Free Software RFP Template - Quick Way to an Effective RFP

Writing a Request for Proposal for software development doesn’t have to be long and boring. Devote your time to filling out the effective and versatile template. Send it to chosen dev shops with little or no changes and be sure that they will get all the information to make a reasonable bid.

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TL;DR

Introduction

How to write an RFP?

Your goal: enable chosen dev shops to submit tangible and the most accurate bids

To do that, they need to understand your exact needs, assess if they are able to meet them, and if yes, provide accurate information in an easy-to-compare way.

A well-written RFP saves you time and distress, and provides an answer which vendor will actually be your best choice.

With that goal in mind, pick one software RFP template from the following:

  1. Long template for an elaborate RFP - great for large enterprises, packed with formal details.
  2. Short template for a simple but sufficient RFP - a more condensed template with just enough information for a software house to grasp your needs and respond accurately.

Plus, since there are some traps on the way, each template section is accompanied with corresponding tips.

Software RFP template - The elaborate version

This template is more formal and packed with many details. It will do great for bigger companies and enterprises.

Copy-paste the text below and change it however you need to.

<span class="colorbox1" fs-test-element="box1"><h3>REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL</h3><p>By [Company name]</p><h4>1. Introduction</h4><p>Provide a short description of your project (1 to 3 sentences will be enough) to formulate its main idea. Potential contractors should be able to understand a general idea behind a project and initially assess if they can take it on.</p><h4>2. Company description</h4><p>Provide a short introduction about your company. You can answer the following questions:</p><ul><li>What does your company do?</li><li>Who is your target audience?</li><li>What’s your current position on the market?</li><li>What is your company’s mission as it relates to this project?</li><li>What is your experience when it comes to software development - have you ever worked with a software house?</li></ul><h4>3. Project overview</h4><p>Provide a description of your project along with needed details about what's been already done and what are the challenges.</p><ul><li>Short description of a product.</li><li>Technology stack.</li><li>The target audience of the product.</li><li>Current state - what has been accomplished (backlog, design, PoC).</li><li>Flaws that exist in the current solution.</li><li>Description of the challenges a new provider will face and current problems.</li><li>Plans for the nearest future - what needs to be done in the very beginning.</li><li>Possible roadblocks (e.g., an outdated tech stack).</li></ul><h4>4. Further project goals</h4><p>List the goals you’d like to accomplish with this project and a business problem you’d like to solve.</p><ul><li>Business problem to solve.</li><li>Company goal 1.</li><li>Company goal 2.</li></ul><h4>5. Project scope and deliverables</h4><p>List the technical requirements of the project, expectations of partners, and project stages you’d like to accomplish.</p><ul><li>Expectations of partners</li><li>The need for signing an NDA</li><li>Infrastructure requirements</li><ul><li>Good security practices</li><li>Anti-malware software installed</li><li>A dependable data security system</li></ul><li>Project management</li><ul><li>Project management tools</li><li>Communication methods</li><li>Communication schedule</li><li>Development platforms</li><li>Methodology (Scrum, Kanban, Lean)</li><li>Project documentation</li></ul><li>Testing and QA</li><ul><li>Testing methods</li><li>Testing tools</li><li>Communication requirements</li></ul><li>Functional design</li><ul><li>UX</li><li>UI</li><li>Graphic design</li></ul><li>Technical requirements</li><ul><li>Current tech stack</li><li>Planned changes in tech stack (if needed)</li></ul><li>Experts needed</li><ul><li>Information about required team structure</li><li>Subject matter experts</li><li>UI/UX designers</li><li>Technical specialists</li><li>Security experts</li></ul><li>Scope and allocation of responsibilities (who will take care of infrastructure, design, backlog, delivery)</li><li>You can also add user stories and wireframes</li></ul><h4>6. Project timeframe</h4><p>Present project timeline and deliverable schedule, along with the planned project stages.</p><h4>7. Budget constraints</h4><p>Give information about your budget.</p><h4>8. Timeline for response</h4><p>Give information about the timeline of the process of choosing vendors.</p><ul><li>RFP release date.</li><li>Deadline for submitting an intention to bid.</li><li>Date range for interviews or receiving preliminary questions.</li><li>Deadlines for submitting formal RFP responses.</li><li>Date for notifying final candidates.</li><li>Date range of final interviews.</li><li>Deadline for candidate selection.</li></ul><h4>9. Bid structure and requirements</h4><p>Indicate how exactly a bid should be structured, what information you require from a potential vendor, and in what order they should be presented.</p><p>For example:</p><ul><li>Short information about the previous development projects.</li><li>References.</li><li>Qualifications of team members.</li><li>Cost breakdown.</li><li>Post-development support and maintenance plan.</li><li>A vision for the final product.</li><li>The process which a vendor wants to follow.</li><li>A plan for analytics.</li></ul><p>Here you can also indicate:</p><ul><li>Questions to be answered by a candidate.</li><li>Documents to be submitted.</li></ul><h4>10. Selection criteria</h4><p>State what’s crucial for you to make a decision.</p><p>For example:</p><ul><li>Cost of software development.</li><li>The technical vision of the project.</li><li>Deadlines.</li><li>Intellectual property terms.</li></ul><h4>11. Evaluation of proposals</h4><p>Describe the process of evaluating proposals.</p><ul><li>Evaluation criteria.</li><li>Contract discussions.</li><li>Notice of award.</li></ul><h4>12. Points of contact</h4><p>Indicate contacts for your potential vendors, along with needed details (phone number, email).</p></span>

