Where are we at? Is 2.4a.2 done?
What about 2.2a.2? And 2.3a.2?
I’m listening to two editors trying to sort out what’s done and what’s not.
I’m not sure. I finished 2.1a.4 yesterday
but I don’t think I’ve seen 2.4a.2.
Where’s Ryan Gosling when you need him?
I understand the impulse to keep related sections together and to number similar sections similarly. The problem arises when there are too many levels. What looks logical and tidy on a spreadsheet, where you can indent or add colour to distinguish sections, doesn’t look quite so clear in other formats; for example:
- 2.1a.1, 2.1a.2, 2.1a.3, 2.1a.4 – experience sections – corporate
- 2.1b.1, 2.1b.2, 2.1b.3, 2.1b.4 – experience sections – key personnel
- 2.2a.1, 2.2a.2, 2.2a.3, 2.2a.4 – technical plans
- 2.2b.1, 2.2b.2, 2.2b.3, 2.2b.4 – other technical requirements
- 2.2c.1, 2.2c.2, 2.2c.3, 2.2c.4 – operations plans
- 2.3a.1, 2.3a.2, 2.3a.3, 2.3a.4 – staffing plans
Worse than its eye-crossing appearance, though, is that it’s impossible to keep it straight when talking about it.
If you want to know four things about each bidder (experience, technical plan, operations plan, and staffing plan) for, say, three major technical functions (fleet management, facilities maintenance, logistics), then consider one of these instead:
- Assign a different number to each of the major things-to-know and a letter to each function:
- 1A, 1B, 1C – this keeps together all the experience responses
- 2A, 2B, 2C – this keeps together all the technical plans
- 3A, 3B, 3C – this keeps together all the operations plans
- 4A, 4B, 4C – this keeps together all the staffing plans
- Flip the organization and assign a different number to each technical function and a letter to each of the things-to-know:
- 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D – this keeps together all the responses related to fleet management
- 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D – this keeps together all the responses related to facilities maintenance
- 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D – this keeps together all the responses related to logistics
Does it matter whether you start with a number or a letter? No.
Does it matter whether you organize by thing-to-know or by technical function? Not really. People think of these things differently. You might have a preference based on how you’re going to evaluate the response, and that’s fine.
What does matter is that you don’t get into three-level numbering before you’ve asked for a word of response. What does matter is minimizing (or eliminating) the dagnabbed decimals. What does matter is using no more numbers and letters than you absolutely need. After all, 10 files numbered 1 to 10 will sort just the same as if they were numbered 2.2a.1, 2.2a.2, 2.2a.3, 2.2a.4, 2.2a.5, 2.2a.6, 2.2a.7, 2.2a.8, 2.2a.9, 2.2a.10, and nobody’s head will explode.
Keep. It. Simple.
Advice to Procurement Professionals: