Procurement for Chiefs of Staff: Gathering Requirements

Procurement for Chiefs of Staff: Gathering Requirements

Procurement for Chiefs of Staff: Gathering Requirements

Procurement for Chiefs of Staff: Gathering Requirements
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In the last post in our procurement series, we considered a scenario: an early-stage startup is scaling rapidly, and the time comes to upgrade their customer relationship management (CRM) system. A straightforward task, right? But here's where the CoS steps in, transforming what seems like a simple decision into a strategic maneuver. They don't just look at price tags or glossy features; they dive deep into the company's long-term vision, align potential vendors with that trajectory, and consider how each option might scale, adapt, or integrate with their other systems. They ponder questions like, "How will this decision impact our team's productivity?" or "Can this vendor grow with us, or will we outpace them?" 

Today, it's time to peel back the curtain on the how. Let's break down the step-by-step process; in this post, we’ll focus on identifying needs and determining requirements.

Step 1: Observing Gaps and Gathering Initial Requirements

The procurement process begins with observation. CoS and BizOps professionals possess a bird's-eye view of their company's operations, thanks to their involvement in running Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) and strategic planning. This unique vantage point allows them to identify cross-functional gaps or inefficiencies that might not be visible to department leaders or front-line employees. 

Imagine them as the conductors of an orchestra, attuned to each section's harmony and dissonance, keenly aware when the strings section is out of sync with the brass (e.g. where Customer Success isn’t talking to Sales or Product isn’t collaborating with Marketing). It's this awareness that enables them to pinpoint areas where the right vendor could not just fill a gap but significantly enhance the performance.

Step 2: Engaging with Stakeholders

Once a gap has been identified, the next step is engaging with stakeholders across departments. This isn't about sending a generic email blast asking for input; it's about having targeted conversations to understand specific needs, pain points, and desired outcomes. CoS and BizOps professionals excel in these dialogues, acting as the bridge between different parts of the organization.

They ask probing questions: "What's missing in our current process?", "How could a new tool or service enhance your team's productivity?", or “What would be a 10x better experience for our customers?” This dialogue ensures that the procurement process is driven by actual needs rather than shiny toy syndrome.

Step 3: Compiling and Prioritizing Requirements

With feedback in hand, Chiefs of Staff and BizOps professionals compile and prioritize requirements. This involves sifting through the wish lists, must-haves, and nice-to-haves to create a comprehensive brief that balances ambition with realism. They're not just ticking boxes; they're weighing the potential impact of each requirement on the company's strategic goals.

Through these initial planning steps, strategy and ops professionals not only fill gaps but catalyze progress. They have the foresight to see where the company could be and the insight to identify the requirements for the journey. Let's give credit where it's due: next time you see these folks deep in discussion with stakeholders or buried in RFP responses, know they're doing much more than procurement—they're building the foundation for your company's next jump forward.

Next time, we’ll cover the second phase of procurement: Vendor Search & Evaluation.

Chief of Staff Network

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