May 27, 2008: Questions for IA/IM vendors
Occasionally I help my clients find consulting firms for information architecture and information management projects. Here's how I help:
- Establish an overall hiring process
- Develop RFPs
- Assemble an initial list of potential vendors
- Review proposals
- Develop short list selection criteria
- Come up with (and ask) questions for the interviews of short list candidates
- Develop systems for evaluating proposals and presentations
Because I'm such a swell guy, I've decided to share a general set of interview questions below. Hopefully some Bloug readers might find these helpful to consider when hiring a vendor. Chime in with others you think should be added...
- Please give us the "elevator pitch" for your company.
- What makes your company different?
- How long have you been in business?
- How has your company evolved (e.g., staff, service offerings)?
- Has your company used a different name in the past?
- Where is your headquarters?
- Where will the team assigned to us will be based?
Your past work
- How many consultants are employed by your company?
- What is your likely team configuration for our project?
- Team size
- Mix of permanent versus contractors
- Mix of full-time versus part-time
- Job types/skill sets
- Do you know who specifically will be assigned to our team? Can you share their biographies? If not, why not?
- How long have they worked together?
- Will you need to bring on additional staff for our project? Do you already have those staff identified? Have you worked with them before?
- Describe a project that the team has worked on that's similar to ours (in terms of industry, technologies, etc.).
- What were the key take-aways from that project?
- What would you have done differently?
How will you tackle our project?
- What appeals to you about working with us?
- What appeals to you about this project in particular?
- Which aspects of this project will be the most challenging for you?
- Which aspects of this project will be the most challenging for us?
- What should we be doing now to prepare for this project?
What will the outcome be?
- Would you walk us through the methodology you're likely to use?
- Which aspects of your methodology are particularly unique to your company?
- If we had a much larger budget, what would you do differently in terms of methodology?
How should your work be evaluated?
- What would the product/deliverables ultimately be?
- Would it be possible to show us a sample?
- At the end of the project, where will we be?
- What would the likely next steps be?
- Would you be the logical vendor to continue with? If not, what type of company would you recommend?
- Do you have established relationships/partnerships with other companies? Which ones?
- What metrics should be used to evaluate this project's success?
- Have we missed any important ones in our RFP?
- Will your team have a single point of contact?
- Who will be your team's project manager? How much of their job will be dedicated to managing our project?
- Should one of our own people also allocate time to project management?
- What is the best way to communicate with you (e.g., email, phone)?
- What one thing makes for a successful client/consultant relationship?
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ML Chan (Jun 6, 2008)
Very much appreciated...have in the past helped small time folks hire consultants.
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