Fun with RFP’s: organizing a RAD-race

the original rad race logoSelecting a good (web-)application development partner is not an easy task. Between writing your RFP, reading offers, organizing Q&A-sessions, commercial and juridical negotiations, … it’s easy to lose sight of what is most important: finding someone with the right tools and the right knowledge and experience to efficiently build (web-)applications.
That is why (at work) we decided to include a POC in the last phase of our “web framework and development services” selection process. But not just your normal POC, where you have no control over the context in which the development takes place. No, we brought in Ivan Verborgh to help us organize an “original RAD race“. In such “development competition” you put the participating teams in 1 room and give them 1,5 days to create the same administrative application. And somewhere along the line you throw in a change request as well, just for the kicks of it (and to check agility off course).
Our participants had to use a Java-based solution (as defined in the RFP), but their frameworks were very different, with one opting for a commercial product and the other one for an open source component stack. Without going into too much detail, the RAD-race was a great experience for us as well as for the participants. Although neither team was able to complete the assignment, there was a clear difference in the teams’ performance. For some colleagues the results were a true eye-opener, with one competitor clearly having less knowledge and experience with their chosen framework. The result of the RAD-race was an important element in our decision process and it was a fun experience during an otherwise sometimes dull RFP-process.