HomeSoftware EngineeringBest Request for Proposal practices & RFP template for software development

Best Request for Proposal practices & RFP template for software development

Companies turn to outsourcing solutions when they are unable to internally develop specific functionality or applications. Finding the right outsourcing team might take too long unless the company uses a well-structured approach that fairly evaluates all the options. Reaching out to vendors with an RFP is one of the most popular ways of exploring the software development market. Let’s define what RFP stands for and what are the peculiarities of using it in software development.

What is an RFP and why to choose it?

A request for proposal is a document that a customer sends to several software development companies to present them the project’s requirements and goals and ask project-oriented questions to decide which one is the best to comply with the request.

Request for information vs Request for proposal

Unlike Request for Information (RFI), which mainly aims to gather specific data from outsourcing teams before taking further steps, RFP also includes the description of the customer’s company, its background information, and technical challenges the customer aims to resolve. This information clarifies the project’s need for outsourcing developers to estimate the scope of work and its cost.

By evaluating each interested outsourcing team’s answers to the RFP in terms of availability, cost suggested solutions, and expertise, the customer can determine which outsourced team fits best.

Request For Proposal best practices

In this article, we have covered how to create a strong RFP for software development. Generally speaking, in your RFP paper, you should cover the most important components of the solutions your business intends to produce and their desired outcomes.

First, make sure your RFP template for software development gives a clear picture of your request, specifying all the goals and required technologies.

Key point statements

After describing your company, project, and its goals, it is time to get to more specific aspects by including in your RFP the development process guidelines and project management details:

  • Technical requirements – specify the expected technologies, tools, platforms, and overall software quality, etc.; describe your current limitations.
  • Budget – make sure that you set an exact cost range expectation as it is an important aspect that outsourcing companies consider when deciding to bid for it. If you are unsure about the figures, show that you’re ready to negotiate.
  • Timeline – identify milestones or stages you expect the development process to go through.
  • Dates – schedule the expected beginning and end of the cooperation, and set specific dates.

Ask questions properly

The Questions section of Request For Proposal should include only ones that require answers personally from the vendor and cannot be found in public sources. For example, avoid asking for information that is posted on the company’s website or is easy to find by other non-sophisticated means.

Scope and deliverables in your RFP for software

The most comprehensive section of your RFP will be the scope and the deliverables. Representatives of software development companies will use this technical description to produce accurate and customized proposals. You need to touch on the following items.

Software Development Infrastructure

What is required for your app project to guarantee effectiveness, security, and trustworthiness? Your required infrastructure will be determined by these criteria. Keep a few factors in mind at this point.

  • How would you describe your present infrastructure?
  • What modifications to your server infrastructure will be necessary?
  • How will challenges around data security need to be handled?
  • What about legal safeguards for intellectual property?
  • How is software access restricted?

Think also of some specific requirements in your industry and your project.

RFP Product Requirements

The best way to communicate your software requirements is to share user journeys, use cases, and real-life scenarios. So, the tech lead and custom software developers will have an ideal representation of what they should build. How should your software product work? Think of describing it starting with these three points.

User journey and user experience

Describe what the user will be able to see and do with your software. The users should be able to change their settings and select features to leverage through their user profile, for instance.

Product features

Discuss system-related product capabilities in your software RFP. For instance, ‘the system should notify the user about every engagement (which is set by the user out of available options) on the product page on the marketplace’.

Software usage optimization

Give clear examples of what should be automated in your software so that users do not have to take any actions to get the needed result. ‘The system should automatically submit a confirmation email for each order in the online store,’ for instance.

List every feature that needs to be crafted. Describe your needs for front-end and back-end development in detail. Additionally, we advise you to outline the services you plan to offer using this software. You can also include a timeframe with a completion date for the project stages so that your software development vendors can assess their capability of delivering it on time.

Selection standards

Provide a set of criteria for evaluation appropriate for your app project needs before selecting an outsourcing IT vendor. A clear criteria list allows app development companies to highlight their relevant expertise, technical skills, experience, and offerings. This list will also show your seriousness about and diligence in your consideration of vendors’ proposals.

RFP template for software development takeaways

The template should be concise, including only customized and significant data and questions. Otherwise, revising and estimating all the RFPs will take extra time for you as a customer, and filling all the questions will require higher efforts from the vendor.

Include the Questions section to see what each software development team can offer. Give your prospects a chance to suggest their solution as it opens a space for unknown or better options. It will help you make the right choice when the offerings seem to be almost identical. 

Take into account the importance of the Guidelines section as it gives a chance to add specific instructions for reviewing and filling in the RFP, as well as lines out the deadlines for proposals or replies. It also helps to minimize unpredictable misunderstandings of the process from sending the RFP to the beginning of the cooperation with your new partner.

  Company’s background  
  Project description  
  Goals ·    ·    ·    ·    ·    
Technical requirements ·    ·    ·    ·    
Scope of work and timeline
Guidelines Please, send your proposals and additional clarifications until ___

Let’s create your software RFP together

Writing an RFP for software development does not have a set format. Therefore, we have given in this blog some recommendations and key points to think about. Consider those when drafting a request for a proposal for app development that fulfills the requirements of your product.

Feel free to arrange a call with our IT and outsourcing experts if you want to spend less time creating a proposal or find it difficult to describe the technical elements and product requirements. With years of experience in custom software development, ELITEX is a trusted outsourcing and technology partner. We will be happy to assist you in producing a stunning product that your customers will love.

Let’s talk about your project

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