nothing is more ifunriating than the RFP process. Often when filling out an RFP, my team it a point to provide all the information they ask for, but in the actual proposal section, tell the company what it is that they actually need and how to get it: conduct a strategic review and then decide upon the solution that best matches need and budget. As you might guess, we almost never win RFPs. But the thought is that when the results of the RFP fail miserably, they’ll remember that one company that told them so ahead of time.

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