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Fintech Success With Rapid Application Development

In the previous article, “Enterprise Software Development on OutSystems Low-code Platform”, we discussed the benefits of low-code development using the OutSystems platform for businesses. In the article, we want to raise the issue of the most important aspects of enterprise development – speed and flexibility.

For financial companies, speed and flexibility are among the key criteria for successful software development. The thing is that many factors influence the work of the financial industry:

  • external – new trends in design, new conditions in legislation, pressure from competitors,
  • internal – changes in terms of service, internal processes.

And that’s not to mention that every year there are a multitude of new innovative and flexible fintech startups stepping on banks’ toes and eating away their market share.

In such conditions, it is vital to be able to quickly adapt to changing conditions. Change or die! This is the slogan of the years to come for the banking industry.

In the article, we will review, in detail, the task with which our customers come to us most often – the ability to quickly create and implement applications in the corporate ecosystem.

This tactic is called Rapid Application Development.

Why should banks consider Rapid Application Development (RAD)?

Research by Geneca addresses this question perfectly. The company interviewed 600 IT business people and found that:

  • 75% of the IT leaders admitted that almost all projects are doomed to failure from the first stage of development.
  • 80% stated that at least half of the time spent on the project was dedicated to reworking the functionality.
  • 78% said that business representatives should be more involved in projects, which will provide an opportunity to develop software that meets business requirements.
  • Only 55% clearly understand the business goals of their customers.
  • Less than 20% think that businesses need a clear definition of requirements.

Looking at these figures, it becomes obvious that substantial changes are needed in the field of corporate app development. Those who change their tactics will win. Financial companies definitely should consider the Rapid Application Development methodology. This approach solves all of the mentioned above technical and business issues both for back office and front office applications.

What is Rapid Application Development?

Rapid Application Development is a form of agile methodology. It focuses on quickly getting the result you need and is best suited in two cases:

  1. Developers are limited by budget and/or time.
  2. There are no strict requirements for the product.

Development is faster because specialists use the appropriate technical means and regularly clarify the customer’s requirements. In addition, a key element of RAD is a joint assessment of the result with the stakeholders.

Most characteristic features of RAD:

  • quick feedback from the business or end-users,
  • frequent release of prototypes or updates,
  • breakdown of the project into sprints,
  • flexible change of requirements.

You can’t apply Rapid App Development to any particular development model. RAD is an idea. Its essence is that we win because we consider development as something flexible, capable of quick change.

Rapid Application Development methodology

According to the RAD methodology, the development process is divided into 4 stages. These are steps designed to build a great application with minimal risk.

Define the requirements

Before starting development, stakeholders discuss project requirements, determine a budget and a deadline, set goals and calculate expectations. In the approach of RAD, neither stakeholders nor developers spend a lot of time on developing complete and detailed specifications.

The main principle of the RAD is the freedom to change requirements at any time while still working on the application. During the first stage, the “essence” of the application is determined, and its vision is formed. So the requirements are put forward according to this “essence” and “vision.”

Prototype development

At this stage, designers, developers, and business users work together closely. They create working prototypes of the application that meet all the product requirements or its parts.

Feedback gathering

After developers release the prototype and the beta version of the product, the stage of collecting feedback from users begins. The goal of this step is to improve the prototype version and make the product as useful as possible.

A curious fact: sometimes what was originally conceived by customers is completely unclaimed at this stage.

Having collected the feedback, the specialists return in step 2: taking into account all the changes and new requirements, a prototype is created again.

Delivery of the project

Having received positive feedback on the prototypes, the developers are finishing work on the project. They optimize the application and provide service stability.

At this stage, app developers perform such jobs as integration with the necessary systems, writing of documentation, maintenance, and support. All for one purpose: to release the application.

OutSystems as Rapid Application Development Tool

As we mentioned in the beginning, recently we have published the article “Enterprise Software Development on OutSystems Low-code Platform”. There we described in detail the advantages that companies receive in developing applications using the low-code platform OutSystems.

Now, we will focus on another important advantage of the platform – it is an excellent tool for Rapid Application Development.

All the platform’s functionality is honed for work on the RAD methodology. OutSystems is an excellent rapid mobile and web app development platform and provides all the necessary tools to quickly create enterprise applications.

But what really sets OutSystems apart from other platforms and makes it completely dedicated to Rapid Application Development is the ability to integrate with any service. This greatly enhances its development.

Another feature of OutSystems is that with the help of the platform you are brilliantly able to  create prototypes and process feedback for each separate feature. And this is a fundamental requirement in RAD.

What’s essential for RAD to work?

If your organization wants to apply a Rapid Application Development approach,  your development team should wisely consider the following requirements.

