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Here's Why Design and Discovery Should Come Before Your Mobile App RFP

Here’s Why Design & Discovery Should Come Before Your Mobile App RFP


Before choosing a mobile app development partner, it is important for you to understand the key aspects that surround the vision of your mobile app project. These aspects can include business objectives, proposed timeline, and budget. The best way to share the details of your project with potential vendors is to draft a mobile app Request For Proposal (RFP). Drawing out an in-depth RFP will help you and your team evaluate vendor responses and choose the best partner for your mobile app project.


However, it’s common for companies sourcing vendors to submit incomplete RFPs that lack detail and fail to acknowledge the entire scope of the project. Ultimately, if an RFP poses more questions than it answers, your company runs the risk of receiving low bids from vendors who promise to deliver on budget, but as additional work that wasn’t originally covered in the RFP arises, present higher costs. It is also possible that some vendors may decide not to bid at all.


This is where a Design and Discovery session can help. Design and Discovery sessions allow companies to not only learn about their business and markets, but also develop a clear-cut concept and plan for their product. Gaining the knowledge and insight that is provided during a Design and Discovery will ultimately lead to a more detailed RFP,  which in turn will lead to a higher probability of your company finding the vendor that best suits your project.


Below we outline key aspects that are required in an RFP and how insights gained from a Design and Discovery can help to add detail and focus to this document.


To get started, download a copy of our Mobile App RFP template to wrap your head around what information is required for this document.


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Why You Need a Mobile App RFP

An RFP communicates the requirements of your product. If vendors misunderstand these requirements, they may not be able to meet your needs. It is essential to communicate what you need accurately, so your development partner can correctly interpret your goals and expectations. The more details you provide, the more likely you are to get proposals that convey the extent of vendor capabilities, include a more accurate timeline, and price estimations.


To write the best possible RFP, you need to have a thorough understanding of what you’re trying to develop, what you can accomplish within your proposed timeline, and the full extent of services your budget covers. Writing an RFP without accurate information can create problems down the line.


So what is included in an RFP?  The document you downloaded at the beginning of this article goes in-depth on exactly what is needed. To give a brief overview, a good RFP should contain at the very least an executive summary, an overview of company information, project scope, timeline and budget. What’s ironic is those essential aspects are often the ones neglected, simply because companies don’t have a clear understanding of these details.

What You’ll Get From Design & Discovery

The Design and Discovery phase of a project helps you and your stakeholders establish goals for your mobile app and understand the business outcomes you aim to achieve. At Clearbridge Mobile, we tackle four key areas of product discovery: product strategy, product definition, visualization, and presentation. We offer a concentrated five-day discovery process, which provides all of the information required to write an accurate and transparent mobile app RFP.


Participating in a Design and Discovery gives you a chance to talk to development experts and ask questions to clarify your RFP. During this process, you can discuss the full breadth of services you require.  


At the end of a Design and Discovery, Clearbridge Mobile will package all of your product artifacts for delivery, which include vital product feature documents, user journeys, wireframes, mockups, and a clickable app prototype. All of these artifacts are incredibly helpful when it comes to writing a well-articulated mobile RFP.


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How to Use Design & Discovery to Write a Mobile App RFP

Once you’ve collected all of the information from your Design and Discovery session, it is important to translate those insights into an RFP. Here is how you can apply that key information to add detail to the document.


A large portion of the session focuses on your business itself. Understanding your business objectives, what you aim to accomplish with this product, and where you fit into a specific market plays a large role in your RFP.  Because detailed market research is conducted during a Design and Discovery on your business and competitors, you receive the detailed information you need to provide a high-level company overview which will allow vendors to tailor the product to your business and market accordingly. Knowing your market will also allow you to make important decisions such as choosing, if not both, which platform to release your project on. Platform choice, for example, has a direct impact on key RFP elements such as timeline and budget.


As mentioned above, a Design and Discovery session at Clearbridge will provide you with user journeys, wireframes and mockups. These items will allow you to define user experience deliverables, clarify your ideas, and ultimately leave you with a better understanding of how your target audience will interact with your mobile app. This information is vital to thoroughly define the functionality of your product as well as getting a better understanding of the project scope. As the app development price tag can vary significantly from project to project depending on scope and complexity, having a well-established idea of what features you want to include, and what you are ultimately trying to achieve will give everyone involved a better understanding of your budget, leading to better, more accurate vendor bids.

Bottom Line

A mobile app RFP is necessary for defining your app project and selecting the right vendor to get the job done. Don’t leave your mobile app requirements open to interpretation; talk to us today to learn more about Design and Discovery and how it can help you write an amazing RFP.


Product Design and Discovery Session



Chris Ciligot
Chris Ciligot