How do solicit bids for software development projects from reputable vendors? You create a detailed RFP to ensure you attract the right firm. To help with that, we’ve created a guide for writing a software development request for proposal (RFP).
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The software development request for proposal is the initial document you create before you select a software development firm. An RFP can also be used for other projects. In it, you will outline specifics about the project, your requirements, even expected deliverable dates. Vendors will read this document. They will then submit a bid based on your request.
When a software company receives a properly composed RFP, they are more likely to respond appropriately. Companies that are interested in the work, and capable of doing it will respond with a detailed proposal. Your RFP is also a time-saving tool. Companies that don’t have the required staff or skill set will know to move onto the next solicitation.
The executive summary is simply an overview of your overall goals, limitations, and requirements. Be brief, and make every word count. Don’t forget to mention your target audience. It usually helps to add some information about your company. Companies will be able to understand your needs better if they understand your organization.
When you write your project goals, keep one rule in mind. Think like a business person, not a software developer. That means stating your business needs and goals rather than listing technical specifications.
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Next, consider how you will quantify your goals. For example, if you want a solution to improve your communication with workers in the field, consider what that will look like. Maybe it will be a 25% reduction in errors attributed to miscommunication.
Chances are, you will revisit this section before it’s perfected. If you have the following questions answered, you are off to a good start:
This will be the longest and most detailed part of your RFP. Software development company reps will rely on this to create an accurate proposal. Here are some things you’ll address.
What does your project need to ensure reliability, security, and availability? This will define the infrastructure you need. Here, you’ll want to consider a few things.
How will your product function? Try to think in terms of:
Who from your team will be able to add value to the process? This list might include users, business area experts, business analysts, and in-house designers and developers. This is where you’ll also mention the experts you are seeking from the software vendor as well.
This section will address questions, concerns, and expectations for project management. Yes, this does include methodologies such as Kanban or Scrum. This is also where you want to discuss project management tools, methods of communication, development platforms, and testing. This is also a good time to discuss whether you are interested in a fully remote solution, dedicated teams, or something hybrid.
Two other considerations are QA and documentation. Consider requesting information from each vendor on their QA and testing policies, as well as how they create both developer and user docs.
Your RFP should include a brief timeline for accepting proposals. Your timeline should include:
Keep in mind that you’ll get the best responses if you can give developers as much time as possible to formulate their responses.
What information do you need from vendors to make a decision? Are there any restrictions you want to place on the businesses that respond to your request? Give detailed instructions on the information you need from each software company. If every vendor sends you the same information, structured the same way, you will be able to conduct a side by side comparison. Here’s a list of the data that is commonly included:
Don’t forget to add any other criteria. For example, if you absolutely want developers to come in-house, then you’ll need to indicate that. Otherwise, you’ll be fielding bids from companies that don’t meet your needs.
There’s no standard template for writing an RFP for software development. Instead, we’ve provided you with some guidelines and important considerations. Keep these in mind while creating a request for a proposal that meets your project needs.
If you don’t want to bother yourself with writing a proposal, have trouble describing the technical part, or still aren’t sure why to outsource software development, you can schedule a call with our team. Relevant is a 7-years old software development company with excellent product development expertise. We will be glad to hear and write down your requirements.