It is common for organizations to outsource their web development requirements. To meet that end, companies make use of the Request for Proposal. This document is part of a very standard procedure that enables organizations to scout the options that the market provides. It does so by enabling vendors to know about the company’s expectations, and the work they are signing up for. A universally accepted standard dictates the creation of this document. However, you’re free to make tweaks according to the specificities that your project demands.
Regardless, let us take you through some of the essential elements that lead to the creation of a great website RFP:-
1. Project Details:- This is more of an introductory section for the vendors. Typically, you’ll detail the work that your organization does, and your agenda behind the proposed project. Don’t dwell too much on organizational details as you’ll describe them in a better manner in later segments of the RFP.
2. Organizational Details:- The elements that we are listing here do not follow any chronology. Thus, feel free to add information about your organization at any given point in the RFP. But, keeping it in the initial stages will help you maintain a level pace for the sections that detail core project requirements. In this part of the RFP, mention your company’s motto, and its core principles. This will help organizations that hold similar values to send an appropriate RFP response.
3. Intended Outcomes:- This is an integral part of the RFP process as it gives vendors a peep into your expectations. You should also detail the target audience of your website, and the conversions you intend on making. Try to tie everything into a nice timeline so that you assign tangible deadlines to the goals mentioned here. You can also create a separate section in the RFP document where you chart out a potential project completion timeline. Regardless, mention what you need the vendors to do for you. If you’re expecting a firm to rebuild your website, mention that here. If you want to start afresh, flesh out a fair amount of what you’re hoping to create.
4. Architectural Map of your Website:- Companies not only update their websites for aesthetic reasons but also to improve functionality. A well-planned sitemap can help in improving functionality to a great degree. Thus, try to include a sitemap that you think aligns with your company’s content strategy. A sitemap can be a great blueprint for the vendor you partner with. It can help them greatly with their RFP response.
5. Description of Deliverables:- This section also helps web-development firms in assessing what your requirements are. If you don’t need any front-end work to be done, mention it. But, if you are expecting services like copywriting and graphic design along with core web-design, this is the place to mention it. A website is an amalgamation of multiple gears that work in synergy to deliver a final product. It is more than just lines of code that put your company’s presence on the internet. Implementation of finer tasks like search engine optimization, cross-device functionality, quality testing, and more contributes to the richness of a website. If you are expecting those services to be delivered, make sure you mention them here.
6. Project Cycle:- Once you mention a list of deliverables, it is advisable to attach a timeline to them in the subsequent section of the RFP. Through charting out a project cycle, you also give potential vendors a look into how quickly you expect the work to be done. This also helps you from fending off unnecessary tenderers who may create an overcrowded pool of applicants. All in all, a project timeline helps the seller as well as the vendor in saving some valuable time and effort.
7. Financial Considerations:- When you are creating an RFP, the cost associated with your proposed project is one of the most important variables. You not only need to factor for the capital you’ll be spending on the acquisition of resources, but also the finances linked with the acquisition of sufficient manpower. For instance, you need to plan out how many developers you need for the deployment of your website. Your financial considerations will depend on some of the other factors mentioned in the RFP. Likewise, the other details will experience dependency on the company’s budget. At your end, you need to elucidate the variables detailed in the RFP at the project definition stage. Make sure that you’re not expanding on important variables at the last-minute. The goal for RFP creation is to create it in a way that makes it accessible and useful for vendors. Thus, you’re supposed to know your variables beforehand.
8. Relationship post project completion:- In this section of the RFP, mention if you want to keep the partnering firm on a retainer basis or not. Furthermore, note that a website requires ongoing support to ensure proper functionality. The code requires updates from time-to-time. Bugs require diagnosis and fixing. Thus, figure out if you want ongoing support from the same firm that serves your web-development needs, or do you want another entity to manage support. If your organization’s technical team is capable of handling support on its own, you may choose to skip this section.
9. Personnel Details:- In this segment of the Request for Proposal, you write about the personnel from your company who will be overseeing the collaboration throughout the project cycle. Typically, the team working on the RFP process is the one that handles the project until its completion. Regardless, you need to mention who the point-of-contact will be from your end. Likewise, you can expect to receive similar information in the RFP response of tenderers.
10. Selection Criteria:- This part of the RFP process will require you to describe the scoring system that you’ll use to determine the winning tenderer. It significantly helps vendors in deciding how to craft their proposals. Simply put, it is one of the checks and balances in the RFP document that helps you connect with tenderers who are the right fit for your organization.
11. Format/Schedule for Bid Submissions:- In most RFPs, this will be the final section of the document. In here, you’ll describe how you want tenderers to submit their applications. You’ll also be required to attest a last-date for application submission.
An efficient RFP document contains most of the elements listed above. However, at the end of the day, you have the control to tailor the document according to your organization’s needs. Just make sure that you take the essence of a universally accepted RFP format, and customize it further. In other words, don’t deviate from the format too much.
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