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What is RFP Analysis?

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Looking for more information on RFP analysis? Click to learn more about this crucial point in project management and how you can apply them to your projects.

An RFP analysis is a process of evaluating responses to a request for proposal (RFP). During the evaluation, you’d determine feasibility based on criteria ranging from cost to technical capabilities.

This type of analysis is viable in many industries. However, it’s most commonly associated with the software development industry.

Here, we’ll introduce you to RFPs and how they work. We’ll also review why they’re essential for businesses looking at software developers.

To learn more about what an RFP analysis is and how to build an RFP, keep reading.

What Is an RFP?

A request for proposal is the first step in software development. It’s essential for helping to choose the right vendor for your project.

A great RFP will outline the specifics of your company and project. It will provide detailed requirements for the software that you need to develop. It will also include important timelines for deliverables.

It’s vital to develop an RFP with a well-thought-out structure. By doing so, you’ll compel potential candidates to submit informative bids.

The RFP process can prove overwhelming. It’s essential to build a strategic plan to make the process go as smoothly as possible.

Here, you’ll learn a standardized structure for creating an RFP. Once you receive bids, you’ll have the information that you need to make a thorough RFP analysis.

It’s important to stress the importance of a detailed and comprehensive request for a proposal. This kind of RFP will help vendors send the kind of request for proposal response that you’re looking for as fast as possible. With this in mind, you may wonder how to write an RFP.

Elements of an RFP

There are several elements that your RFP should contain. These elements include:

• Executive project summary/company overview

• Scope of services/deliverables

• Project management

• Infrastructure

• Functional design

• Product requirements

• Development

• Quality assurance

• Product management

A well-structured RFP creates a common vocabulary for all steps of the bidding process.

It will define communication channels. It will also highlight your expectations.

More importantly, your RFP should establish clear roles and responsibilities for your team members. These team members might include designers, developers, project managers, and other stakeholders.

Your well-structured RFP will also provide a clear definition of what counts as done for each step of the project. It will also help you to prevent scope creep.

More importantly, your RFP will help you keep your projects moving forward. It will enable you to formalize time-killing tasks, such as bug-reporting feature requests and updates.

RFP Process Flow

The software development plan is a vital part of your RFP. Without one, your project may succumb to bottlenecks and extended delays.

You may even receive a product of subpar quality. Even worse, your project may fail altogether without proper planning.

Without a clear RFP, your developers won’t have a clear understanding of what you need them to make. Meanwhile, your project managers will have no idea whether a project is moving forward as it should.

Also, you’ll have no way to keep track of your budget unless you create one. In other words, if you don’t establish where you’re going, you have no way to get there.

RFP Process Steps

There are seven steps that you want to cover in your RFP. These steps are part of the software development lifecycle (SDLC). The seven stages are:

1. Analysis and planning

2. Requirements

3. Design and prototyping

4. Software development

5. Testing

6. Deployment

7. Maintenance and updates

With any software development project, these steps are similar. However, you might go through the steps in a different order.

The ordering of the steps will depend on your needs. It will also vary depending on your goals.

What’s more, the size of your team will affect the order of the steps. For instance, you might combine or duplicate some steps. Alternatively, you might go through some of the steps at the same time.

In either case, you’ll need a formal software development plan. A plan will make the difference between stumbling around in the dark and creating a roadmap that will lead you to exactly where you need to go.

If you’re spearheading a software development project, you’ll need to think of everything. You’ll need to establish requirements for stakeholder communication. You’ll also need to determine the development process.

However, that’s not where your responsibility ends. You’ll also need to consider how you’ll maintain your completed project for its entire lifecycle.

Can you imagine managing these many critical responsibilities without a plan?

Components of a Software RFP

With this in mind, your software RFP should contain several elements that will carry you through the software development lifecycle (SDLC).

Every software project follows a similar path—whether you plan it or not. This path is the SDLC. It’s the sequence that must take place to complete the development of a program.

Every step results in an output. That output could be an idea, diagram, or document. It may even result in a working piece of software.

In either case, the output is needed for the next step in the project. This cycle will go on until the project is completed.

Now, we’ll go over some important parts of the SDLC. Specifically, we’ll go over the following:

• Executive project summary/company overview

• Scope of services/deliverables

• Timeline

• Structure for vendor bids

• Selection criteria

This information will help you with an analysis of the RFPs that you receive.

Executive Summary

The executive project summary will include your goals, objectives, requirements, and restrictions. It should state these points comprehensively and simply.

Here, you should include information about your target audience. You’ll want to make the information compressed and informative.

More than likely, you’ll need to edit this section. However, you’ll want to start with it. Also, add some paragraphs about your company and its background.

You have two things to consider when you list your project goals. Firstly, the goal of any activity goes beyond completing a step.

For example, if part of your project includes integrating a database, you want to complete the step for more than the sake of having that component.

You need a database to manage your company information. Still, you need to clearly state your real goals and objectives rather than what you think is a solution, i.e., the database. You can suggest the database, but add that what’s important is that you need an effective way to manage data.

Secondly, you’ll need measurable goals. You might have attainable or final goals.

Alternatively, your goals may simply indicate the direction of business development. What’s important is that you can track the progress of those goals.

