A Vendor’s Take on Choosing the Right Vendor
Tip #1: Never say: “I don’t want you learning on my project.”
The statement seems reasonable. When selecting a vendor, you want to know they have experience. But think about this. When you start a new initiative within your organization, do you instantly “stop learning” and only work based on what you know from your last project? Probably not. Successful companies, like successful individuals continue to learn, daily, and you should encourage potential vendors to innovate.
Case study on the benefits of learning on a project
In my murky past, we were contacted by the Department of Children and Families (DCF) in Florida. The organization needed a way to train and certify counselors who were responsible for assessing at-risk children, in terms of their mental health and the severity of their disorders. Originally, the organization was sending a training staff around the state to conduct half-day workshops, then administering the certification exam.
During these visits, DCF found that many counselors assessed the same child differently. They were not necessarily rating the child consistently, and as a result, the assessments could be considered unreliable.
Why that Project Worked
DCF was a smart client. Since this technology and approach was truly cutting-edge, they didn’t expect to see a finished product before choosing us as a vendor. Instead, our client expected that we’d be “learning” on her project.
The outcome? The project was a huge success, saving tens of thousands of dollars annually on travel alone, but more importantly, providing the reporting to show that state-wide, counselors had far improved their ability to rate consistently.
The bottom line is that the issues created by the “learning curve” on the project paled in comparison to the return-on-investment (ROI) to the organization. Had our client insisted that we not learn on her project, this success would never have been realized.
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