Informative legal insight into creating well-informed RFP (Request for Proposal)

In my experience of receiving RFPs and creating proposals, I tend to err on the side of caution and prefer to deliver proposals that detail exactly what is included in the estimated price, while unforeseen requests will incur additional costs. Most often, an RFP will likely be vague and all encompassing, simply because a client wants to cover all their bases without actually doing their work and finding out what they need. In response, as a service provider, the onus is on me to make sense of it and solidify it into a tangible deliverables.

“There is little that’s more frustrating than receiving a request for proposal (RFP) written by an individual who doesn’t know what he’s doing–especially when it’s a company you really want as a client. You know what I’m talking about–the RFP unexpectedly shows up in your inbox offering a moment of excitement, but your deflation follows as you start to read and realize this person doesn’t know what he wants in a creative firm, isn’t asking the right questions or is simply casting as wide a net as possible, creating untold hours of work for a multitude of firms, many of which should not even be under consideration.”

The Legal Implications of Issuing an RFP.

After reading the article, the advice given in creating a brief to be used as guide in conversations with firms and then proceeding with creation of contracts, makes all kinds of sense to me. Both parties will get a better understanding of what is wanted, what will be delivered, and how they can come to a mutual partnership.

“Cal Harrison advises buyers and sellers of professional services on how to improve the procurement process and he puts the effect of these two cases into layman’s terms. “The RFP process as it is typically constructed now has all kinds of flaws that can be challenged by bidders. Both parties are better off if they have conversations that lead to contracts and not contracts that lead to contracts.” ”

“The test of a well-considered RFP, in my opinion, is whether the document can be used as a guide for the buyer rather than a to-do list for the seller.”

The Legal Implications of Issuing an RFP.

I highly recommend you read this, wether you’re an author or recipient of an RFP.

Design Business Advice from Mike Monterio: F*ck You. Pay Me.

This video has spread like wildfire amongst the design world, but if you haven’t seen it yet, have a look at some hard hitting truthiness! The following advice found in this presentation is straight up the most important business advice that you should take to heart in order to grow financially and successfully as a design business, whether you are freelancer or company.

2011/03 Mike Monteiro | F*ck You. Pay Me. from SanFrancisco/CreativeMornings on Vimeo.

Mike Monterio from Mule Design, can also be found on Twitter as @mike_ftw. Check him out and follow him for even more in-your-face truthiness!

Object Oriented CSS

It wasn’t till a few weeks ago that I learned there was an actual term to what I have been building and practising when working with CSS. Object oriented CSS is basically creating robust and reusable CSS to style blocks of HTML – which can then be reused in various layouts without having to create new CSS. This means you can build a cleaner, meaner, smaller CSS file for high performance websites and applications. Though the main goal is to improve your CSS, this theory encompasses how you build your HTML so that they CAN be reused optimally.

There are two main principles [in object-oriented CSS]: the first is to separate the structure from the skin and the second is to separate the container from the content. – Nicole Sullivan

Nicole Sullivan on Object Oriented CSS Video

It’s pretty crazy that I am just finally putting the correct terminology to what I have been doing all this time. I was in a team meeting when one of the developers brought up the term  “object oriented CSS” and I just had that funny look on my face like… what does that mean? And as soon as he explained it, I was awash with understanding and validation as if he had just put into words my inner web designer truth. So yeah, I’m pretty… no, I’m mega super excited about this and now I know what to call it. Thanks Ryan (explaining it to me) and Jason (sharing the video). I couldn’t imagine building a website without this core philosophy, it just wouldn’t make sense otherwise.

You can definitely learn more about the philosophy and how to put it into practice with the following links below.

Further Reading:

Install Essential Applications In A Breeze with Ninite Easy PC Setup

I recently came across this new tool that will likely speed up my application management process. At any point where you have to reinstall or setup a new computer, you have to arm yourself with all the applications essential to your work/fun flow. Sometimes, that requires you to search your archives or search for them online but you can save yourself a boat load of time by trying out Ninite Easy PC Setup.

ninite installer

Get all your favourite applications installed in 3 hot steps:

  1. Select your applications.
  2. Download the installer.
  3. Run it and voila! You’re done like turkey.

Benefits:

  • Doesn’t install all the extra features like toolbars and suggested applications
  • Save time from searching for the latest applications and installing them one by one
  • Smart enough to install the correct version and language for your PC (32/64bit)

Cons:

  • Free version requires online access to automatically check/request the latest applications
  • Premium version is required to create an offline installer
  • Premium version follows a monthly subscription based model (um, I don’t think its worth especially when all these programs are free)
  • Doesn’t have all my essential applications (Vuze, Media Monkey, WAMP, XAMPP, Windows Live Writer) but then again, it might have all that you need

I’m willing to give this a try because it really does include the majority of what I need and use on a daily basis. However, I’m not made of money and this is something I wouldn’t want to spend monthly on when I hardly install programs on a near-constant basis. I’d rather geek out with some toys.

Do you think this something that might help you? What’s your own time-saving tools?