How to write a request for proposal to software partner?

Our approach

How to write an RFP that will get a response?

How often do you hear complaints about developers who did not do what the customer expected? Now ask the developers what they think about this. It really doesn't matter to a professional team how complex your project is. Much more important is how you formulated the task.

Practice shows: the key to a well-done project is a well-written RFP (request for a proposal). Then, with a high probability, we can say that the work will be completed on time, within budget and with high quality. This means that you will save your time, money and nerves.

Business analysts from the Sannacode team have prepared a guide for customers on how to write an effective RFP.

8 steps to writing a request for proposal to software development

A sensational study in narrow circles shows that more than 30% of client calls in the studio remain unanswered. And, believe me, the reason is not the sloppiness of the developers. Often, the client's initial request is designed in such a way that it does not pass the adequacy test. It could be one proposal for a project and a question about price and timing. No signature, no position, often not even a human name. Experienced software companies with no customer issues are forced to filter these requests by refusing or not responding at all.

Over the years, Sannacode's inbox has seen many strange emails from customers. Today we would like to share with customers a simple algorithm that will help you write a development request and draw attention to your project, not a rejection or ignore.

Request for proposal template for software development:

  1. Tell about your business

  2. Describe goals of product development

  3. Give recommendations on product performance

  4. Choose the document type

  5. Set deadlines

  6. Negotiate reporting

  7. Decide on a budget

  8. Provide additional information

Tell about your business

The team that will work on your project must understand the specifics of your business. Knowing important business concepts, the project manager will be able to formulate an exact request and set the correct tasks for developers.

  1. Tell the story of starting a business

  2. Describe what your company does

  3. Indicate the purpose and mission of the company

  4. If you have a highly specialized niche, compose a glossary of terms so developers can understand you

Describe goals of product development

You can get a product that does not meet your requirements if you forget to indicate the goal of the project. Developers blindly followed the exact requirements without knowing the ultimate goal and were unable to offer you better alternatives.

In the RFP, describe in detail what goals your project has and what you should get in the end. Otherwise, you can pay with time and money. A well-described project goal will enable developers to find a better solution for your problem.

  1. Write down your goals using the SMART methodology

  2. Write as simply as possible, avoid vague wording

  3. Add links and references for functional solutions that you would like to see in your product

  4. If you have special requirements, please describe them in the RFP

Give recommendations on product performance

Do not write an RFP based solely on your knowledge. Be sure to check with the development team. They will give you important details that you might not have thought of. Include it in your request for proposal.

  1. Consult an outsourcing company

  2. Analyze competitors' projects

Choose the document type

Different stages of development require different documentation. Typically vision&scope or specification will be required in the first step.

A vision&scope is a document that helps define the customer's idea and the workflow by which it can be realized. It also helps determine the expected outcome of the project.

Specifics is the final document that the contractor prepares when he receives the maximum information about the project.

Set deadlines

You must set deadlines to receive the project on your an RFP. Remember that the speed of development should not affect the quality, so be careful about timing.

Depending on the complexity of the project, the development time takes from a month to a year.

  1. Set the exact deadlines for the project

  2. Specify the terms and conditions for assessing the success of the project

  3. Set sanctions for failure to meet deadlines

Negotiate reporting

If you are developing a large product, break it down into phases. Establish its own reporting and KPIs for each stage.

  1. Set reporting deadlines on the fact of work performed

  2. Write down what the report should include

Decide on a budget

Objectively assess your financial capabilities and desires. You should not count on the creation of a new Aliexpress for 5 thousand dollars. It's impossible.

The project manager will help you make a preliminary estimate of the project. 

Also, please note that different countries have different rates. You can make one product for $35 an hour in Ukraine and $100 an hour in the US.

However, it is important to look at the quality of the outsourcing company's projects.

  1. Determine MVP and the most important functions. Prioritize development stages

  2. First of all, calculate the budget for those functions without which your project will not be able to function

Provide additional information

Attach additional material to the letter that you can use to help the team develop or that the team needs to consider. This can be: a technical specification sketch, documentation, corporate identity, texts and illustrations, marketing data, prototype, design or back-end of the application, your own sketches and drafts on a napkin. All this helps to understand what you have to work with.

Use examples and similar projects where possible. Screenshots and links to competitors' projects are another way to understand each other faster.

1. Open access to documents that can help developers

2. Specify the contacts of the responsible persons with whom the developers can contact on any questions

Sample RFP template for mobile app and software development 

[Current Date]

[Project title]

[Project overview]

1.Company’s name and background information

2.Project goals.

[Company goal 1]

[Company goal 2]

[Company goal 3]

To reach these goals, [your company] accepts bids in response to this Request for Proposal.

The project details are as follows:

3. The scope of work.

[Description of the project and a detailed scope of work.]

3. Target deliverable schedule.

[Add the date when the project must be completed.]

The expected project completion date is [add date]. If this date is not met or needs to be adjusted, include your readjusted proposed date, as well as the reasoning for shifting the schedule. All proposed dates will be taken into consideration.

4. Existing roadblocks or technical issues.

[Describe the time, resources, or other constraint factors that affect the proposal and the project.]

[Your company] currently has [insert list of roadblocks.]

5. Budget constraints.

The budget for this project is [insert dollar amount plus exchange currency information if vendors are outside the home country.]

6. Evaluation metrics.

[Your company] evaluates bidders and proposals based on the following criteria:

Previous experience/past performance.

Samples and/or case studies from previous projects.

Experience and technical expertise.

Projected costs.

Responsiveness and answers to questions in the following section.

7. Questions bidders must answer to be considered.

[Create comprehensive questions that are project-related to properly assess potential vendors.]

[Question 1]

[Question 2]

[Question 3]

8. Submission requirements. Bidders must adhere to the following guidelines to be considered:

Only bidders who meet all metrics in the evaluation section should submit a proposal.

Proposals must be sent by [insert date.]

Interested bidders should submit the RFP and address it to [point of contact name and email address] by no later than [insert deadline.]

Samples and references should be included along with the proposal.

Proposals should not exceed [number] pages long.

Failure to comply will result in an automatic rejection.

A proposed schedule must be included and clearly expressed.

9. Contact information.

For questions or concerns in relation to this RFP, please reach out to [point of contact name] at [point of contact phone and email address.]

Conclusion

  1. Don't write a letter or two.

  2. The terms of reference do not replace an RFP.

  3. Share the main vision of the project. Describe the type, target audience, purpose of the project and how you plan to promote and develop it, name the platforms.

  4. For quick communication, indicate the approximate order of the budget amounts.

  5. Get ready for live communication with the manager. Without this it will be difficult to work together.

  6. Attach all additional materials to the letter: from the technical specification and description of the server side to design sketches.

  7. Make your letter solid: write without errors and from corporate mail, indicate your full name and position, leave contacts.

A structured, informative letter helps the studio to quickly understand what kind of project you want to implement and how to help you. If you want to create a project with an eminent studio, it is worth working on the first appeal and creating a good impression of yourself. A good application is more likely to be answered.

Do not be lazy to spend 40 minutes on the first letter once - in the future you will save time for yourself and the contractor.

If you have a request for a proposal for the Sannacode team, send us an email.

 

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