Choosing the right development partner to work on your mobile app project requires careful planning and clear communication. Submitting a mobile app Request For Proposal (RFP) is a standard method for finding and selecting a vendor; however, if you fail to acknowledge the entire scope of the project in your RFP, you risk communicating project criteria and expectations inaccurately, making it challenging to find a suitable development partner.
Creating and distributing a mobile app RFP is an involved process. For the document to serve its purpose, you will have to include detailed information regarding your expectations for the partnership. For the best results, explicitly lay out what you’re paying the vendor for and what they are expected to deliver. Additionally, use an RFP to thoroughly communicate product requirements and the full extent of services you require.
This article will outline best practices to follow throughout the entire RFP creation process. Following these practices will ensure you effectively communicate the right information to assess vendor responses accurately. As a bonus, we’ve included a checklist that poses various questions for each requirement that will help guide you as you complete your RFP document. By going through the checklist and answering the relevant questions you’ll be able to include highly specific and detailed information that is necessary to properly vet potential vendors, setting your project up for success.
Your mobile app RFP will likely require specific insight you may not be equipped to provide on your own. For that reason, you should consider consulting with mobile subject matter experts before writing the document.
An RFP needs to include as much information as possible so vendors can propose the most accurate and valuable solution for your money. To ensure your RFP recognizes the entire scope of your project, we recommend participating in a Design and Discovery engagement to identify, prioritize, and validate all of your ideas before investing in a development company.
A Design and Discovery workshop helps businesses set product goals, clarify business intentions, and determine a long-term direction for the product. The workshop provides deliverables above and beyond the typical scope of an RFP resulting in a well-researched, in-depth proposal. Specifically, a Design and Discovery engagement provides participants with business objectives, success criteria, prioritized product features, wireframes, mockups, and a clickable app prototype. Including these deliverables in an RFP provides potential vendors with material examples of the end-to-end solution you expect, as well as insight into the core functionality of the app.
Another significant benefit of participating in a Design and Discovery before writing an RFP is the process goes beyond the mobile app itself. This process forces businesses to evaluate their project goals and determine whether or not they’re attainable.
A mistake many companies make in the RFP creation process is choosing to only focus on the app and its technical aspects. It’s rare to only need development services, and you can’t get caught emphasizing product features without looking at the entire lifecycle.
Begin by establishing what you want to build. More specifically, what platforms are you targeting and what devices are you developing the solution on? Answering these questions will determine what services you require and if services will be required throughout the project lifecycle, from consulting to quality assurance.
Back-end server development needs to be addressed in your RFP, as well. Do you have existing systems like web services or a CMS? If you do, do these systems have available APIs and documentation to access? The list goes on; do you need push notifications? Do you need analytics for your solution?
It’s also important to remember that mobile app development doesn’t end at delivery. Your mobile app RFP needs to give thoughtful consideration to maintenance and ongoing support. Your mobile app will inevitably need maintenance along the way, and your RFP should specify the level of support you’ll require from your development partner. The more detailed your RFP is, the more tailored vendor responses will be to your specific needs.
This consideration may be relatively self-explanatory, but while you write your RFP, you need to identify what will define the success of your application. A mobile app RFP is the foundation of a successful development project, and to write a comprehensive document; you need to understand what you want your app to accomplish.
Will you determine the success of your application from performance metrics, engagement metrics, or business metrics of the app? Don’t begin writing your RFP unless you know how you will measure the project’s success.
Mobile app development projects range in price dramatically. Two primary factors affect a mobile app budget:
Providing a budget for your project is essential for receiving accurate responses from vendors and setting exact expectations for your project. Including detailed project requirements and a budget in your RFP allows firms to understand exactly how they can meet your business goals.
Need help planning your budget? Talk to one of our mobile experts about how Design and Discovery will give you an accurate picture of what you’re paying for. Start a conversation.
Budget is a serious determining factor when it comes to selecting an app development partner. It’s important to make it very clear that you expect accurate communication for every factor related to cost. Check out the Definitive Guide to Mobile App Development Costs Infographic for an in-depth analysis of app budgeting benchmarks.
A mobile app RFP is a requisite for finding the right development team. However, there is a substantial amount of research that needs to take place before you begin submitting your proposals. To maximize your return on investment, it’s important to leverage the insights of mobile experts to understand mobile best practices. Design and Discovery is an invaluable planning stage for mobile app development, which clarifies the essential aspects of successful product design. Using insights from a Design and Discovery engagement will prepare you to write an in-depth RFP and ultimately, select the right vendor for your project.
Summary of your organization
State the core business problem your business is trying to solve with the mobile product
Briefly describe the desired solution a mobile product will solve
Provide a high-level overview of the company.
Describe the core business or customer problem the product needs to address.
Goals and Success Criteria
Describe the criteria, metrics, and benchmarks that will determine the success of the application.
Describe in as much detail as possible the end-to-end solution to you’re looking to develop and describe the core functionality of the app.
Who are the project decision-makers and key leaders?
Project Scope Requirements
What services do you require? Be sure to clarify if you require services throughout the entire duration of the project or only specific stages of the project.
What platforms will the solution be built for? Be sure to clarify what platform is your central priority.
Providing a budget for your project is essential for receiving accurate responses from vendors and setting exact expectations for your project. Things to consider when defining your budget:
Provide an estimated timeline in which you’d like your project completed.
Provide a due date for proposals to be submitted.