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6 RFP Project Management Tips to Enhance Your Proposal Process

Welcome to the last installment of The New Purchaser’s Guide to Public Procurement—a blog series we’ve created to help new procurement professionals learn the basics of public purchasing as they dive into the job. In this article, we’re going to cover the basics of Request for Proposal (RFP) management, why it’s important, and tools to help manage the process. With these insights, you’ll get a better idea of RFP project management general best practices that help save time and resources, all while improving results. So, let’s get started! 

What is RFP Project Management? 

RFP project management is the process of creating and managing requests for proposals sent out to suppliers or service providers to procure services or products for your organization.  

By issuing an RFP, organizations can request bids from many potential suppliers and select the best supplier based on cost, quality, and other criteria. The RFP process for most organizations typically involves writing a detailed document describing your needs, inviting responses from suppliers, evaluating those responses against a set of predetermined selection criteria, and selecting the most appropriate supplier to move forward with. 

Best Practices for RFP Project Management 

Project management is complex, but there are a few best practices that can help ensure consistent project success: 

  1. Establish clear goals 
  2. Create a timeline 
  3. Maximize supplier outreach 
  4. Provide clear instructions 
  5. Evaluate responses objectively 
  6. Use technology 

1. Establish Clear Goals 

Establishing clear and measurable goals is the first step of successful RFP project management. As a public procurement manager, when you begin a new project, you should create a task list and define project objectives for the RFP. Taking the time to define these details will help ensure everyone is on the same page and save your organization time and money by reducing  revisions. 

To ensure your goals are measurable, it’s important to define what success looks like. For example, how much time do you expect the RFP process to take? Or how many suppliers do you want to respond?  

Creating these goals will help create a crystal clear bidding process both internally and for your suppliers. 

2. Create a Timeline 

Creating a clear timeline in the RFP document helps ensure everyone involved are aware of the various steps in the RFP process. By sticking to the steps and meeting deadlines, suppliers can be sure they will not be disqualified for missing a key component of the RFP project requirements.  

An example timeline might include: 

  • Initial request sent out (deadline for RFP publication) 
  • Bids submitted and reviewed by stakeholders (deadline to submit bids) 
  • Vendor negotiations (deadline to negotiate and agree on terms) 
  • Finished proposal is accepted or rejected (deadline to award) 

3. Maximize Supplier Outreach 

One of the best practices for procurement staff is to maximize competition by inviting as many relevant suppliers as possible to bid. You’ll not only increase your chance of finding the right solution to your project needs, but also benefit from competitive prices. 

Inviting many vendors also allows you the flexibility to award everything to one vendor or to split the project across multiple vendors to create the best overall package, which is especially helpful if you’re under budget constraints. 

4. Provide Clear Instruction 

Taking the time to provide clear, detailed instructions at the beginning of the RFP project management process will save you time and confusion later. Set expectations for your team’s involvement, budget restrictions, deadlines, response formats, and any technical requirements. Communicating these specific duties up front will help you divide resources, avoid conflict, and manage the timeline more effectively. 

5. Evaluate Responses Objectively 

It is critical to evaluate possible solutions objectively. Create a pre-defined scoring matrix that organizes each evaluation criteria for success and assign point values for different scores. This information helps everyone understand the decision-making process, drafting clear guidelines by which to judge vendor responses and answer quality on the RFP.  

Additionally, if multiple evaluators are involved in the RFP process, it’s important define how to assign points so each vendor is considered equally. 

6. Use Technology 

When you think of all the steps that even a simple RFP must undergo, it’s difficult to know where to start. Between collaborating with stakeholders, managing vendor questions, tabulating the responses, and tracking down RFP evaluators, it’s easy to become lost and overwhelmed.  

That’s why we recommend using technology to centralize and manage the process.  

Purpose-built procurement software provides built-in collaboration tools, compliance checks, and detailed insights into the procurement process that other legacy systems can’t provide. They also often contain RFP examples and RFP templates to get you going in the right direction, key data insights, submission guidelines for the proposal team, and agile management all around, for both the prospective vendor’s proposal manager and your agency’s team.  

This increases the transparency and visibility for both your internal stakeholders, and the suppliers involved in the RFP response process. 

Enhance Your Project Management with Euna Procurement 

As a member of the procurement team, you play an integral role in the proposal process. From defining needs, goals, and timelines to overseeing a team of evaluators, it can be a lot. Managing RFP processes on your own can be frustrating and can lead to less-than-desirable outcomes for both potential suppliers and your agency alike.   

Pairing these RFP project management best practices with Euna Procurement’s purpose-built tools gathers everything in one place, helping you better identify tasks, evaluate each proposal document, and achieve your project goals. 

Tell us about your procurement process and learn how Euna Procurement can help—book a conversation with one of our experts!


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Learn how to find the right solutions partner to enhance your ERP, save time and resources, and ultimately deliver a greater impact on the communities you serve.

Download eBook