While effective software development does focus on writing code, their main goal is to provide technical solutions to problems that their clients have. If you are a client looking to onboard a software development company to help you with your competitive product idea, you should try to simplify the negotiations by writing a structured request for proposal. Let’s carve out how to do this and what you need to include.
Introduce Yourself and Your Company
Provide the software development company with a brief description of who your business is and what you do. This will help them narrow down what techniques they can use to solve or define your problem. An example of this would be: “We’re a Los Angeles-based multinational engineering firm with 50,000+ employees”.
Introduce the Problem You Need Solved
Tell the software development company about your market, the demand you fulfill in it, and how you currently satisfy it. Then list out the problem you are experiencing. For instance, if you have operational issues, you will want to list them here. An example of an operational issue is being unable to classify and handle digital records effectively. Another operational issue could be issues tracking and handling the workflow of employees.
Propose Your Solution
If you have an idea on how to solve the problem, list it out in this section. For example, using web and mobile applications to digitally file and store records in one place is a potential solution to the problem above.
Propose What is Needed for the Solution to be Successful
It is important to describe the business features you feel are critical to your company, but to not mistake them as vital components. The software development company may find that these features are not necessary or may come up to a better solution. Other features may become more prevalent which were initially left out of your proposal.
Why give features at all then?
These show the development team how these features work into your proposed solution and gives them a starting point to work with. Examples of features that an engineering company may consider critical upfront are: detailed filing and quick retrieval of drafts and other supporting documents.
Outline Any General Constraints
Be sure to provide any constraints you face such as budget, time, and technological. For instance maybe your company has a specific budget set in stone for the solution, it needs to be implemented by a certain date, or you don’t have access to certain tech that would facilitate the solution you proposed.
Outline Any Specific Constraints
Include any requirements specific to your company, even if they seem obvious. This will avoid delays and misunderstandings. For example, an engineering company may be accustomed to using a specific program that is not compatible with certain filing systems, and may require accommodations.
Additional Points to Consider
Make sure to include additional information that may help the software development company come up with a solution for you.
- Measured metrics/analytics that are specific to what you need.
- Scope of what you need the software company to do.
- What would make cooperation successful.
- If a preliminary analysis and consultation is required.
- If multiple solution alternatives are wanted.
- What end goal would be satisfactory.
Once your request for proposal is proofread and sent off to the software development company, expect it to be handled by several individuals. Expect to receive several clarifying phone calls about your requirements, metrics, features, and intended solution before you are given a detailed estimate on what the project would cost. If you agree to work with the company from here on out, you may be asked to sign a service agreement which stays in effect until the project has ended and it has been handed off to you.
A well-prepared RFP is crucial when encountering a decision-making process. It makes it easier for you and your potential supplier to create a long-term business plan. To know more about how to write a proposal request to a software development company, please contact our experts.