The “pony” scale

We get RFPs all the time. Some of these RFPs are genuine “show us good things so we can consider them.” Many are “we really want to buy something quite specific, but the rules won’t let us specify then.”

Some of them have requirements or limits that make me think of a kid saying … “and I want a pony too”.

Such RFPs usually have a combination of reasonable sounding elements, right up to the point where they demand the pony.

The pony is a point of exasperation. A point at which you have to wonder if the people who put the pony request in are being serious in their request. Honoring the request for the pony could be anything from simply arduous, to outright painful. A pony represents a fundamentally incorrect assumption and set of expectations on the part of the RFP issuer. It costs time/effort/resources to correct these expectations, and if you can’t get them to reconsider the pony … to adjust their expectations to be more in line with reality … it might be better to walk away.

So maybe this is how we need to grade RFPs. Spot the ponies, count them, and if they exceed our threshold of pony acceptance, ditch the RFP.

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