Must-haves:

  • Close collaboration between the business and developers
    The foundation of RAD is the active cooperation of the customer with the developers. If the customer isn’t involved in the work, doesn’t show any interest in the project, then RAD is not the best idea.
  • Experienced Project Manager
    Working without clear project requirements isn’t so easy, is it? An experienced project manager should always be at the head of the project. Without this person, development with a RAD methodology will turn into a series of prolonging changes without an end in sight. A completed working application won’t see the light of day.
  • Available Senior developers
    The RAD methodology assumes instant adaptation to new requirements. Therefore, this methodology is not the best option for novices. Only advanced level developers will work well in it.
  • Medium size project
    For development using the RAD methodology, medium size projects are suited best. For larger projects, this methodology is not suitable, since with a large number of requirements it is very difficult to make changes flexibly and fast. However, if the project is small, then it’s better to use another methodology.

Rapid Application Development benefits – the pay off

Though the RAD approach to corporate application development has its constraints, it pays off the efforts. If a financial organization is able to facilitate the approach inside its structure, the benefits will be quite immense.

Quick project delivery

Thanks to the iterative approach, continuous collection of feedback and the flexibility to make changes, a final version is achieved 10 times faster than with other methodologies.

Development cost reduction

The RAD model reduces the cost of application creation by up to 80%. Development time is considerably reduced, and in case of necessity for overall changes, the project doesn’t need to be developed from scratch.

Easier to make changes

Usually, numerous modifications in projects are not encouraged. Not in the case of RAD. In this development method, changes can be made even in the full swing of development.

Flexible adaptation of new technologies

If development is in full swing and it turns out that some technology can assist in solving the difficulties encountered, then it’s rather difficult to implement. There are too many risks associated with it because you need to go back and make changes to the requirements. With RAD, this issue is easily resolved – at any time you can adopt new technology.

More business engagement – better customer experience

The RAD supposes the active participation of the end-users in the project. Thanks to the collection of reviews and frequent updates, developers make sure they are delivering the product that the customers expect.

The best market fit

The main question of the Rapid Application Development model: what exactly does the customer need? The goal of the developers is to create a valuable and required product, and not another miracle application, which is unclear for whom and why.

Risk management

With the help of RAD at an early stage of project development, certain risks can be uncovered. Early assumption of risk gives more time and possibility to avoid its negative consequences in future.

Conclusion

Rapid Application Development is an outstanding enterprise application development model. It considerably reduces the gap between the development team and business and can perfectly be embedded in a business leverage strategy.

In contemporary conditions, financial companies need to consider using the RAD model. It will help:

  • avoid project failure,
  • not to spend a huge amount of time on software development,
  • to develop software that meets the requirements of the business,
  • provide developers a clear understanding of the company’s business goals.

It is important to remember: if you meet all the required conditions, the RAD methodology will give you incredible speed up and flexibility advantages throughout the entire development cycle of your product.

Remote work security compliance. Corporate “hygiene” is crucial

COVID-19 is a humanitarian and social crisis of unprecedented speed and scale. Coronavirus disease has got an immediate and long-lasting impact on how people work and act in society.

The top priority is to protect people’s health and safety, including in their workplaces, through security measures compliance at home and outside. Business leaders must make rapid, highly-informative decisions, and take immediate actions to protect and support their employees and ensure that critical business operations continue in order to help societal continuity.

Sadly, criminals and hackers are also exploiting this situation. There has been a significant rise in malicious websites, with thousands of new coronavirus-related domains registered since January 2020. Hackers are selling malware and distributing hacking tools through COVID-19 discount codes on the darknet, many of which are aimed at stealing corporate data from laptops of employees who work from home.

Throughout the article, when we say “security” we mean information security. The term “information security” means protecting information and information systems from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction. There is no such thing as perfect security, but “being secure” means reasonable measures have been taken to enforce information security.

Security measures online: provide opportunities and coach your team 

Currently, the biggest concern for chief information security officers (CISOs) and other security professionals are maintaining their organization’s cybersecurity posture during a period where the vast majority of office-based, IT-reliant workers are going to be working from home.

With that in mind, here are the steps Chief Security Officers (CSOs) and Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) can make to keep their organization’s data and systems secure:

  1. Compile a list of clouds and applications which are sanctioned for use and provide a secure way for employees to access these applications.

The usage of a secure gateway, remote desktop connections, or creating corporate accounts is the way to provide access to corporate applications so that staffers can access and use their data securely.

  1. Whenever possible, keep the work to enterprise endpoints.

Not all workers being asked to work from home due to coronavirus will have dedicated work devices, such as laptops and netbooks. If possible, provide them dedicated equipment that they can use from home to work.

Adequately configured endpoint firewalls and anti-malware controls will make it easier to enforce good endpoint security practices.

If it is impossible to provide dedicated endpoints to your employees, consider virtual desktops. It can keep a dedicated endpoint separate, and the virtual system will be protected from all of the other users on the home system. A remote virtual desktop is another option to consider.

