There are times when you are asked to help your internal customers buy something but they have only the vaguest of ideas of how to define it! In this case you will need to help them draw up a specification before going out to tender.
The following template can be used to help them focus their ideas and flesh out their requirements. You may need to suggest the main things they need to consider and help them think long and hard about the exact nature of their requirements.
Key to this is grouping: Try and divide what you are working on into an easily manageable number of main themes – the ideal number is 3. Then create further similar sub-divisions within these themes until you have covered all their requirements, but in a structured way.
Enter the Title of your project into the top level of the template below.
Discuss with your internal customer 3 or 4 areas for consideration. Give each one a rough title and enter these into level 2 of the template.
Try and work at each theme one at a time. Noting down all the requirements on that theme.
Go through each theme one by one, look at the number of requirements you have allocated. Any theme that has more than 3 or 4 requirements, may need to be further subdivided for clarity and given a further title and entered into the template at level 3. For a larger number you will need to repeat steps 3 and 4 to create sub-themes and possibly sub-sub-themes etc. until you have fully structured your requirements.
Review your requirements and allocate each detailed item or service with a ranking from essential to “nice to have”.
Once you have your list of requirements, you should then write them down in a format suitable for suppliers to bid against. Clearly documented requirements will help enormously in the bidding and negotiation process.