Request for Proposal: On-Site Rails Training

Don’t let the bureaucratic aspects of this RFP bother you: we’re eager
to find and work with a good trainer to get our developers up to speed
on RoR, and there’s a possibility of a paid Rails-evangelist gig as
well. If that sounds like something you would be interested in and
qualified for, I hope you will get in touch with us and submit a
proposal. --Chris


The Departmental Computing Support Manager at Princeton University in
central New Jersey, USA, seeks proposals from qualified training firms
or individuals for an on-campus training session for developing web
applications in Ruby on Rails. We will consider proposals for any
effective, interactive training model (e.g., in-person instruction v.
videoconferencing). Proposals are due on Friday, 3 February 2006.

We want to provide our central-IT and departmental web developers with 1
to 3 days of hands-on training, starting from a zero foundation in
Ruby/Rails. Our developers range from highly experienced enterprise web
programmers (all platforms, no Ruby/Rails experience) to near-beginners.
Because our developers work on different operating systems, preference
will be given to curriculum that is as platform-neutral as possible; for
example, we value instruction that minimizes (and identifies) the use of
features of Ruby/Rails that are not available on all platforms; and we
would strongly prefer that any instruction making use of a particular
IDE employ one that is available on Windows, Linux, and the Mac.

Our developers can come prepared with individual/team projects they
would like to implement, or they can all participate in parallel
development of a single reference/demo application, at your option.
NOTE: We particularly value reference applications that have some
relevance to the academic enterprise: very few of our people build
shopping carts.

We have a particular interest in training that will:

  1. Introduce our developers to agile/test-first programming in Rails,

  2. Help our developers learn best-practices for properly securing web
    applications in Rails, including strategies and tools for protecting
    user data and managing role-based permissions as well as the use of our
    campus LDAP or Active Directory services for authentication and

You may specify Windows, Mac, or Linux desktops for attendees: we will
set everyone up on a single platform or let them each choose their own,
at your option. The computer/media classroom and equipment (including
Ruby/Rails configured to your specifications) will be provided by us, as
will food and beverages during breaks.

We strongly prefer clear, well-written, and concise submissions that
indicate a good understanding of the particular needs of academic

We will consider creative alternatives to our stated proposal
requirements, provided they promise to meet our goals more effectively.

You are welcome to contact either of the individuals listed at the
bottom of this message to obtain more information about our needs and
objectives: Ms. Roach is the administrative contact; Mr. Mackie is the
technical contact.

The successful respondent will document substantial experience in
delivering effective Rails training in a multi-platform environment, and
will provide (along with a proposal document and price quotation): a
resume/CV for each trainer and for the curriculum developer(s) (if
different); and supporting materials sufficiently detailed to allow us
to evaluate the curriculum and the quality of the services offered.
Multimedia evaluative materials (e.g., recordings of previous training
sessions; interactive training/demo websites) are welcome.

The specific days/times are negotiable, but we plan to accomplish this
training within the next 30-90 days.

We require a flat-fee, not a per-capita, price quotation. If your
pricing depends on class size, please specify a flat fee and indicate
the maximum acceptable seating capacity.

Your proposal should specify:

  1. The content to be covered, in what general order, and with
    approximate time breakdowns.

  2. A list of course materials, if any, to be provided by you to the
    attendees. (Samples are optional, but welcome.)

  3. The total number of days and hours/day you propose to conduct
    training, along with one or more sets of proposed dates for the
    training. An indication of your availability outside those dates would
    also be helpful. We will give preference to proposals for dates from
    15-Feb to 31-March, but will consider later and slightly earlier dates
    as well.

  4. Equipment and configuration required for the classroom and teacher’s
    station desktops, including OS versions, Ruby/Rails versions, any Rails
    add-ins, IDE (if any), and any additional software/configuration.

(Acceptable OS versions are Windows XP Professional SP2, MacOS-X
“Tiger”, or the Princeton standard Linux image, which is based on
RedHat: Linux image details are available on request. You may request
only one OS, or permit a mix of all three.)

  1. A price quotation covering all charges, including a predetermined,
    fixed fee for any travel and expenses.

(Newark, NJ is the most convenient airport; Princeton has rail service
direct to campus from NYC, Washington, and Newark Airport; local hotels
average $100/night)

Client references will be required prior to contract signing.

NOTE: Princeton University encourages proposals from small businesses,
minority-owned businesses, and woman-owned businesses.

We welcome multi-option proposals (e.g., 1-day, 2-day, and 3-day
options) as well as creative, alternative specifications aimed at
meeting our needs. If submitting multiple options, you should discuss
the relative pros and cons of each and indicate clearly your
most-preferred option.

Also, we are potentially interested in sponsoring one additional day for
Rails evangelism on campus, during which time the evangelist would be
expected to speak with at least two wider audiences: one session with a
technical demo and one without; both with extensive Q&A. Our goals are
to stimulate interest in Rails among campus web developers and increase
support for Rails development projects among campus decision-makers.
This task, if implemented, will be contracted separately from the
training session, and you are not required to bid or to accept it in
order to win the training contract; however, the training provider will
be given first consideration for the evangelism contract. If you are
also interested in this opportunity, please tell us in your proposal and
detail your qualifications. Pricing information for the additional day
would also be helpful, but is not required as part of this proposal.

Your initial proposal and any supporting materials may be submitted via
hard-copy, e-mail attachment (PDF strongly recommended), or
URL-for-download. Proposals should be directed to:

Evelyne Roach
Departmental Computing Support Manager
Office of Information Technology
87 Prospect Ave.
Princeton, NJ 08540
[email protected]

*** Proposals must be received in our offices no later than 5pm EST
(GMT-5) on Friday, 3 February 2006. ***

Please contact Ms. Roach or me with any questions – we look forward to
working with you.

Christopher J. Mackie
Computing Support Manager
Department of Politics
130 Corwin Hall
Princeton, NJ 08544-1012
[email protected]

Christopher J. Mackie wrote:

Don’t let the bureaucratic aspects of this RFP bother you: we’re eager
to find and work with a good trainer to get our developers up to speed
on RoR, and there’s a possibility of a paid Rails-evangelist gig as
well. If that sounds like something you would be interested in and
qualified for, I hope you will get in touch with us and submit a
proposal. --Chris

If you don’t hear from them, I can recommend the Pragmatic Studio
training from Dave T. and Mike C… Well, I haven’t taken the
workshop yet, but I’ve been working with them to organize a workshop at
our company. I think they’ll be able to provide everything you’re
looking for, especially since you are looking for training focused on
agile methodology.

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