  1. Enable multi-factor authentication. 

When employees access work resources from their homes, they appear as unknown network sources, making it difficult for companies to tell the difference between legitimate staff and adversaries with stolen credentials.

Multi-factor authentication, such as one-time codes sent to trusted phones or through the use of a one-time PIN generation app, can help to detect if valid credentials were indeed provided by legitimate users.

  1. Establish a support hotline for new remote workers. 

Technical support and assistance will be necessary for workers who rarely or never work remotely. They will want to know how to configure their systems properly, set up corporate VPN if needed.

To solve these tasks, a dedicated hotline should be organized for helping workers set up their home routers properly, create a dedicated subnet for work, and otherwise correctly configure their system for optimal security.

  1. Use encryption. 

Remote workers should use full disk encryption on their devices if it is possible. They should be coached on how to set this up properly on Windows or macOS if IT or the security department can’t do it for them.

  1. Provide security awareness training. 

With so many new remote workers, an excellent opportunity to raise the security awareness of your company’s workforce through training appears, especially if it hasn’t been done in a while. Such training will remind people about good remote security practices, such as being careful about clicking on links, not using public Wi-Fi, and not leaving their laptops in a car.

This video describes how businesses and their employees can maximize the level of cybersecurity amid the global health crisis.

Tony Anscombe, the Chief of Security of ESET, 6 tips to maximize cybersecurity while working remotely from the ESET YouTube channel.

Online work at home: challenges of the new normal 

All of the above changes and risks create a monitoring nightmare for CSOs and CISOs. We are entering into a period of digital unknown, where change will be the new normal. Data flows and topology will change. New technology and services will be deployed. Logging formats will be different.

Assuming it is not already too late to do so, IT and security teams should do their best to get out ahead of the transition to mass remote working by making sure that a work-from-home solution must protect against a variety of endpoint-related attack vectors, such as:

  • OS vulnerabilities
  • app vulnerabilities
  • network vulnerabilities
  • browser/mail vulnerabilities
  • USB/external device vulnerabilities
  • insider threats

It should be hard for malware to simultaneously access corporate network resources and have direct unfiltered access to the internet.

But the dilemma that CISOs face is that users prefer to use a single device with a single set of peripherals, without switching between devices. They would like to have direct connectivity to their apps and data, without any added network latency, both in the corporate network, in the cloud, and in their personal home network.

But as we prevent viruses from infecting our bodies through isolation, we look to prevent viruses from infecting our computers and keep cybercriminals away from corporate data as well. Isolation is the key to prevention. It ensures separation between healthy and ill.

When the health of corporate infrastructure is taken into consideration, isolation is implemented to separate sensitive data from anything that could potentially cause harm, including the “wild” internet.

And CISOs must walk a fine line between overly restricting user behavior and optimizing cybersecurity hygiene. If the restrictions are too tight, the risk of alienating users and choking their ability to work productively increases, but if the restrictions are too loose, you risk exposing your business to unacceptable levels of risk.

Security measures should start at your employees’ side 

Remote teams do have a far larger attack surface than centralized ones. Unlike in a centralized team where confidential information can be physically locked down behind firewalls and company workstations, remote workers are encouraged or even required to use their own devices. And here comes the question, whether they correspond to corporate security compliance demands or not.

However, corporate devices with pre-installed security compliance software, do not completely safeguard sensitive data either.

Here some tips that can help you avoid information security breach while using both corporate and personal desktops or mobile devices:

  • Lock your doors. If your employees tend to work remotely, confidential corporate information could be at risk. The habit of always locking doors is a key step toward improving the home office’s security. Nobody is insured against theft. Locking doors can help your employees deprive themselves of the stress of a stolen work computer or harm your company by letting its data out into the wild.
  • Have your corporate data encrypted. In heavily regulated industries losing specific data could result in huge fines. Make sure that information in devices that your employees use for online work is encrypted in order to turn a disaster (data compromise) to an annoyance (loss of the device, but no compromise). In many states, breach disclosure laws do not come into effect if the data was encrypted.
  • Never leave devices or laptops in the car. Advise employees to never leave their work computers or devices in a vehicle. And the trunk of a car is not any safer. It’s a best practice for your workers to keep work laptops and devices with them at all times.
  • Don’t use random thumb drives. A classic hacking technique is to drop a number of large-capacity thumb drives hoping someone picks them up and uses. What if it would be your employee? The chances that an unwitting worker will pick up the thumb drive and use it are surprisingly high.
  • Use a USB data blocker when charging up at a public phone charging station. If it is necessary to charge the corporate phone and the only option is an unknown USB port, a wise measure is to protect it with a USB data blocker to prevent data exchange and guard against malware. This type of USB protection allows the device to connect to power without exposing the data pins inside a device; it connects the power leads, but not the data ones.

