Request for Proposal (RFP)

Guidelines

A service to our prospective customers

by

Frederick Gault & Associates, Inc.

195 Vernon Street

San Francisco, CA 94132

fgault@pacbell.net

www.fgault.com

(415) 239-7681 fax 239-0918

 

 

 

Executive Summary *

Costs *

The Schedule *

The Difficulty *

The Risks *

Typical Budget *

What is Being Bid *

Time *

Risks *

The Quality of the Code *

Platform Decisions Windows95, Windows/NT, Mac *

Third Party Products *

Late Art *

Design Changes *

Localization *

Late Start *

Demonstration Product *

Doís and Doníts *

Donít *

Do *

Frederick Gault & Associates, Inc. Qualifications *

Products That Frederick Gault Has Developed: *

Executive Summary

Our prospective customers frequently ask us "How much to produce such and such a product". In order to provide a meaningful answer it is important to have specific details about the proposed product. This document is designed to assist you in putting together a Request for Proposal (RFP). By reviewing these guidelines you can streamline the process of getting a useable bid from Frederick Gault & Associates, Inc..

Frederick Gault & Associates, Inc. will be bidding on the engineering part of your project. This means that we may not be able to provide you with a non-engineering services (for example: design, art, analog video or analog audio). However, we will work with you to find an experienced provider of such services.

Costs

Frederick Gault & Associates, Inc.ís bid reflects the following:

The Schedule

If your schedule is very aggressive that means that more engineering time is required. In addition it may be necessary for people to work longer hours. Expect to pay a higher price as you get closer to your deadline. Especially if it is less than 3 months.

The Difficulty

If your project requires extensive new features that no other product has, expect it to take longer for the engineers to figure out how to do it. Often, by reviewing other products on the market you can get a feel for how difficult features are to engineer. For example, if other products lack a feature it maybe because it is difficult to create. You can also see what other products donít have. This information can help you set benchmarks for your feature set. Also be prepared to learn what the common hardware base can support. We all have to live with the limits of the hardware.

The Risks

Here is where advanced preparation on your part can result in direct benefits. The more detailed your design documents the fewer surprises await the engineers. If Frederick Gault & Associates, Inc. receives a verbal request for a quote, or the design is not well thought out, we must budget the project to prevent a catastrophe when changes occur. No matter how qualified the development team is, projects that have not been thought through carefully wind up being much more expensive because of the false starts and misunderstandings.

The design is not the only risk factor however. How late outside suppliers are (usually of art work) is also a potential problem. Basically any disruption in the project, or change of design will result in large increases in cost and long delays in delivery.

Typical Budget

The "burn rate" for an in-house staff member is lower than the burn rate for a consultant. Lets investigate why that is. An in-house staff member expects to remain with your company for a while Ė a consultant expects to complete his or her project and then be back out on the streets looking for work again. The consultant is usually quite skilled at his or her specialty and can provide work more quickly and more correctly than an in-house person. This is not to say that consultants are better than in-house staff. An in-house staffer is familiar with the company, its operations and goals in a way that a consultant is not. Also, in-house staff members retain the knowledge of systems after the consultant is gone. The consultant is helpful in getting "bang for the buck". Its kind of like calling the fire department to put out a fire. You donít need the firemen around all the time in case there is a fire and they probably would get bored waiting around for your house to burn! But it sure is handy having the firemen show up Ė no matter what the cost Ė when the house is in flames.

This all boils down to the fact that even at higher rates, a consultant team is often very cost effective because they can work fast and the results are of a high quality. But, you want to be very careful to keep the in-house staff members involved in the project to make sure that valuable knowledge about the system is retained after the consultants are finished with their work.

These costs vary so widely because the demands for creating these products vary. Some customers provide some of their own services (such as testing) to reduce the costs. Others have budgets that approach those of feature films. Some cost areas to keep in mind are:

What is Being Bid

Frederick Gault & Associates, Inc.ís bid reflects the cost of the engineers, the time required from a support technician, and project management. The technical work includes coding using Microsoftís Visual Studio, digitizing video, mastering the CD-ROMs, providing an installation program, consulting with product marketing about technical aspects of the product, management of the digital media, and the product testing effort.

