Write a Request Proposal For Software Development Like A Pro

Write a Request Proposal For Software Development Like A Pro | OmiSoft

Business people are spending billions of dollars on professional dedicated software development services. As of now, the IT professional service market is estimated at 777.28 billion, and it is expected to grow by 11.2% by 2030.

As you can see there is quite a lot of money at stake, which makes IT companies value their time in making a robust Request for Proposal (RFP) process. But there is one problem—many clients who want a site, app, or software development, have no clue in tech knowledge to make a good RFP. And it leads to a sad statistic of Forbes, which states that unclear requirements are in the top-5 reasons why projects fail. And that’s what we are going to teach you not to do. Read on!

What is an RFP for dedicated software development?

RFP or a request for proposal (RFP) for dedicated software development—a formal document, drafting your expectations and requirements for the  future project. 

Why do you need RFP?

RFP is mainly used to contact different dedicated software developers to get estimates for your project. The response to such a request is a proposal of how they will manage your project and execute it from required resources, and tech stack to estimated time and money. After getting a few proposals you can see which one is the best fit for your project idea and budget.

Are RFI, RFQ, and RFP the same?

If short, no. These are 3 different types of documents:

  • RFP—request for proposal
  • RFQ—request for quote
  • RFI—request for information

The thing that unites the 3 is the purpose of business communication between a client and potential contractors. Let’s explore the difference between them in greater detail.

Request for Information Request for Quote Request for Proposal
RFI is an overview of the vendor’s abilities and resources that is provided for the companies. It helps them to understand if it’s a good fit for their needs and also compare it with other providers in the market. 

  • RFI has general info about the project and its goals
  • Questions about the vendors experience in the specific niche, available resources, and general capacity to provide the service.
When a company gets a few vendors that are suitable, the following point is to compare the prices. Note that you should never choose a dedicated software development team based solely on price. But it’s natural that it can be a deal-breaker.

A high-quality RFQ will consist of:

  • Project requirements
  • App designs
  • Detailed budget estimates
RFP is usually the final step. It consists of detailed conditions of the project:

  • Requirements
  • Challenges 
  • Requests solutions
  • Tech recommendations
  • Clear deliverables

Who should write an RFP?

It’s important to have members from all the relevant teams that can help you identify what exactly your project requires. A good RFP is written by someone who is rooting for the project’s success and is fully aware of all its specifications and limitations.

If put short, in RFP clients specify what they want to be done, while technicians determine how it should be done. Note that sometimes a CEO or the company lacks a broad understanding of the tech side. In such cases, it’s worth assigning the RFP to team members who are closer to the day-to-day work routine.

Why is software development RFP important for IT projects?

You should not underestimate a request proposal for dedicated software development as it can bring a lot of benefits to your company in the initial phases of app or website development.

Understand what vendors on the IT market can offer to your project
Potential software development teams will try to deliver tailored offers that suit your business requirements, responding to your RFP. So, the better and more detailed RFP you send, the more accurate fit you can find.

Develop a clear process for picking the best candidate to hire

As RFP are quite standardized, the format allows for comparing and evaluating potential vendors much easier. When you put them side by side you can compare your options in experience, speed, cost, etc, without spending much time.

Increase the possibility of better prices
Sometimes IT companies offer almost identical service levels. That’s when you can consider picking a vendor with a better price. But be sure to check that the decrease in the cost is not because of sacrificing the quality, as it comes with a lot of risks.

Spend less time & resources
Even though a nicely-written RFP requires putting in time and effort, it allows you to save time on going back and forward with many additional questions. It also helps to bring clarity and protect from chaos during your decision-making process.

The RFP Process: How to write an effective RFP

Now that you know what are the main advantages of writing an RFP, let’s see how to make it really work for you. We created a short step-by-step guide that has all of the most important parts of the RFP for software development.

#1 Step | Planning

Specify:

  • Requirements
  • Scope of work
  • Project goals
  • Budget range
  • Timeline for the development process
  • All Stakeholders
  • Time allocated for screening process
  • Vendor selection criteria 

#2 Step | RFP Drafting

Here are all the sections that you should include to your RFP:

  • Company description
  • Detailed project overview
  • Main goals and results
  • Scope & Deliverables (best done in a form of a checklist)
  • Tech requirements
  • Wish list (something your company would like to see but it’s negotiable)
  • Timeframe (a proposal deadline, an evaluation window, a selection date, a date to notify vendors of denial, and a project completion date)
  • Budget
  • Possible roadblocks
  • Selection criteria
  • Guidelines for proposal submission
  • Contact info

#3 Step | RFP Issuing

  • Send to different vendors and platforms you pick
  • Check out responses and answer questions (if there are any)
  • Accept submissions

#4 Step | Review & Compare

  • Evaluate received proposals
  • Select the final 2-3 companies that make the cut
  • Arrange an interview
  • Check references
  • Make best and final offers

#5 Step | Award contracts

  • Offer contracts
  • Do final negotiations
  • Sign the contract and NDAs

Hand-on tips on how to write an effective RFP

As the experiences software development company, we had worked with our fair share of RFPs. To help you spend the least time writing it, but at the same time get the most out of it, we gathered some practical tips that can help you write an effective RFP.

Don’t hunt the lowest price 

You might think “pfft..that’s obvious”, but unfortunately, it is not for everyone. Especially when the budget is very restricted, companies tend to use price as the main factor. But it’s always wiser to ask the right questions and negotiate. This way you might get the price that works for you and for the best-fit vendor.

Don’t add 100+ project goals

It’s easy to go overboard with goals if the project is on a larger scale. But you should have a list of top priorities, and then add a wish list of things that you’d like to have at some point. Thus, you’ll receive more realistic proposals and a better fit for your time and budget. As don’t forget that every goal = extra time + money.

Don’t focus on solutions

From our experience focusing on main pain points, requirements, and goals, and receiving solutions from vendors usually is more effective. As vendors usually can offer more efficient solutions, that save your time and resources, instead of looking for ways to make the solution you offer happen.

Don’t send RFP to all IT companies in the country

The more, the merrier doesn’t work with RFP. Pick 3-5 IT companies that offer the services you seek and work from there. Spend time not on evaluating 100+ proposals, but better put more effort is researching suitable companies and sending detailed RFP to get accurately estimated prices and timeframes. And if you want to, you can add a few companies later on in the pool of candidates.

Also, we recommend not just searching locally, but also turning to dedicated software development companies, like OmiSoft. They can offer the same if not higher quality of service at 30-40% less cost, due to not being located in the US.

Don’t rush the vendor’s answer

It’s fine to add a submission time, but spamming with letters is not the best way to go about it. Giving time to vendors to prepare a realistic proposal will ensure that your actual project won’t need hiring extra people or additional finances.

3 most frequently asked questions on a request proposal for software development

Is a request proposal for software development service obligatory?

Yes. But it can come in different forms. Writing some sort of RFP is unavoidable, as it contains all project’s specifics and requirements that an IT company needs to see if it can cover your needs.

Are there any templates for request proposals?

Yes, you can find thousands of templates, or use our checklist in the RFP Drafting section.

What happens if I make a mistake in my RFP?

Nothing critical, as you can always send a follow-up. But you should take RFP writing seriously, as it will save you from confusion and misunderstandings that may result in additional expenses.

Conclusion

We believe there is no one-size-fits-all template for creating an RFP for software development services. We’ve given you some guidelines to help you when writing your proposal. 

If you don’t want to trouble yourself with writing a proposal, or still aren’t sure why a dedicated software team is useful, you can book a call with our niche developers. 

OmiSoft software development company with excellent product development expertise is ready to work with you.

Contact Us!

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