Consider this evaluation (selection) criterion from an actual government RFP:
Give the educational qualifications of the team members. (100 points)
This sort of criterion is unevaluable and has the potential to cause at least four problems.
- Potential respondents will have no idea if they stand a good chance of getting high points because they don't know what you are really looking for. Should they take a chance, spend thousands of dollars, and bid... maybe to give you an unacceptable proposal that you'll reject? Unless they're really hungry, they'll probably stick to safer bets and skip this RFP.
- The evaluation committee will argue over how to allocate points. Is a bachelor's degree in science worth 60 points? Why not 67 or 85 points? And what if one proposed team member has a PhD in engineering? How many team members have to have what level of education? If there is a secret evaluation guide, that's a problem because, well... it's secret.
- Debriefing respondents will be difficult and potentially messy. Could you easily say this with a straight face? "I know you proposed five team members each with a PhD in engineering or physics, but we were looking for people with degrees in science. So we gave you an arbitrary score of 10 just so you wouldn't have zero."
- Respondents will have read the trade agreements, which require a clear explanation in the RFP of how you will evaluate responses. They will find this one sorely lacking.
None of these scenarios end very well, some of them possibly in court. You don't want to be there.
This example is a specific case of an evaluation criterion that is missing one of its two essential parts.
TimmiT has a six-part structure for developing objective evaluation criteria and has tested it in many actual successful procurements. Because the evaluation criteria are objective, respondents know how you will evaluate them, evaluation committees quickly converge on consensus scores, debriefings are easy, and trade agreements are satisfied.
Why not build on TimmiT's expertise in multiple levels of government and private sector procurement to
- guide your whole RFP process... more on RFP preparation
- design your evaluation process, which may include demonstrations and confirmatory visits if appropriate
- structure your evaluation criteria to be objective and easily evaluable
- ensure your evaluation process runs fairly and transparently, possibly as fairness monitor (but only if your evaluation criteria are objective)
- provide useful and satisfactory feedback to your respondents (but only if your evaluation criteria are objective and your evaluation is fair)
- teach your staff how to do these things