PNW Drupal Summit Session: Getting Paid & Adding Value in Discovery

This session led by Sean Larkin and Andrea Burton of ThinkShout looked at how to avoid competing for RFPs by instead partnering with potential clients in a paid discovery phase to help them scope their exact needs and in turn have a leg up on the competition to win the project. Read on for some presentation highlights and takeaways.

What is Paid Discovery?

  • Gathering requirements, including desired outcomes, goals of site visitors, and user stories. Make all documentation portable so a client feels like they are able to take the project to another vendor.
  • A first pass at a budget estimate and feature prioritization
  • Information architecture - A sitemap, wireframes, content matrix

How to talk about paid discovery with a potential client

  • Convince potential clients to submit a request for vendor, not a request for proposal. Explain how the RFP process is broken and how discovery can be the answer.
  • Don't play games with clients, and don't like clients play games with you. Transparency should exist from both the client and the vendor regarding budgets, needs, and project scope up front.
  • Explain the project life cycle and that a website is a living, breathing thing that you can't just launch and forget about.

In the end, this is an optimal solution that works well for all parties. Clients end up with detailed plans and documentation that any Drupal shop can provide an accurate budget estimate for, vendors get paid for their work to scope the project, and more often than not, the vendor will also win the contract for implementation.

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