Having a clear idea of which software you need or which one you want to develop is essential if you want to have a successfully finished project and fully functional product. This is especially relevant when you have a whole list of possible candidates and want to make the right decision and choose a perfect vendor that can lend your business a helping hand. Request for Proposal or RFP is what you need to have in this case. It is a common courtesy to send a potential software development company that offers outsourcing custom software development services a document, which will explain what is required. Otherwise, you can meet with miscommunication or incompetence. To help you avoid any issues, let’s look at what an RFP should be, how it can help, and what you must know before creating one.
Understanding Request for Proposal and Knowing Its Benefits
First of all, it is important to understand what request for proposal is and how it can help both your business and the vendor you will be working with. This formal document describes all the requirements that should be fulfilled for your project and what is expected from an outsourcing company. It usually includes the terms, work scope, and goals defined for a project, and it can state the important details and conditions for the agreement and contract. Thus, it becomes clear for an organization if the skills that its team has are even relevant for your request. It is beneficial for both parties to have such a document, so let’s look at the advantages that the creation of RFP for software development can offer:
- Prediction of perspectives and outcome
With this form, it is possible for both parties of an agreement to think ahead. If the proposal has clear goals and is easy to understand, you and a potential software provider both know what your company needs. It means that in return you can expect that a vendor will tailor the offer that aligns with your particular business requirements.
- Clear selection process
With transparent prerequisites, you create a healthy competition. You are able to compare potential providers and evaluate them side by side, because everyone will have equal opportunities.
- Possibility of reducing costs
The detailed request for proposal that covers all the needed information leads to a higher accuracy of project estimates. You cannot deny the fact that the cost of software development is one of the key factors that affect the final decision of both parties. If your requirements are openly stated, it will be easier for you not only to control pricing from going out of hand but also to reduce costs when possible.
- Time and resource saving
Optimization is what any company desires. Yes, you will have to spend time and effort in advance in order to create a good RPF, but you will be rewarded eventually. You will have less issues and misunderstandings with the chosen vendor and won’t need to change much in the process, because everything will be already determined. Of course, you can also find an organization that won’t decline discussing everything on the spot if you don’t have time for this. However, a ready-made request for a proposal that was discussed early on can bring you more benefits.
Besides knowing how creating this form can be a game-changer, it is also essential to learn the differences between RFP, RFI, and RFQ. Sometimes it can be confusing if you find them similar. That is why a company that is searching for the best software development provider should be able to distinguish them in order to make the right decision.
As it was mentioned above, RFP provides all the vital details on your project. The budget, scope of work, goals, and deliverables are clarified. With its help, you can see the comparison of offers, companies’ tech stack, as well as find answers to specific questions about the provider’s prior projects and current services. If talking about the RFI, which is also known as Request For Information, it contains open-ended questions and general information about services. It helps you to look at the availability of relevant candidates for your product idea. It is perfect in case you are exploring the market, doing research, and increasing your pool of candidates that you may need for later plans. As for the Request For Quotation, it focuses on specific information. Usually, it includes the list of predetermined requirements and goals for further price evaluation. By using RFQ, you can learn everything you need about pricing and payment.
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Writing Effective Request for Proposal
After you understand all the characteristics and advantages of using IT RFP, it is time to get down to creating it. If you are looking for the best choice and want to work with a software development partner that can provide you with the needed specialists and skills for your solution, you should know which steps to take. Let’s look at how RFP has to be presented.
Start with the overview of your project. How else will a software development company know what it can offer you? Share the name of your product, its purpose, what you expect of it. What are the problems you want to deal with? Specify them. Is it a prototype, working solution, or just a brief idea that you want to make real? Emphasize all of the main details in order to cut off the irrelevant competitors.
It is crucial to include the basic details of your business and company so that it will be clear with whom a potential vendor will be working. State your contacts, think about adding a brief company history and maybe some achievements. Show your worth, and providers will definitely want to connect with such a partner.
Goals and Expectations
This is the part where you must write about all the details associated with the development process and your collaboration with a potential software development company. So, let’s go in order. Your business goals and expectations about the project – these are the two steps you should begin with.
Help the vendor to understand which software you want and how you see it in the finished state. How will the product serve the users? What is the target audience? Define the whole scope of work if you still haven’t. Don’t forget about the deliverables and timeframe. If a company has no experts in the niche you need, you may just cross out that number you have written. On the other hand, if you demand to develop an app within tight deadlines, even seasoned specialists might not make it in time. Find a balance and state the right time frame in your RFP.
From this it follows that defining technical requirements is also important. Decide on which hardware, software, and technologies will be used during the development stage. You cannot turn a blind eye on the technology expertise that a vendor can provide you with, therefore a carefully considered decision is a must. These details can always be discussed later with the particular provider you chose if, for example, you don’t know which technology or programming language will be the best for the idea you have in mind. But if you have a working product that follows certain technical requirements, a vendor has to do the same.
Budget and Evaluation Criteria
This is another aspect that needs to be included. The budget range is what may drive away those candidates that may be perfect matches for your requirements. Eventually, you can even sign contract with an incompetent provider that doesn’t have resources for your project. Thus, determine where you can sacrifice and where a vendor should do this for the shared goal. Also, don’t forget to include evaluation criteria to let the candidates know on how the chips fall.
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Writing a detailed RFP is a great start to creating something big. You need to make a lot of preparations, but the result can lead you to unimagined heights. With its help, you can gather all the information of your software at one place and find a good company that is able to assist you at any development stage of your project. It means that you can kill two birds with one stone. So why not gain only benefits from this document? If you have questions, want to get free consultation, or know more about the services we provide, please contact us.