The Request for Proposal or RFP is a form of document that entails the business needs and problems that can be evaluated by potential vendors for providing legit solutions. There are other documents as well that are quite similar to RFP, such as Request for Quotation (RFQ), used for providing price estimates to clients only, and Request for Information (RFI), used for conducting vendor research. 

Many times partners find it difficult to write RFPs. If you are one of them, here are some practical tips, recommendations, and guidelines that can help you when you are writing your software development RFP. 

Your MVP Needs To Be the Priority

MVP or Minimum Viable Product is very important when you are creating your RFP. It is something you have to keep in the mind from the beginning. The custom software developers will create a project that will have a few unique features that provide a solution that can cater to all your needs. For example, when considering a chat app, the feature of exchanging messages is of prime focus. In such a case, custom backgrounds will be a feature that is low on priority. Therefore, it is important to prioritise the features appropriating. It will help in creating your RFP appropriately that can increase the evaluation’s accuracy. 

Providing Examples

When you are approaching developers, you need to be as clear as possible. Many times, people tend to go with requests like include a feature or provide a copy of an app. It may be the basic style you are adopting for pitching your idea, but it can create a lot of misunderstandings in the functionality of the solution upon reaching the evaluation stage. 

There are several costly features in every application, which may not be necessary for your particular business. You can always put all the features when you copy another application or software. But, offering a list of all the features along with a good example of what you truly require will be best at illustrating your demands and needs. 

Mentioning Business Value of the Idea 

When you are writing your RFP, it is best to discuss your idea’s business value. If you do not include a context, a list of features will be useless. One of the best ways you can deal with this situation is by providing an explanation that sums up your business goal and what you aim to achieve with this particular solution. 

Your potential vendor will get to understand what the software is actually meant for, when it comes to your business and its needs. When you analyse the contextualised solution, an expert will be able to gather his/her experience in pointing the possible ways that could be employed for gaining an efficient solution. 

Sharing Your Experience

It you have worked with software developers before, you must share the experience you had, be it positive or negative. If you had negative experiences, mentioning them could give very insightful, especially when it comes to dealing with possible pitfalls. By sharing your narrative, you will also offer a better understanding of the inner production processes of your company. It can help in avoiding similar problems from occurring again. Having a positive experience will offer a chance to the potential developers to make essential improvements to their work.  

Asking for Expertise

It isn’t mandatory to design a solution and pre-decide the stack before you approach the vendor. It is okay to have a goal, but no idea of ways of reaching it. Having a contextualised and well-defined idea is good enough when you want your developers in planning, analysing, and estimating. 

Additional Tips

There are a few more things that you may need to keep in mind before you write your RFP. 

Write a glossary of terms - If you have a glossary of terms, it will significantly help you in avoiding any form of confusion. It increases the clarity of your RFP that can save a lot of your time. 
Do not mail your RFP to several vendors – You may think that sending many potential vendors will help you in getting the best match. However, it can also dilute the results and make it more difficult for you to narrow down the list for making a choice. Therefore, it is best to do in-depth research before sending out your RFP to around five to six vendors. It will not allow you to be overwhelmed when you actually have to conduct a detailed analysis of all the candidates. 
Do not hurry when it comes to responses – You will require at least three weeks for preparing a good software proposal. Therefore, it is best to give your vendors a time frame of here or four weeks for giving an appropriate response. Be cautious when a custom software company responds in two weeks or even less. It could mean that they did not engage in a “healthy analysis”, and just rushed with the proposal offering promises that they may not be able to keep. 

RFP is extremely important and essential when you want to proceed towards custom software development. Keeping these few factors in mind will help in improving your RFP preparation as well as your decision-making process.