RFP software template - The simple, yet sufficient version

This template is condensed to only crucial details. It contains just enough information for a software house to understand your needs and make an accurate bid.

Copy-paste the text below and change it however you need to.

<span class="colorbox1" fs-test-element="box1"><h3>REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL</h3><p>By [Company name]</p><h4>1. Description of the company</h4><p>Brief introduction to what your company does.</p><h4>2. Project requirements</h4><p>Provide a description of your project with details about the current, potential challenges, and requirements of potential vendors.</p><p>It’s important to specify the business goal you want to achieve with this project and a problem you want to solve.</p><ul><li>Your business goal, company goal, a problem you want to solve.</li><li>Details about your product and the current state of the project.</li><li>Technology stack.</li><li>What needs to be done (design, development, infrastructure, testing).</li><li>Your requirements about project management (communication, methodology, tools).</li><li>What roles are needed (+ what is your team’s composition).</li><li>Allocation of responsibilities.</li><li>The need for signing an NDA.</li></ul><p>If you have any wireframes or user stories, include them as attachments.</p><h4>3. Project budget and timeline</h4><p>Tell what’s your budget and describe the timeline of the project. Potential partners should clearly understand the timeframe and expected results.</p><h4>4. Proposal requirements</h4><p>Clarify what you expect from the potential partner’s proposal. Which information is mandatory and what is crucial for you to make a decision. You may have some requirements regarding the form or order of the components.</p><p>Include here deadlines as well.</p><h4>5. Points of contact</h4><p>Provide a point of contact for sending a proposal.</p></span>

Best practices - what should RFP software include?

To sum up, let’s name a few best practices for writing an RFP. These are actionable tips from the representatives of the sales and tech teams who analyze RFPs on a daily basis.

Tips from the sales team

Depiction of RFP tips from a sales team.
  • Include a detailed scope of work and requirements. They don’t have to be described professionally - details are what matters. That’s what allows a software house to make the most accurate bid.
  • Deadlines are crucial. Don’t forget to add those connected to the project timeline, as well as those related to the RFP process. It helps a company to determine if they can take up your project.
  • Information about your company, the fact that you’ve already collaborated with a software development company, and your expectations towards the project management (and, e.g. communication) are also useful for an external vendor to assess if your company and theirs are a fit in this aspect.

Tips from the tech team

Depiction of RFP tips from a tech team.
  • A business problem you want to solve, current process and improvements needed, current state of the product, current tech stack, and plans for further development - these are all crucial information from the tech advisor’s point of view.
  • Avoid generic content and complicated templates. A potential vendor needs to understand your background, problem, and requirements. Focus on that.
  • Describe what you offer on your side - e.g. environment, Product Owner, designers, developers.
  • Remain open to suggestions from tech advisors, regarding tech solutions and the way of working and good practices. Stating that in the RFP will be well received.

Time to write your RFP for software projects

Don’t try to be too professional and don’t use sophisticated language. Give clear expectations. Inform transparently and understandably. State who you are and what you do. Clarify what the final proposal should be like.

Following these principles, you’ll receive answers from the vendors that can actually join your project with the most accurate bids. And you’ll get them in a form that will be easy to compare and analyze for your team.

Looking for a software development company?

Try us. A simple version of your RFP will be just enough. Feel free to send it to [email protected]. Plus, we can provide feedback, if you’d like.

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