Build An Effective Rubric
A rubric is an effective tool to be used within your procurement process. A rubric provides clear criteria for decision-making, allows for flexibility in establishing importance of various aspects and becomes a catalyst for conversation around strengths and weaknesses of proposals. The criteria is a rubric can and will change based on the product or service being purchased. It should answer your top questions or concerns about how a need is filled. A rubric is not created to automatically choose the highest score. It’s used as a tool for identifying the top candidates, guide additional questions and/or inspire new approaches.
Do you need ideas for criteria?
- Experience. Does the provider have experience in fulfilling your exact need? Do they have similar experience? Experience in the education market? It is important to determine the level of experience you need to fulfill a need. There are times in which an innovative approach is more valuable than a long track record. Your rubric should inspire conversation around the need for each project.
- Innovative Approach. Does the need you are looking to fulfill need an established process or system or does it require innovation? Does your organization bring unique challenges that requires versatile processes for best results? It is important to think of the innovative approaches in which a provider takes to meet your need. The deliverable itself may not change as consistency in a deliverable is often what makes it effective. However, support systems around the deliverable may have flexibility. It is vital to remember in the procurement process that the best product through research, peer reviews, etc. is not the best product if it misses delivery on a necessary innovative approach.
- Communication. Evaluating the communication process is an important piece of the rubric. Does the communication approach allow for quality control? Is it two-way communication? Is the organization engaged in the process or outcomes? Does it need to be? For every product or service purchase, it is important for the organization to determine the communication needs and align a rubric to measure against such.
- Capacity. Understanding the required capacity and aligning that with the capacity of a provider can be a valuable step in the decision-making process. Questions may include the pace of growth or need for growth? How quickly can your project be completed and/or what is the likelihood of timelines being met? Who will be working on your project? Will the organization hire new staff to manage it? Understanding the current capacity and how it will effect implementation can help to drive decisions and also to build safeguards into a management process if applicable. Capacity often becomes a challenge when bundling multiple services requiring varied expertise.
- Level of Expertise. Often times, it is the expertise of the individual(s) working on the project that you are purchasing. In some situations, a provider may have a plethora of experience in a general area but if a particular expertise is required, resumes of those contributing to the delivery are important and relevant. Understanding if the decision is being made on a firm or an individual is critical as this can drive contract language or contingency plans should a change of personnel be made.
- Pricing. While pricing is not typically the primary factor in making a quality decision, it is certainly an important variable. Pricing is inclusive of value and understanding. In a pricing structure, it is important to understand the risk that the proposed structure poses. Is it an hourly rate for which you cannot reliably predict the number of hours or offers an open-ended budget? Is it reasonable for the deliverable as compared to the market? While fluctuations in pricing are justifiable based on experience and quality, variations tend to be limited to a degree and competitive amongst other experienced, high-quality providers. Often times, a price outside of the average can indicate a misunderstanding on deliverable as well. Pricing can also be the driving factor in a situation in which a clear budget is set. Honoring the budget and maximizing the work to be done within that budget becomes a driving decision factor.
How do I create a rubric?
Let us help! Below are just a few examples to get you started. Be creative! Make the rubric work for you! Need other ideas? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.