Hey, what can I say? I read Redstate. It’s been fun watching Republicans implode. However, Redstate pointed to a recent RFP issued by the Republican National Committe that seems to encapsulate all the technical problems that the Republicans are experiencing. I point out this RFP only as an instructional guide as to how NOT to write an RFP for your website redesign. The RNC issued a TWO page RFP for a complete redesign of their website. The modus operandi for the redesign as expressed by Michael Steele:
Chairman Steele made his tech priorities clear at the event: “…bottom line is if we haven’t done it – let’s do it. If we haven’t thought of it – think about it. If it hasn’t been tried – why not? If it’s going to be ‘outside the box’ – then not only keep it outside the box, but take it to someplace the box hasn’t even reached yet.”
The project objectives are so ambitious and so vague that’s it’s clear that this is one of those terribly unprofessional RFPs where the actual vendor has already been “pre-wired”. Redstate’s Erick Erickson goes on to say as much.
…Because there is no way any competent person would put together an RFP like this. It’s crap. It is not legitimate. It is unprofessional. It is illusory.
Either they don’t know what they are doing, or they’ve already picked their consultant and are going through the motions. If it is the former, well, the RNC is screwed. If it is the latter, Michael Steele’s claims about bidding out work was B.S.
The scope of this RFP is vast. Not only is the RNC asking for a redesign of the GOP website, but the RNC is asking vendors to re-engineer their social network, work on templates for “30+” state parties, build a “sharing system” for voter file data, AND build a donations platform.
Interestingly, Kimbia gets mentioned first as on the GOP’s list of preferred technologies:
Integrate outside products through common API’s, widgets, or iframes (examples: Kimbia fundraising, Voter Vault, Widgetbox, Ning).
No mention of other donation platforms? Not Google Checkout or Amazon Flexible Payments System? We know that Google is run by crazy “libtards” (I say this endearingly) but Jeff Bezos is a Republican, isn’t he? But wait, there’s more. The RFP also pulls out a classic user request that you found more often in the 1990s:
An aesthetically pleasing site that is intuitive and fun to use should be the overall goal.
Yes, I’ve never heard of any client or nonprofit want a site that was NOT intuitive and fun to use.
Flash interfaces can often make mundane tasks exciting, and having Flash developers who understand user behavior will make the site more user-friendly.
This is not only untrue but Flash can be horrible for users if overused.
An ideal client [I think they meant vendor -Allan] will have a CMS that is already built out and ready to plug into the system, so the only programming time will be building the outward facing presence.
Yes, the RNC wants a complete rebuild but only front-end development work can be done. And, your CMS should ready to plug in. Also, your response is due on 3/18. The large scope, the low amount of detail and the nearing deadline are all clear signs that this RFP is not exactly legitimate. Nonprofits would do well to stay away from this example and head completely in the opposite direction.