RFP template: How to write an RFP for software development?

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What to include in a Request for Proposal (RFP) for software development projects? All the necessary aspects are covered in detail in this article – let’s dive in!

A Request For Proposal (RFP) for Software Development: A free template

To help you go through the process of finding the best supplier for your IT or software development project, we browsed through lots of Requests for Proposal (RFPs) received over the years from our clients.

Based on them, we created a sample RFP document, in the form of a ready-made RFP template with a list of areas to cover if you need a Request for Proposal for a software development project.

What is an RFP template?

An RFP template is an essential document in the procurement process and often follows the Request For Information – the RFI.

It introduces a new project that needs to be completed and requests bids from suppliers to compete for it. Its goal is to help you select the best vendor for the job you want to do.

In an RFP document you should introduce your company and provide a detailed description of your requirements and expectations which will become the project’s baseline. It is also important for potential vendors to know what terms and details they will have to meet and adhere to.

An RFP for software projects is normally sent to a small number of software development companies that you shortlisted as potentially good for your particular IT project.

It is best to start from an easily editable document and save it as an editable pdf form for your bidders (suppliers) to complete. To facilitate this, the RFP template you can download here is in the Word doc format.

Why is an RFP for your Software Development project crucial?

The main purpose of a software RFP template is to help you select the best IT company to develop the solution you need.

A well-prepared RFP is crucial in the decision-making process. It will help you select the best partner, but also help potential suppliers see if they are the right fit for your organisation and your particular technology project.

A good software RFP document therefore makes it easier for you and your potential supplier to create a long-term business relationship and meet each other’s expectations. The more effective the RFP is in providing the necessary details, the more effective the final selection will be.

That is why, a quality RFP can dictate the success or failure of your project.


How to write an RFP and what should it include?

Our recommended Request For Proposal template form is divided into two main sections:

  • Project Information
  • Supplier Questionnaire

The Project Information is where you tell your potential software development company who you are and what your area of expertise is, determine a rough scope of the project to be done and assess the timeline and budget available.

Here’s a sneak peek of what’s included in the Project Information section of our downloadable RFP template. Bear in mind this is only a small preview – to see the entire list with all the subsections, download the template in Word.


1. Contact Person
2. Proposal Timeline
3. Brief Project Overview
4. Description Of Your Company
5. Project Goals
6. …

The Supplier Questionnaire section gathers information from the potential suppliers on your shortlist.

Here’s a preview of what we included in our software RFP template – and because it’s an editable Word document, you can tweak the questions to fit your organisation’s needs. Again, remember this is only a part of a very high-level table of contents. The RFP for software template available for download is way more detailed with many more sections and subsections.


1. Organisation
2. Experience
3. Project Management
4. Technical experience
5. Quality assurance
6. …

Always remember about including the below information:

  • Project Overview:
    Prepare a short description of your project that will set the scene for potential developers. It should include some key information such as scope and your expectations. Keep it clear and concise. Remember not to use overly technical language that may not be fully understandable.
  • Detailing Specific Requirements
    This is your chance to write more about your specific requirements such as the model of communication etc. It will allow both you and your future partners understand whether your collaboration is possible. When writing it, stick to bullet points as they allow people reading the document to easily scan through it and immediately see the most important information.
  • Defining Your Budget and Expected Timeframes
    Being honest about your budget and timeframes right from the start is crucially important as it will save your time that you would otherwise loose looking for companies that are simply out of reach or have too many projects going on.
  • Setting Clear Evaluation Criteria: What You’re Looking For in a Developer
    This is where you need to be most precise: tell your future partners how are you going to evaluate them and what criteria will you use. It may be tricky to prepare such a list at first, but in the long term it will be extremely useful – if a company doesn’t feel they can live up to your expectations, they won’t loose your time by applying.
  • Providing Background: Introducing Your Company and Its Mission
    Even the best software development company won’t be great for you if they don’t know your mission and what your company is all about. Once you provide that information they will have a clear understanding of whether they are a good match or not.


Creating an RFP For Software projects: best practices for a clear and effective request

There are some good practices that you can follow when preparing an RFP, such as providing relevant information about your business, asking precise questions or stating your needs clearly at the very beginning.

It is also important to gather information in a formal and structured manner as this will facilitate comparisons.


Here are some tips that will help you along the way:

  1. Be clear about your objectives and requirements
    Vague or unclear project objectives and requirements can lead to confusion and misunderstandings. To mitigate that, clearly define your project’s scope, goals, objectives, and specific requirements. Use concise and precise language to convey your expectations.
  2. Use understandable language and don’t provide too many details
    Providing too many specific details and solutions in the RFP can limit the creativity and innovation of potential vendors. Instead of prescribing solutions, focus on describing the problem or desired outcome. Leave room for vendors to propose their solutions and ideas.
  3. Research your future partners market
    Not conducting thorough market research and benchmarking before writing the RFP can lead to unrealistic expectations or missed opportunities. To avoid it, research industry standards, best practices, and available solutions.
  4. Establish clear evaluation criteria
    Failing to establish clear evaluation criteria can make it difficult to compare and select proposals objectively. Define evaluation criteria in advance, including weighting factors for each criterion. Ensure that the criteria align with your project’s goals and requirements.
  5. Establish competitive budget and realistic timeframe
    Not providing a clear timeline for the RFP process and expectations for vendor responses can lead to delays and confusion. To mitigate that, outline a detailed timeline with key milestones, such as the proposal submission deadline and the selection announcement date. Communicate expectations for vendor responses and questions.

Listen more about: Best practices in the RFP process


Post-submission processes: what happens after the RFP for Software is submitted?

When the RFP is done, you need to evaluate the proposals (have a look at our Tool for comparing and selecting IT outsourcing partners), select a vendor, check their references, negotiate and sign contracts. It’s important to notify the vendors that did not make it – any feedback you can give them will serve them in their future endeavours.

During the post-submission phase, it’s essential to follow a structured and transparent process to make informed decisions, maintain vendor relationships, and mitigate risks associated with software procurement. Effective communication and collaboration among all stakeholders are critical to the success of the project.


How to easily prepare an RFP For Technology projects? With our template!

You can sit down and create an RFP for your tech project from scratch, or save some time and use what we prepared for you – an RFP created specifically for software development and technology projects. You can download the RFP by completing the form. Go ahead, it’s free!


Also check out our other downloadable materials that you may find useful: