The panel is an opportunity to engage project stakeholders in the selection of the final product, and to demonstrate the integrity of the selection process. 

Pre-requisites: Requirements analysis, market scan, request for information.

Outcome: Following the stakeholder panel, the project should have a shortlist of 2-3 products for further investigation.

Steps:

1. Decide on the panel composition

The panel composition can be decided by the Steering Committee, or the Chair of the Steering Committee.  It will probably consist of some Steering Committee members, and one or two other stakeholders. 

2. Collate the information from the previous steps

What the panel members will need: All vendor responses should be collated, including email content and documentation sent during the request for information stage.  For simplicity, this can all be added into one PDF document with a contents page for easy navigation. The scored spreadsheet should also be provided.  Email this information or a link to a location from which it can be downloaded.  Ask the panel to review the information prior to the panel sitting.

The purpose of the panel is for the members to review the scoring that has been done, raise any questions about the scores assigned, and agree on the final 2-3 products for further investigation.  Asking the panel to do the actual scoring during one sitting is not practical, and is not likely to result in an informed outcome.  

3. Host the panel event

Allow a couple of hours for the session.  At the start, briefly explain the process that has led to this stage in the project.  Remind the panel members what the objective of the session is.  Starting from the highest scored product review the requirements and answer any questions the panel members may have. When there is agreement on the top 2-3 products, it is worth asking for agreement on a reserve product, should any of the vendors for any reason opt out of the next stage of the selection process.

4. Inform the unsuccessful vendors

Explain the process used to make the decision, and thank them for their time. 

Previous step: Request for information

Next step: eTender or Demonstration and Trial