Project management can be applied to a number of different business problems, so why can't project management tools? Recently I was asked by a CorasWorks prospective customer if we had a way for them to manage RFPs without requiring a special application to do the job. After thinking about it for a few minutes, I suggested they use our Project Portfolio Management solution to track and manage their RFPs.
The Project Portfolio Management (PPM) solution from CorasWorks allows you to configure your project sites as you want, enabling and disabling functionality as needed. For the purpose of managing RFPs a trimmed down version of a PPM project site will do the trick.
Step 1 – Create an RFP portfolio site
To keep everything neat and organized, create a portfolio in PPM and use that as the starting place for all new RFP sites as they need to be created. By generating the RFP site from the portfolio, it is automatically connected to the portfolio and the information from all the RFP sites are aggregated together.
Step 2 – Auto-provision a RFP site
Using the portfolio auto-provisioning function in PPM, create a new project site. Go into the new site and disable all the main tabs except for Plan, Communicate, Documents, and Configure. You've now defined a default set of features to manage the tasks, share discussions, and store documents.
Step 3 – Set up the RFP tasks
Go into the Plan area and use the Gantt chart to enter the series of tasks you need to do to manage your RFP. This doesn't need to be a complex series of tasks and relationships. Your listing of tasks could be a simple milestone list to track what needs to be done by when.
Tip: Create tasks with Finish to Start relationships one after the other and then set the duration on the tasks but not the date due. Once you have all the relationships and the durations, just enter the start date on the first task and the rest will schedule themselves accordingly.
Now you can use the site to manage the documents for your RFP by loading them into the Documents section, share conversations about the RFP in the Communicate section, and manage the schedule of the RFP through the Plan section. There are a number of other changes you can make to the PPM project and portfolio sites to optimize managing your RFPs, not to mention templating your RFP process sites to make start up more efficient, but that's for another post.