This part of your RFP is straightforward and strategy-related. Still, it’s one of the most critical parts of the process.

Service Scope and Deliverables

Now, it’s time to dive into the technical part of your request for a proposal. Things will start to get a bit more complicated.

Here, you’ll want to focus on the remaining elements of your RFP. Specifically, these elements are:

• Project management

• Infrastructure

• Functional design

• Product requirements

• Development

• Quality assurance

• Product management

In all likelihood, this part of the document will serve as the longest part of your request for a proposal.

Here, you want to include every detail possible. The more details you include, the more accurately a service provider can calculate costs.

You’ll want to question candidates about their project management methods. For example, you’ll want to find out how they manage their teams and how they work with clients remotely.

You also need to ask about the candidates’ infrastructure. You want to learn about their reliability and approach to data security.

You also need to find out how potential service providers offer physical security for proprietary assets. Here, it’s important to make sure that a vendor meets your expectations in these areas.

Functional Design Elements

Now, you’ll start to dive into general requirements by explaining your needs for functional design. Once you choose a vendor, you need to work with them to analyze these requirements. For example, your development partner will need to help you figure out how each requirement affects the user experience.

Non Functional Design Elements

You’ll also need to clearly state your product requirements. Here, it’s important to understand that product requirements are different from functional requirements.

They’re non-functional. For instance, you might want your end-product centered around users, the product, optimization, processes, or other qualities.

Next, you’ll want to solicit explanations of how a vendor will manage the development process. For example, you’d ask questions about general software delivery. You’ll also ask about project workflow and management tools.

You’ll follow the section up by requesting an overview of quality assurance procedures. Here, you want to learn how a vendor uses testing to adjust workflows. You’ll also want to find out how they maintain communication between in-house and outsourced team members.

Finally, you want to cover product management. Here, you’ll state how your project managers will participate in the software development process.


The request for proposal process is time-consuming. It can take anywhere from weeks to months. In extreme cases, it can take years.

A long RFP process results in inpatient stakeholders. It also results and costly procurement. It even contributes to the frustration of vendors.

As a result, you’ll want to think of ways to save time throughout the RFP process. Ideally, you only want it to last from 6 to 10 weeks. Still, RFP timelines can vary greatly among projects and companies.

In part, the length of the RFP process will depend on the size of your team. It will also vary based on the number of vendors who participate in the RFP process. Also, the length of the process will vary depending on the kind of questions that you ask.

As a result, you’ll need to figure out how to shorten the RFP timeline. You need to weigh all the factors involved in the process.

At the same time, you cannot rush through or skip steps in the process. Doing so is inevitably inviting disaster. You’ll want to think of safe and dependable ways to speed up each phase of the process.

Vendor Bid Policies

You want to include a vendor bid policy in your RFP. It will help you to compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges.

For instance, you want each vendor to supply you with basic information. This information might include an executive summary and background information about the vendor. You can provide a structured document to achieve this goal.

The document may ask about company structure, vendor qualifications, and the location of their offices. It may also ask how they manage projects and control quality.

You should also request a rundown of the team, such as their experience and resumes. Also, you should ask for a potential vendor’s vision for the project.

You also want to ask applicants about the stages and timeframe for their project plan. Furthermore, you’ll want vendors to submit what analytics and KPIs they’ll monitor to support ongoing improvement throughout the project.

Finally, you’ll request a budget assessment. Here, you’ll ask about project costs, rates for specialists, and any potential additional expenses.

Criteria for RFP Analysis

At this stage, you may not be quite ready to lock in your criteria for RFP analysis. However, some candidate traits should strongly influence your decision—even at this early stage.

For example, you may operate a startup. In that case, you need to launch as soon as possible. You also want to cut costs as much as possible.

Alternatively, you may want to launch a financial or banking application. In that case, you’ll want referrals from other clients in your industry.

Your RFP analysis will consist of two stages—pre-qualification and final qualification. During pre-qualification, you’ll select vendors that can potentially complete your project.

You can locate vendors by requesting references and asking for examples of similar projects. You can also ask for process descriptions and general information about companies.

As you move towards the final qualification, your RFP analysis will get more detailed. You’ll review cost estimates and timelines from potential candidates.

You’ll also review cooperation terms and vendors’ technical visions for the project. Now, you can start shortlisting potential vendors.

If you have priority considerations for your project, you’ll need to inform your vendors about them during the pre-qualification stage. In this way, you can focus on the details that matter the most.

By following this RFP analysis structure, you can choose a vendor that will deliver your software with as few hiccups as possible.

A Development Firm That Delivers

Now you know more about what an RFP analysis is and how to build an RFP. If you’re looking for a top-notch software development firm, we’ve got you covered.

Nizek is your solution for efficient and affordable software development. We can help you develop effective real-world cyber solutions for your business.

We can provide you with state-of-the-art web, mobile, design, gaming, and digital consultancy. What’s more, we’re committed to helping our clients boost profits.

Contact Nizek today to learn more about developing software that will help you meet your business goals while exceeding industry standards.


Abdulaziz Aldhubaib

My expertise in digital transformation and agile processes helps people overcome technological barriers.

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