Usually Frederick Gault & Associates, Inc. provides a proposed payment schedule with a bid. This schedule is designed to provide an incentive for Frederick Gault & Associates, Inc. to arrive at an optimized bug-free Golden Master on schedule. The payments are only at milestone deliverables. As the schedule approaches final delivery payments become larger. This arrangement motivates Frederick Gault & Associates, Inc. to produce the final product quickly.

Also included in the estimated price is the cost of technical management, use of equipment for testing, the cost of CD-ROM blank media, the overhead of producing CD-ROM one-off masters, the software and hardware required for development, and the engineering talent necessary to create the product on-time. Also factored into the cost is the intangible value of the risks Frederick Gault & Associates, Inc. assumes under a fixed-price arrangement. If desired Frederick Gault & Associates, Inc. is prepared to bid on a Time and Materials basis.

Time

Most projects take from 10 weeks to 6 months depending on the design. However Frederick Gault & Associates, Inc. sometimes works on short projects, such as building an installation program or digitizing video.

Risks

For the purposes of this discussion risk is defined as an event that might delay or terminate the project prematurely. Here are some very typical risks:

The Quality of the Code

If there is an existing body of code, how good is it? Is it fragile? Can it be easily upgraded.

Platform Decisions Windows95, Windows/NT, Mac

Will you be supporting multiple client platforms? What of Web-based delivery. Is Java the mechanism of choice. Citrix? What kind of Network requirements do you have? What sort of power does the typical client platform have?

Third Party Products

Which support products will be required to build and operate your new code? This evaluation should take into account items such as digital video engines, Plug-ins, versions of browsers, ActiveX controls and so forth. Be sure to calculate the license costs and evaluate the support offered by third parties.

Late Art

If the digital artists fall behind, it will make the delivery of the computer programming late. The computer programmers are responsible for the actual integration of the art into the product. Should the art be delayed, the time to integrate it will simply be moved out past the deadline. This makes Frederick Gault & Associates, Inc. unhappy because we are usually paid upon delivery of a milestone. That means that Frederick Gault & Associates, Inc. assumes the risk that the art wonít delay its deliveries.

Design Changes

Changes to the design after the work begins will have a deleterious effect on the project. Usually there is a clause in the contract that provides a way to request changes to the product. This involves a modest increase in the cost, an increase in the delivery date, and details on how the change is communicated to Frederick Gault & Associates, Inc. so that it is unambiguous.

Localization

Many products need to be converted into foreign languages for distribution abroad. This requires a modest engineering effort which is not included automatically in the bid. Request this in the bid if you need it.

Late Start

Make sure you have sufficient time to meet your marketing goals. For example, if you wish to have a product in the stores by Christmas, the engineering effort should be well underway by early summer. Many projects get into trouble because they start late and are bounded by intractable marketing dates (such as a trade show or Christmas).

Demonstration Product

Many of our customers desire a demo product for trade shows or focus testing. A demo is almost as much work as building the actual product, and it is usually needed in a shorter period of time. Expect to pay extra for a demo product. Also expect that a demo will come at the expense of the actual product development. Building a demo is very distracting and should be carefully planned, not thrown in at the last minute.

Doís and Doníts

Here is an example of the right way and the wrong way to request a bid:

Donít

Here is a sample of a part of a fictious product design:

There will be a button for games. The user pushes this button and will be presented with three really fun games. The user can play each one of these games and points will be added up. At the end if the user has enough points (s)he gets a reward.

Whatís wrong with this description? First of all the games are totally undefined. In a world where a single game budget can go as high as $3 Million (SimCity 3000) this is a huge undefined. It is very difficult to think up a good game, much less program it. Someone has to think up the game, design the art, build the art and then give it to Frederick Gault & Associates, Inc.

