A lot of our clients - and potential clients - put a great deal of time and effort into their "Request for Proposals" or RFPs.
At Lift, we typically don't reply to many RFPs, simply because we feel, and have learned through years of experience, that by the time the scope is so tightly defined, much of the room for creativity and innovation has been lost. When people are too focused on setting out the details of a project, it's often difficult to imagine the possibilities that could be.
A central pillar of every RFP is the "project scope" and while this is important for defining the general direction of the project, it by no means defines what makes the project successful.
If we work towards completing the project solely on the basis of ticking off items in the scope, then our goal, if we're trying to be profitable as a company, would be to complete the list with as little effort as possible. Every feature would have as few lines of code as possible and thoughtless copy-and-paste would be better. I can't imagine that this is what our clients really want and that is definitely not the way we work at Lift.
Our team likes to take a different approach to our work. We want to know what would make the project successful. With that in mind, we like to sit down with our clients early on to discover their goals and reassess the project features and scope through a slightly different lens. During this exercise, our experience and creativity can be applied to the project, and we often come up with entirely new ways of approaching things. Sometimes the project gets bigger as a result and we'll have to either trim features or expand the budget, and sometimes the project gets smaller. In either case, we know we're working towards a high quality final product that we can all be proud of.
One of many case studies like this was when we started working with the Terra Pro Group to build their inventory tracking system. They started by giving us an Excel spreadsheet of which they wanted the functionality duplicated online. Yes, initially that might have served their purposes, but we immediately saw greater opportunity for them. We worked closely with our client to determine their key goals and how to best achieve them. We added some data visualization and new forms of data as well. We added structure to their data and ran some background processing. In the end, Terra Pro Group used their new system to impress and eventually gain new clients and they now have a much better sense of their inventory. We've completed a more detailed case study on this if you'd like to read more.