Before we start discussing the main elements and rules to write an RFP, let’s clarify what it is. A company looking for a services provider sends this request to vendors. 

What is RFP for Software Development?

An RFP includes all the necessary details of a future project, such as:

  • requirements for the development outcome
  • project specifics
  • timelines

Development companies prepare quotes according to this request.

What is the Main Aim of RFP for a Software Development Project?

An RFP aims at comparing bids and strategies to receive maximum information about the future product. It can also uncover flaws or other details of the project you haven’t noticed before.

An RFP is like a presentation of your company to your potential business collaborators. That’s why writing it correctly is important for establishing a trustworthy image. You can check out RFP examples for software development and see that it has significant meaning and predefines the milestones of cooperation with a chosen vendor. 

The more well-thought the request you present, the more quality and detailed responses you will receive, which results in effective collaboration with the development team. To save time and effort on writing it from scratch, you can download an RFP template for software development. Still, you should know the key elements to include in this request. Let’s get started!

Who Should Write a Software Development RFP?

There is no universal answer to this question. The person assigned with this task depends on the particular project. It hinges on its size and your team members. Large corporations often have a specialist for this process – a proposal writer. But in most cases, the project manager is responsible for the RFP. 

However, a comprehensive and well-structured RFP is always a team effort. The specialists involved are:

  • business analyst
  • product or project manager
  • product owner
  • technical specialists

The optimal way is to engage all the specialists who will play crucial roles in developing the future product. The more team members that participate in it, the more comprehensively the RFP will cover the project scope.

6 Things to Include in RFP for Software Development Services

An RFP is going to save your company much time on negotiations and meetings. Make sure to include all the parts below to receive the most thorough and appropriate responses.

1. Analytical Summary of the Project and Company Overview

Outlining the project should be as informative as possible. Be precise and write this part clearly and comprehensively. Remember that you may edit this part later. Here is what an overview typically encompasses:

  • Project goals 
  • Requirements and restrictions
  • A portrait of target users

This is an excellent opportunity to dive deeper into these questions and receive definite answers to them. We suggest quantifying your objective. For instance, you want to reach more customers sounds a little unclear. Instead, you can say that you want to grow your customer base by 40%. It will give more insight into your goals and make it easier to suggest the most beneficial solutions.

Including company information is also essential. Let others understand who you are and what you stand for. You can also tell about:

  • your office locations
  • company story
  • what makes you different from market competitors
  • products and services you provide

2. Scope of Work and Deliverables

The technological aspect of an RFP for IT vendors is complex and demands the attention of experienced specialists. The outsourcing company will write their proposal mainly relying on this part, so make each word count.

The project infrastructure defines the solutions to make your product secure, reliable, and scalable. Tell about how your product will function in the product requirements section. Involve such aspects as:

  • User experience – things they should see and do;
  • Software capabilities – functions of the product;
  • Optimization and automation – processes that users shouldn’t be involved in;
  • The characteristics and specifications of every entity;
  • Processes that should take place independently from user actions;
  • Other apps or platforms your product should interact with;
  • Existing infrastructure;
  • Devices and OS your product should work on;
  • A list of specialists who might participate in the development process may be users, industry specialists, designers, coders, testers and QA specialists, etc.

3. Project Management

This part includes your questions about methodologies and team management and the specifics of working with offshore or nearshore development partners. This part defines the most suitable methods and cooperation model. 

Here you also mention how and how often you want to interact with the team on the progress of your website or application. It should include planning meetings, stand-ups, and communication tools. You also need to emphasize the project documentation and define who will be responsible for communication on both your and the vendor’s side. Request information about their quality assurance and testing policies and how they develop project documentation.

4. Existing Obstacles and Technical Issues

Share the things that might cause issues. If you want your project to succeed, include all of them without hiding anything. Knowing about all the possible challenges will offer the optimal ways to avoid them and finish the project successfully. 

Analyze the possible constraints thoroughly and write about all your anticipations. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. 

You can also add questions on the possible issues and analyze how the team answers them to choose the most suitable partner.

5. Planned Budget

Set the planned budget and be ready to negotiate. Decide whether you want to go for a fixed price model or a flexible Agile model. Don’t overlook the currency exchange if you plan to outsource development. 

6. Response Timeline and Point of Contact

Consider that the companies may require more freedom to prepare a qualitative response for complex projects. Ensure you give them ample time to deliver exhaustive and detailed estimates and bid information. Your request for proposal for software development should encompass: 

  • Deadline to offer bid intention
  • The time period for interviews and receiving initial questions
  • Bidding deadline
  • Date for informing end candidates
  • Dates of final interviews
  • Deadline for choosing candidates

Let the potential partners know who to contact if they have questions about the proposal delivery. 

The Ending Note

There is no one-size-fits-all way to create an RFP. We hope that in this article, you found helpful guidelines on how to write an RFP for software development in 2021. Remember that it is a crucial step that aims to pick a reliable partner for cooperation.