The mind of a project lead: How a chief of party decides which bid to join

Seasoned project directors, chiefs of party or team leads use various criteria for deciding which bid to join, including their experience with the contractor, its reputation, compensation as well as other benefits. Photo by: Bob Nichols/USDA / CC BY

Competition tends to be high among nonprofits, consulting firms and other companies eager to implement development projects abroad. Usually, donors shortlist around half a dozen organizations bidding for a contract, and success is rarely guaranteed.

“Much of the time it’s Russian roulette picking the firm that’s going to win," said Robin Wheeler, a chief of party with more than 25 years of experience in development management, situation assessment and capacity building in Africa.

About the author

  • Kelli Rogers

    Kelli Rogers is an Associate Editor for Devex. Based on the U.S. West Coast, she works with Devex's team of correspondents and editors around the world, with a particular focus on gender. She previously worked as Devex’s Southeast Asia correspondent based in Bangkok, covering disaster and crisis response, resilience, women’s rights, and climate change throughout the region. Prior to that, she reported on social and environmental issues from Nairobi, Kenya. Kelli holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri, and has since reported from more than 20 countries.