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RFPs: Full Guide to Crafting an Amazing RFP for your Custom Software Needs


The Request for Proposal (RFP) is a critical tool that can help you find the best vendor partner to meet your organization’s needs. A good RFP will help you do this by providing clear, specific requirements and parameters to guide vendors through the process of submitting proposals. But what exactly makes up a good RFP? In this article, we’ll walk through the elements of crafting an amazing RFP from start to finish, including why it matters and how to create one that delivers value for both you and your potential partners.

Why write an RFP?

An RFP is a great way to get the best value for your money. It’s also an opportunity to make sure that you have all the information you need before starting a project so that you don’t waste time with vendors who are not right for you.

Writing an RFP will also help ensure that your vendor understands exactly what they need to do and how long it will take them, which makes everyone happier in the long run!

How to create a good RFP

An RFP (request for proposal) is a document that you send out to potential vendors, who then submit their proposals. The goal of an RFP is to ensure that you receive quality bids and have all the information you need to make an informed decision about which company will be best suited for your project.

An RFP should include:

  • A description of your needs and goals for the project (what do you want to be done?)
  • Any special requirements or limitations (what can’t be done?)
  • Any additional information that might help vendors better understand what they’re getting into (how long will this take? How much money am I willing to spend?)

BONUS TIP: At Codelation, we do our best to also include 2-3 high-level mockups or wireframes.  We want to keep all stakeholders clear on the product’s scope. As such we try to answer questions like ‘What should this product or feature look like?’ and ‘How does the end-user interact with this product?’ While these are not typical deliverables for an RFP, these can really help ensure that everyone is informed. 

Prioritize the requirements.

The next step is to prioritize the requirements. You can do this in a number of ways, but here are some common approaches:

  • Start with Business Value. What’s the business value associated with each requirement? Is it critical for your organization to have this feature, or would it be nice to have it?
  • Look at the Cost. How much does each requirement cost (in time and money)? This can include internal costs like developer salaries or external costs such as third-party services required by the feature.
  • Mitigate Risk associated with building the product; complexity involved in implementing it; time required for implementation

Keep it short, sweet, and simple.

Keep the document short and focused on only what is needed for the company to make its decision about which vendor they want to work with.

  • Keep it short, sweet, and simple.
  • Use bullet points when possible. Bullet points can help you condense your content into a readable format that’s easier for the reader to digest. They also help organize your thoughts in a more structured way than just writing paragraphs of text; this will make it easier for you to keep track of what needs to be said, which makes editing easier later on if necessary.
  • Don’t be afraid to use graphs or diagrams if they’re helpful in illustrating something important about the project at hand (like how many people will benefit from using your app). You don’t have to include these things if they aren’t necessary, but sometimes they can really add value by showing information visually rather than just mentioning it in words alone!

Understand what role you are playing in the RFP process.

It’s important to understand what role you are playing in the RFP process. As a buyer, you have three main roles:

  • You are the decision maker – meaning you will make decisions based on information gathered through the RFP process and ultimately decide which vendor(s) will be awarded a contract.
  • You’re also the customer – meaning that any vendors who submit proposals need to understand how their product or service meets your needs as well as its value proposition for your organization.
  • Finally, you are responsible for living with any results from making this decision; therefore it’s essential that all aspects of an RFP are considered carefully before any final selection is made.”

Use clear language and avoid jargon.

RFPs are often written in a confusing and difficult-to-understand way. They’re intended for the people who will read them, but they’re not written for those people. They’re written for the people who wrote them.

Jargon is the enemy of clear communication. It can make something simple seem complicated and difficult. And it’s not just a matter of what words you choose; it also matters how you use them. Here are some tips for keeping jargon out of your RFPs:

  • Read it aloud to yourself or someone else, preferably a group of people
  • Use simple language. Don’t assume that the reader knows what you are talking about!
  • Be conversational in tone, but not overly informal (e.g., don’t use slang or swear words).

If you’re writing an RFP, try reading it aloud to yourself or someone else. If it doesn’t sound right when spoken, then it won’t sound right when read by someone else — which means they won’t respond.

Understand your users’ needs.

A lot of companies have a tendency to jump right into the solution. They’re so excited about their product and how it will solve all their user’s problems, they forget that they need to understand the problem first.

By understanding what your users’ needs are, you can ensure that your product will actually be helpful for them. You don’t want to waste time building something nobody wants!

Select the right vendor partners for your organization’s needs.

When it comes to selecting the right vendor partners, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, make sure that you are selecting vendors with the right experience and expertise for your organization’s needs. Second, make sure that you select vendors who have been vetted by other organizations in your industry as reputable and trustworthy. Finally, keep in mind that it may take some time before you find the perfect partner(s) for your business projects – but once you do find them they’ll be worth every second spent searching!

Be open-minded about partnering with multiple vendors to get the most value from the process.

When you’re writing your RFP, don’t be afraid to consider multiple vendors for the project. One of the best things about this process is that it gives you a chance to identify the best vendor for your organization’s needs–and if there’s more than one option, why not use them all? You want to get as much value out of this process as possible; after all, it takes time and resources away from other projects that could benefit from them more directly.

Be open-minded about partnering with multiple vendors!

Let’s recap.

To sum up, RFPs are a great way to get the most out of your technology investments. They can be complex and time-consuming, but they don’t have to be! It’s important to remember that you’re not alone in this process–there are lots of people out there who want to help make your RFP a success. If you follow these tips and take advantage of some helpful resources like our checklist above, then we guarantee that when it comes time for us at Codelation to bid on your project we’ll have everything covered from start (developing requirements) all the way through to finish (delivering a final product).

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