Studio IQ were invited to tender for the Fraternity Club website re-design as we were a local company and had produced their last website 5 years previous. We all agreed that is was time for a refresh as the existing brochure website wasn't meeting the level of engagement they were looking for.
The re-design tender was only one part of a much larger refresh of the Fraternity Club's image - they had just started the task of gaining some traction in social media circles and were implementing an upgrade of their internal facilities as well as offering more diverse services, events and engagement to their patrons.
In line with this, the tender outlined their main goals as moving away from the image of a smaller scale regional venue to a club that was offering great restaurant atmospheres, national level events and a high level of engagement with their patrons via traditional means as well as social support services and online marketing.
Their key desired outcomes were:
- Provide a high quality, modern online resource for the Fraternity Club and its members managed via an easy to use content management system (CMS)
- Provide first-rate design compatible with the widest range of mediums as possible including tablets and smart phones
- Leverage the use of custom designed templates to make sure that the Fraternity Club content is always consistent with the Fraternity Club brand image
- Provide methods for online booking of event venues and eateries including the options for online payment.
We played to our strengths
Studio IQ as a company is somewhat unique, as we a strong background in design (especially branding and identity), have very strong development capability focusing on custom designed (user focused) web applications as well as a number of resources that come from a background of both design and development rather that being one or the other.
This makes our team highly flexible, meaning that we can focus resources on the next highest priority task without needing to have people pigeon-holed into certain roles. This is truly a godsend from the gods of project scheduling.
Through our previous experience we were confident that we could meet the Fraternity Clubs requirements as we had previously integrated with a number of banks e-payment gateways, already had a custom built CMS - IQ Control - that we could modify to meet their specific needs with the creation of just a few extra modules as well as experience using responsive design to meet the needs of desktop, tablet and smartphone users alike.
The hard yards
So we knew we could meet the technical requirements of the Fraternity Club tender, but next came the hard bit. Finalising the specific workflows that underpins the Fraternity Clubs current business and making sure we understood this to enough detail that we could properly estimate the specifics of each objective that we may need to take into account.
As you can imagine each business in the club industry runs in slightly different ways, sure they basically have the same components - a marketing team, event managers, secretarial staff, restaurant managers, CEO's and boards - however how these groups work together and how the work is divided can be very different from business to business.
It is important to note that tender responses rarely give a full detail overview of what is going to be delivered, it has to be this way as the tender applicant - Studio IQ - hasn't been awarded the job yet. However we also need to be confident that we aren't going to wildly under-estimate the effort that will be required.
It was my job as the project manager to make sure that I knew exactly what we were getting in for, and I did this through a highly technical process: I rang the Fraternity Club and went over my assumptions on how they worked and allowed them to correct me when I was wrong.
This isn't always available as some tenders require this been done in an open forum so other applicants can take advantage of the same information - levelling the playing field - however in this instance that was not the case.
With the extra information I was able to adjust the expected scope of work and get to the fun part: putting it all together. Our tender response went through the following to give the Fraternity Club all the information we could about ourselves and how we thought we could help them, outlining:
- Who Studio IQ is as a company
- Our team and their experience
- Our processes and methodology
- Our understanding of the requirements
- How we would implement each of their requirements and how that would meet their objectives
- The milestones, costs involved and the estimated timeline
- Our experience with similar jobs
With the proposal completed, we submitted and then waited to hear how we went.
The uncertainty phase
After any tender there is always a feeling of uncertainty that accompanies the time lag between submission and hearing whether or not you have been successful or short-listed.
Thankfully in the case of the Fraternity Club, Studio IQ was short listed as a one one three preferred suppliers, and we were ecstatic!
The interview is the crucial phase that decides who wins a tender, whether its conducted in person or over the phone/internet. This is the point where we have to impress and show major points of difference between Studio IQ and other companies.
There are many factors that can give you a leg up in differentiating, whether they be technical expertise, process and management security, price, experience or value adds that will potentially be the deciding factor that lands your company the job.
Its also important to not underestimate the human factor, when in a interview situation there are intangibles that affect how the Fraternity Club may have judged Studio IQ. For instance if the Fraternity Club's business was aiming for a more corporate image, a more formal appearance - suit and tie - may improve their perception of our level of professionalism, where a more casual appearance - jeans and plaid shirt - may improve their perception of our level of creativity. Obviously this is fairly stereotypical and no hard and fast rules should be applied here, but being aware of possible intangible signals should always be considered.
In the end when we were awarded the job it was discovered that our scrum based methodology of constant review and presentation was one of the reasons that the Fraternity Club chose Studio IQ over its competitors, as technical and design skill/experience were balanced well over the final 3 short-listed companies.
Our scrum process meant that every fortnight Studio IQ would sit down with the Fraternity Club, go over what has been achieved, and the website functionality would be demonstrated. This gives freedom and power to the Fraternity Club to decide whether a certain feature has been completed or whether more work is required. It also allowed the Fraternity Club to decide what the priority features were for the next fortnight.
Keep your eyes on this page for the process following our initial engagement