How to write a request for proposal to software partner?
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:
- Tell about your business
- Describe goals of product development
- Give recommendations on product performance
- Choose the document type
- Set deadlines
- Negotiate reporting
- Decide on a budget
- 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.
- Tell the story of starting a business
- Describe what your company does
- Indicate the purpose and mission of the company
- 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.
- Write down your goals using the SMART methodology
- Write as simply as possible, avoid vague wording
- Add links and references for functional solutions that you would like to see in your product
- 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.
- Consult an outsourcing company
- 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.
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.
- Set the exact deadlines for the project
- Specify the terms and conditions for assessing the success of the project
- Set sanctions for failure to meet deadlines
If you are developing a large product, break it down into phases. Establish its own reporting and KPIs for each stage.
- Set reporting deadlines on the fact of work performed
- 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.
- Determine MVP and the most important functions. Prioritize development stages
- 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
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.
Originally published at sannacode.com