How to Write an RFP for Software Development

How to Write an RFP for Software Development

02 December 2022 • 8 min read

Have a software idea? Great, now you need a reliable partner to develop it. One way to find the right IT firm is to create a detailed software RFP or a request for a proposal. This document is a must to have your project running smoothly, and here’s why.

Companies lose an average of $725,000 in annual revenue due to poorly drafted RFPs. Not only do they lose money, but their software development process is often far from the desired result and takes longer than expected.

You certainly wouldn’t want something like this to happen to your project. That’s why it is worth paying close attention to your software development RFP. But what exactly is this document, and how can it benefit you?

Learn about how to prepare RFP for IT projects and more in today’s article. Softermii will guide you through this process by leveraging its eight-year experience in software development. Find a comprehensive RFP template in this post as well.

What Is an RFP in Software Development?

A software project RFP is a document you prepare before choosing a vendor to develop your product. This paper includes a comprehensive description of your project, such as its goals, scope of work, expected deliverables, etc.

A detailed request for a proposal provides many benefits for your project and the company as a whole. In particular, these are the following advantages:

  • Development process transparency thanks to clear requirements
  • Strict fulfillment of all your project’s requirements
  • Reduced risks associated with the product creation process and vendor selection
  • The opportunity to find the perfect software development company for your project
  • Saved time and resources

How does it all work? You draft an RFP and send it to potential candidates for your software product development. Interested vendors study this document and tell you whether they can implement your project. Next, you choose the most suitable development company for you.

Sample RFP for Software Development

Well, let’s get straight to the point. Take a look at an RFP template for software development. You can use it as a sample to describe your project and company to find the best vendor to tackle your tasks.

Request for Proposal

Software development RFP

Usually, your RFP starts with the name of your company and is followed by:

Project Overview

Briefly describe your project to help potential IT vendors better understand the software product they will be developing. A few meaningful sentences are enough for this section.

Company Description

Provide a concise description of your business. Here it’s worth mentioning in which industry you work, what you offer to end customers, your position in the market, and your target audience.

Project Goals

Describe what goals your project should fulfill.

Project Scope

This section is the most critical for IT experts, as this is where you describe the technical requirements for your project.

Specifically, you need to list the software infrastructure requirements, functional design, and software development stages and the prerequisites for each. It’s also vital to specify the requirements for project management (PM tools and preferred methodologies) and clarify the tasks for QA specialists.

Timeline for Response

In this section, you need to define the deadlines by which bidders must respond to you.

Budget Restrictions

Here, clarify what budget you are laying down for software development and which points are negotiable.

Bid Structure and Requirements

In this section, indicate what information the vendor must provide to get on the shortlist. List all the details about the service provider that are relevant for you to know.

Contact Information

Finally, share your contact information so candidates can reach out to you with queries and their proposals.

Before Drafting a Software Development RFP

Even with a software project RFP template at your fingertips, you still need to know how to approach the process of creating it correctly. Before writing your request for proposal, here are some considerations:

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Attract People Experienced in the RFP Creation

Who can help you best, if not those who already have experience creating RFPs? That’s it. Engage experts in writing this document, and be confident you won’t miss any details.

Attract Technical Specialists

To find a reliable IT vendor, you still need tech specialists. Approach at least one expert with the idea of your project to help you with the technical details. If you’re looking for one, Softermii has got your back. Our team can not only compile RFPs but develop software for you.

Discuss Everything with Your Stakeholders and Employees

Of course, you should also consult with stakeholders and employees before creating a software project RFP. That’s important since it’s your staff who know your business best.

How to Write an RFP for Software Development?

Once you’ve discussed all the details with stakeholders, employees, technical experts, and experts in RFP writing, it’s time to start creating this document directly. Let’s consider this process step by step using our template as an example.

1. Project Overview

This section should contain everything and at once about your project, but at the same time, be concise. It would be good to make the first passage of the RFP as clear and catchy as possible. In particular, tell vendors about the essence of your project, what stage it is at, its goals, and the challenges you want to solve.

Example

JaneDoe Company is looking for an IT provider to develop a video conferencing platform in the healthcare industry. We want to create an app that connects patients with doctors in real-time anywhere on the planet.

2. Company Description

Next, you need to describe your business. Your mission, industry, products, and services should all be in this section.

Example

JaneDoe Company is a US-based private hospital that actively introduces innovations in medicine. Founded in 2020, we quickly integrated an EHR system and launched our app for doctor appointments. Now we aim to make the interaction between patients and doctors even easier thanks to a custom video conferencing platform.

