The objectives of RFP scoring guidelines are to:
- ensure consistent and unbiased scoring
- remove individual scoring subjectivity
- achieve a consensus score for each proposal and items within it
1. Set up an RFP team and an Evaluation Committee. The RFP team should comprise members of the project team (software users, IT, procurement) and should do most of the work evaluating the RFP proposals. The RFP team reports to the Evaluation Committee (most probably the Project Steering Group). The Evaluation Committee would review the team’s evaluations, findings and recommendations and agree the way forward.
2. Establish RFP scoring guidelines prior to contacting vendors / creating your RFP. Then when you receive the proposals, score them based on the criteria established in the RFP.
3. Use the most relevant scoring / weighting scheme to evaluate your rfp’s (see rating criteria for rfp). Ensure it is agreed in advance and is applied consistently for evaluating all proposals.
4. Plan sufficient time to review each proposal, score, resolve queries, meet vendors and achieve consensus scores.
5. RFP team members should evaluate and score the proposals individually. Once completed, they should meet, to discuss and compare their findings. They need to agree a consensus or average score for each point and for the proposal / vendor in total. However, initially, there may be a wide variance in scores, comments and queries raised by team members. These will need to be resolved and it may take further investigations or meetings before this can be achieved.
6. Only scores from team members scoring the proposal may be used in any calculations. No one else should be allowed any input at this stage.
7. Individual scoring sheets and summary sheets (see the RFP Evaluation Template) will assist in the process of awarding and totaling points. Consider recording:
- preliminary scores (by each team member) for each criteria/proposal
- average scores
- above or below average scores
- vendor totals
- weighted scores
- agreed consensus scores
- analyses of the relative strengths and weaknesses of the proposals
- lists of pros/cons/issues/queries (requiring further clarification) for each proposal
- graphing the score results
- recommendations (with reasons)
8. Score all relevant aspects of the vendor’s proposal, not just the key RFP criteria eg:
- all software functionality requirements
- how informative the proposal is
- implementation assistance
- support and maintenance
- proposal costs
9. Do not, however, allow costs to be the main factor in rating systems. Always include a combination of factors, such as:
- software/vendor proposals
- software demonstrations
- vendor responsiveness to queries/clarification
- vendor keenness to be involved with your organisation
- as well as price
10. Any prior experience with the software and/or vendor should not be considered in scoring the proposals.
11. The team members should completely review and evaluate all proposals and their contents. They should all contribute to the final consensus scores for each vendor’s proposal.
12. When working towards achieving consensus scores, team members should be willing to compromise and adjust their preliminary scores if there are compelling reasons.
13. All team members should attend progress review/evaluation meetings as required. Written minutes should be taken in all meetings.
14. Team members should not be allowed to communicate directly or in private with vendors or other interested parties until the evaluation process has ended. Let the vendors know this in advance. Then, after the evaluation process, the team may meet vendors to resolve queries, clarify items or view presentations.
15. Once the queries have been resolved, items clarified, the consensus scores, findings and results should be reviewed by the RFP team. They should report/present these details to the Evaluation Committee for their input, discussion and agreement.
Absence of written evaluation guidelines can adversely impact your evaluation process - leading to inconsistent scores, confusion or slow the whole process down.
So if you don’t have any RFP scoring guidelines, use the above and tailor to your needs. Applying guidelines to your scoring process will ensure that your scoring is consistent and unbiased at this critical software selection stage.
For more RFP information visit: RFP / RFI evaluation / Rating criteria for rfp / RFP Evaluation Template