Another problem is the reward. What is it? What is so great that the user is going to bother with the games? This needs more thought.

How are the points saved. Do all games have equal point mechanisms? etc. etc. etc.

Do

Here is a sample description that works better:

On the screen entitled SCREEN5.PIC illustrated in the screens section there is a button in the lower left hand corner entitled "games". When the user presses this button, bird noise 3 is heard (as described in the sounds section) which transfers the user to SCREEN6.PIC (also illustrated in the screens section). From this screen the user may choose one of the following games:

1. Tic Tac Toe (described in games section 1)

2. Pick Up Sticks (")

3. Amazing Maze (")

If the user scores more than 27 points in any one of the games (s)he is transferred to SCREEN9.PIC (illustrated in the screens section) where FUNGAME.AVI is played . . . etc.

In this case the details are clear, the screens have pictures and the behaviors are well documented. This indicates that a great deal of thought has gone into the design. It helps the engineers speed through the implementation and locate the art. It helps Frederick Gault & Associates, Inc. arrive at a bid quickly and with confidence that we can deliver your vision on time.

Frederick Gault & Associates, Inc. Qualifications

Frederick Gault has enjoyed an excellent working relationship with large clients, such as Intel, Oracle and Mindscape since June of 1988. In November of 1991 Frederick Gault took on the task of managing the development of QuickTime for Windows for Apple Computer. These types of relationships, together with our extensive C and C++ knowledge, our familiarity with both Macintosh and Windows software development positions us as well suited candidates to provide digital video and multimedia technologies.

Frederick Gault & Associates, Inc. Company was incorporated in 1997 to provide enabling technologies and expert programming services for Microsoft Windows, Apple Macintosh, and multimedia titles.

Frederick Gault was the founder of the company that successfully implemented QuickTime for Windows for Apple, on-time and on-budget. After its concurrent release with Microsoftís competitive Video for Windows at Comdex Ď92 it was awarded "best new product in show" by Byte Magazine, Ziff Davis Labs (PC Week) rated QuickTime for Windows superior to Video for Windows in all categories.

Frederick Gault is co-author of the book, How to Digitize Video, (John Wiley & Sons, New York) which is in its second printing and is currently available in book stores. Recently, Shoot Video Like a Pro, produced by Frederick Gault for Redhill Studios and Zelos! received a bronze medal at Spring Comdex 1995 in Atlanta.

Products That Frederick Gault Has Developed:

Product

Publisher

Mfg

Task

       

How Your Body Works

Mindscape

Mindscape

Win & Mac Programming C++

StarTrek Tech Manual

Simon&Sch

Imergy

Dir Xobject - VR Technology

Gettysburg

Turner Inter.

Turner

Digitize Video

How To Digitize Video

John Wiley

Canyon

Book CD Win & Mac

NFL SuperBowls

DiscUs Sports

DiscUs

Windows Programming C++

Penthouse Interactive 1

General Media

ICFX

Win & Mac Programming C++

Penthouse Interactive 2

General Media

ICFX

Win & Mac Programming C++

Penthouse Interactive 3

General Media

ICFX

Win & Mac Programming C++

Penthouse Interactive 4

General Media

ICFX

Win & Mac Programming C++

Select-A-Pet 1

General Media

ICFX

Win & Mac Programming C++

Select-A-Pet 2

General Media

ICFX

Win & Mac Programming C++

Shoot Video Like A Pro

Zelos

Redhill

Win & Mac Programming C++

Wrath of the Gods

Luminaria

Luminaria

Windows Installation

Critical Path

Media Vision

Machaedus

Consulting on QTW

Oracle Annual Report

Oracle

Oracle

Installation & Digitizing

Sony Demo CD Comdex

Sony

Sony

Windows programming C++

Peak Performance

Media Vision

C-Wave

Windows Programming C++

Forever Growing Garden

MediaVision

C-Wave

Windows fix AMT

Canyon Clipz

Canyon

Canyon

Win & Mac & Digitizing