3. Project Goals

In this section, you talk about the goals of your software project.

Example:

  • Ensuring doctor-patient interaction in real-time
  • Providing a secure platform with a high level of protection against hacking and data leakage
  • Simple doctor appointment management
  • Built-in payment system

4. Project Scope

Here you need to describe the technical specifications of your project and its timelines in as much detail as possible.

Example:

1. Software infrastructure requirements and tech stack:

  • ASP.NET Core
  • React.JS
  • PostgreSQL
  • WebRTC
  • Swift
  • Kotlin

2. Functional design:

  • Video and audio calls
  • Appointment scheduling
  • EHR
  • Document sharing
  • Payments
  • Data encryption

3. Project stages:

Project stage

Description

Timeline

Deliverables

Stage 1. Software infrastructure development

Virtual environment configuration, database installation…

[Number of hours]

A project is ready for frontend and backend development.

Stage 2. Features implementation

Video and audio calls

Video and audio calls;
Appointment scheduling;
EHR;
Document Sharing;
Payment Implementation;
Data encryption.

[Number of hours]

Needed features are executed and implemented

Stage 3.

Quality Assurance

[Number of hours]

Solution is manually or automatically tested; all the bugs are documented and removed.

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4. Project management:

  • Project management methodology of your choice
  • Project management tools of your choice
  • Etc.

5. Testing and QA:

  • Manual testing
  • Automated testing
  • Etc.

5. Timeline for Response

As you remember, here you provide the deadline for accepting applications from bidders.

Example

We accept proposals from bidders according to this schedule:

Stage

Deadline

Accepting bids

November 20th, 2022

Reviewing bids

December 20th, 2022

Shortlisting candidates

January 10th, 2023

Final interviews

January 20th, 2023

IT vendor selection

January 25th, 2023

Project start

January 30th, 2023

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6. Budget Restrictions

Now you have to talk about your budget.

Example:

The project’s budget is from $30,000 to $40,000. However, we can discuss a different price if you justify your position. In addition, we offer monthly payments.

7. Bid Structure and Requirements

In this section, list all the requirements for candidates.

Example:

We’ll review the bids containing the following details:

  • Company name and description
  • Company location and work mode
  • Suggested team for this project (the number of developers, designers, etc.)
  • Approximate product dev process description with time and cost breakdown
  • Company’s suggestions for software improvements and possible limitations
  • References

8. Contact Information

Here you should indicate your contact info.

Example:

If you have any queries about the project or would like to send us a proposal, contact us using the following details:

Contact person: Jane Doe

E-mail: [email protected]

That is the rough RFP format for software projects. However, you can provide more details about your project or modify sections of the document to suit your needs.

Innovations for the RFP in 2022–2023

Regarding how to write RFP for software development, there are generally no significant changes for 2022 and 2023. You have a typical structure of this document and follow it step by step. The only thing that will make your RFP special is the content you put into it.

However, one of the latest trends we have noticed is the desire of companies to stand out from the crowd by showing well-thought-out RFPs. Nowadays, such documents are increasingly brief but, at the same time, rich in content.

Final Thoughts

The software development request for proposal is a critical document to streamline the work on your project. It’s also helpful for choosing the best IT company to do the dev job.

We hope today’s tips on how to write an RFP for software development will help you get a perfect vendor. If you’re already looking for one or want someone to assist you in compiling this document, Softermii has got your back. Start leveraging our extensive software development expertise by just contacting our team.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between an RFI, RFQ, and RFP?

  • RFI or request for information generally contains the project description and goals, plus questions to the IT vendor. Its purpose is to help you better understand your service provider experience.
  • RFQ or request for quote contains technical project requirements along with design specifications. Its purpose is to help you estimate your software cost.
  • RFP or request for proposal contains all the info above.

What are the features of a good request for proposal for software development?

Such a document sets out a clear vision of your business and project now and its future perspectives. It is concise but, at the same time, detailed.

Are there any differences in the IT outsourcing RFP template?

In general, there is no difference in the structure of the document. You can specify the desired cooperation model with the IT vendor in your RFP, whether outsourcing or in-house work mode.

What should be a successful response to a request for proposal software development?

A successful response from a vendor is one that primarily meets the requirements you specified in your RFP. For example, you indicate that only those bidders who provide team extension services can contact you. If a candidate who does not offer such services reaches out to you, this is an irrelevant response.

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