How to Write a Great Mobile RFP

You may be surprised how often companies are finding outsourcing of mobile app development confusing. You bet! It is easy to get lost in all the abundance of contractors, presented by a huge variety of partners – from an individual freelance specialist to the team of hundreds of people. Who of them will be able to address your project properly and meet all the requirements? Stop guessing. Let them show themselves and then choose the best one. This door is opened with the key called the mobile app development RFP (Request for Proposal).

Here at Eastern Peak Software we often deal with RFPs for mobile application development. Every week we fill out mobile RFP or help other companies to create their own ones. That’s why we decided to share our expertise and practices with you and present the scheme, according to which successful mobile RFP may be created.

Below you will find mobile app proposal template, which will help you structure all project requirements and finally get the desired proposal from app development company.

Part I of mobile RFP – Is completed by the company

1. Summary

In this section of RFP for mobile application development you need to provide information which would be briefly depicted, but which would be enough for the responders to understand what is required. So describe what’s the goal of this document and what is required from the vendor.

2. Company Information

Provide a high level overview of your company. Describe your business problem, proposed solution, and specify your target audience.

Business problem: Which problem is the company trying to solve? What are its products and services?

Solutions Considered: Based on which strategy or marketing research does it operate? Which solutions are currently considered acceptable, and why?

Leadership: Who makes decisions and leads the project? Mention all the stakeholders and level of their influence. Specify who is going to lead the project on a daily basis.

3. Project description

In this part of mobile app development RFP you need to provide as much information as you can about your project. Mention whether supposed solution is an app for mobile solely, or it is the part of other, vaster project.

Functionality: Depict the solution you want to be developed (e.g., “iOS-based information portal with news dedicated to technologic innovations”). Specify desired operating systems and devices, and explain your choice. Specify key features and functions of the future app. Are you looking up to existing applications and their features? Attach the screens of your future app UI, if available, to better illustrate your idea. Mention whether it is your final decision or you would still be thinking over other ideas, and be ready to receive suggestions from the responders.

Integration: Specify data sources / back end systems the mobile applications will be interfacing with, and whether they exist at the moment. If they do, give the agencies access to review APIs. If they don’t, let them know when it will be done.

4. Project Scope Requirements

Services. Which services do you require? Development / Consulting / Design and UI / Quality assurance and testing / all of them?

Platforms and devices. Which platform the solution has to be built on? iOS / Android / Blackberry / Windows / Other? What type of device should the solution be developed for? Smartphone / Desktop / Tablet / TV / All?

Specific features. E.g. make sure to specify if you’d like to have push notifications or to gather data about your users, what kind of data it would be, etc.

Additional details. The more details you provide about the project, the more precise the time and budget estimation will be.

5. Budget

While composing a mobile app development RFP, note that budget range may vary greatly. It is influenced by complexity of the project and the expertise of the contractor. However, we highly recommend you being open by the budget, since it will funnel responses from the applicants. You will be able to take a decision more quickly, and that choice would have more chances to hit bingo.

6. Project Timelines

Decide when the project should be launched. Estimate any outside dependencies that may influence the release date from your side.

7. Proposal timelines and final decision

Besides, establish the time frames for in-process stages, like initial RFP distribution, submission respondents’ questions and replies to them and final decision about the winning bidder. Also, decide how you will choose among the applicants and how you will rank the criteria.

Part II of mobile RFP – Is completed by vendor

Your future agency should be able to provide you with smart solution of your problems, great design options and fast and stable experience. At the same time, it should fall within the budget and timeframes. Below is the list of questions, which will help you to make a comparison between the contractors.

8. Mobile agency overview

History: What’s the company’s mission? How long has the company been in business?

Speciality: What makes the company special and differentiates it from its competitors? Why and at which points is it better than its competitors?

Employees: What’s the size of your company? How many people work in development, design, quality assurance and project management teams? Where are the teams located? Will we collaborate with freelancers or subcontractors?

Will we be able to communicate with designers, developers or quality assistance specialists directly? Which approaches do you operate to ensure privacy, security of code and high quality of services?

Communication: How will communication be handled on a daily basis? Which tools will we use?

References: Please provide 2-3 references of similar projects.

Services that are offered: Please list the services your company offers (development, consulting, design, QA) and give short description to each of them.

Keep in mind: When choosing mobile app development company, make sure ‘the winner’ will be able to provide supporting services once you need them. For example, let’s take a look at the app submission to the App Store. Clearly, it is important to optimize at least your app description and keywords so that your app will be easy to find. You can neither demand marketing skills from developers nor hire additional specialist to submit your app (since it’s a matter of couple of hours). On the other hand, when you know the company has required specialists in their team, this is not your headache any longer.

Portfolio and awards: Please provide the links and brief description to the top mobile projects performed by you, mentioning the problems you solved. Also, mention top awards you received.

Keep in mind: It is widely believed that choosing the company that has similar to ones projects is the best option. However, it is even better to pay attention to the projects executed for the similar industry or those that offer similar business model. This will give you both wider choice and ability to get the candidate who can bring fresh ideas and practices from other fields. For example, when creating RFP for a taxi app, don’t look specifically for examples of taxi apps the company did but rather check the navigation or crowd economy work examples.

Approaches to development lifecycle: What are the company’s approaches to development and why did they choose such approaches? Who owns the code? Which code best practices are followed? What do you consider to be major risks and what will define success of the project?

Keep in mind: Make sure the chosen company can work with the project management process established in your onsite company. If you don’t have an established approach, be sure to spend some time and review the most efficient project management approached when working with a remote team.

9. Proposal

Here you need to ensure the company understands your needs, it is interested in working over the solution and is able to meet budget and timelines.

Scope of the project and recommendations: What do you think about the concept of our project? What would you recommend in this regards?

Work examples: Please show us examples of your previous work for each key functionalities of the project.

Project Timeline: Please give a detailed project timelines and timeframes for initial launch.

Budget: Please propose an estimated fixed budget and pricing model.

Maintenance and support: Remember that mobile projects require constant analysis and frequent improvement. It’s not that you created a site or app and forgot about it for six months. That’s why it is essential to ensure further assistance for your solution. How will analytics be used for continuous improvement? Which budget is implied for further assistance? What are support plans in case of breakdowns? You may adjust this mobile app proposal template to your needs and create the best RFP for your app.

Here at Eastern Peak we highly value your business ideas and would love to offer you the most effective solutions. We will be glad to assist you with composing a great mobile app development RFP that will meet all your requirements and help you reach your goals. Feel free to contact us and learn what we can do for you.