Dr. Ulrich Schuster
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Tenders and Calls

Are you planning to outsource the design or implementation of a complex software-intensive system to an external third party? The specification then will be part of the outsourcing contract. In our experience, this specification often is the most costly piece of paper in the entire development project: Cost explosions or outright cancellations of projects most likely result from unclear specifications, misunderstandings about scope and quality, or downplaying the risks.

As sponsor, we help you draft precise and risk-optimised specifications. As bidder, we support you in architecting a workable solution and provide expertise how to phrase an offer that convincingly explains the intended solution while making the risks involved transparent.


For Sponsors

Ideally, a specification covers all functional and qualitative aspects of the system to be procured in sufficient detail, so that a prospective contractor can build and supply exactly what you are expecting. By now, though, we realize that it is virtually impossible to completely and precisely specify a complex system up front – the agile development movement resulted from this insight. Similarly, we now know that requirements cannot be sufficiently precise and independent of a specific solution at the same time.

Our approach to tender specification is to focus on the key properties of the new system, and to ensure that they are consistent and unambiguous. On the basis of our broad systems expertise and experience, we support you in identifying requirements that drive cost or risk, and to reduce both through adjustments to the requirements scope. That is, we formulate specifications with one possible solution in mind that reduces the largest risks, but we recommend to leave design decisions open in the specifications document. Instead, we propose to focus on the qualification of the bidders – their technical competencies, domain understanding and communication skills; these qualities typically ensure that a viable design can be worked out in the course of the project, instead of getting into disagreement on specification details. In addition to drafting tender documents, we can also help you appraising bids and potential development partners.

For Bidders

Submitting a robust offer in response to an imprecisely worded, inconsistent tender with incoherent assumptions bears the risk of long quarrels and many additional demands. As you most often cannot change the tender, the goal thus is to submit an offer that simultaneously carries a good chance of winning the contract while hedging your risks. We help you to analyze imprecise requirements, to formulate clarifying bidder questions, and to write an offer that both demonstrates the competence of your team and shows a compelling solution that takes all the previously discovered risks into account. Explicitly stating the risks, the consequences, as well as risk-mitigating measures is in our experience the best way to form a good working relationship with the client to actually tackle the problem, instead of entering in a blame game with uncertain outcome but guaranteed negative impact on the teams involved.

Tenders and Calls - KOING GMBH