Conclusion

The volume of interest in coronavirus means that cybercriminals and threat actors will continue to heavily exploit it. And depending on how long the crisis of the pandemic lasts, we could be looking at the emergence of a highly significant, long-term cybersecurity issue because wide usage of remote technologies cannot escape cybercriminals attention.

However, as is so often the case when it comes to cybersecurity, paying a little care and attention to basic security hygiene should be the first priority for both CISOs, security teams, and users. And only combined efforts can make remote working risk-free.

How to choose cooperation model in IT

Nowadays, the vast majority of companies have information technologies as a non-core asset. Consequently, the opportunity to transfer these non-core assets under the management of a professional external partner and free up resources of the company for priority business areas – looks very attractive.

At this point, the customer is faced with several issues as to how to choose the most effective cooperation model, how to evaluate this approach from a financial perspective rather than investing in the development of his/her own team of IT specialists?

We continue a series of blog posts devoted to the topic of outsourcing software development. In this article, we decided to reveal the topic of cooperation models in IT outsourcing and how to use them efficiently. Moreover, you can check our previous article “7 main tips to avoid startup failure”.

Outsourcing partner: models of cooperation

Currently, there are 4 basic models of cooperation that are used in all the world markets:

  1. Fixed-price
  2. Time and Materials
  3. Dedicated team
  4. Hybrid

Fixed price

The main criteria of this model are – a fixed budget, a constant project scope, an established time interval (4 weeks, 2 months, etc), also a possible compromise in quality.

The fixed-price contract is perfect for any size projects, where requirements, specifications, and schedules can be clearly defined before the start of project development since it is nearly impossible to make adjustments when the project started.

Typically, this model is also used for short-term software development tasks that do not require close monitoring by the client.

Time and material

The peculiarity of this model lies in the absence of a precisely defined project cost – the customer pays the actual amount of work performed by the IT outsourcing company under the time spent and the hourly rates of the contractor’s specialists.

Both parties can flexibly approach the changing requirements, conditions, and priorities of the project and, as a result, can quickly adjust the scope of work and terms.

The model is suitable if the customer’s idea is associated with new technologies (not with fully developed markets), and he/she intends to provide direct control over the project and ensure the team with specific materials, also when the scope of the project is unknown or the implementation will take several months or even years.

Dedicated team

Dedicated Team is a business model that implies both parties mutually agree with the workload and requirements of the project, indicating the necessary amount of time. At the same time, the outsourcing company provides IT specialists that are fully focused on the project and meet the requirements of the customer. The client has full managerial control over the project and the team. Moreover, the contractor performs the functions of a staff recruiter and administrative support.

The fundamental difference of the dedicated development team is its long-term nature: partnerships between the customer and the contractor are conducted for a long time and can involve the implementation of a set of projects.

Hybrid model

The approach includes the basic principles of Time & Material and Fixed Price models.

Our company, RNDpoint, applies the hybrid model in practice. We can share with you 2 types of hybrid models that we use. However, it is worth noting that the choice of model is highly dependent on many factors such as estimated time, amount of work and resources, the complexity of execution and so on.

The first type is suitable for longer and more expensive projects. At the beginning of the project, we start working according to the Time & Material model. Then, when a certain part of the functionality is ready and we can plan our next sprint more clearly, we discuss the edits with the customer and schedule further fixed price sprints.

The second type is better working for small projects or startups. It implies  that the company and the customer agree on certain arrangements. For example, to do the specific tasks for a fixed price no matter how many hours it takes, and also completing other minors (or not) tasks for Time & Material strategy. The model is successfully working because the customer can pay a lower cost for Time & Material assignments and be ready to pay for a fixed part of the project. As a result, it is easier for startups to control their expenses.

Thanks to this model, the client has an opportunity to be flexible and, at the same time, look through every detail, thus avoiding too many edits in the final project.

Conclusion

The model of cooperation with outsourcing IT partners is the client’s decision, which depends mainly on the type of project and the predictability of the time and the cost. The fixed price model would be the best choice for short-term development with a clear description of the functionality and the concept of the final product. Three other models would be better for long-term cooperation, and also in case, the customer is going to change the workflow.

Be that as it may, the client should remember that the cooperation model that worked well for other organizations and a particular contractor may not always be the best choice to launch his project, because everything depends on the main project features – time, money and resources.

How to write an effective scope of work?

Step-by-step Instruction: Scope Of Work For An Outsourcing Company

No matter the size of the company you have, one issue comes to mind when cooperating with an outsourcing provider. That is creating a precise project plan. As a result, both sides lose their most valuable resources like money and time, while becoming frustrated. Often the reason lies in the simple things – both parties don’t understand each other because they perceive the information in different ways.

To resolve this issue effectively, a well-developed scope of work (SoW) should be conducted.

This means that whenever the company enters into a contract with the outsourcing company, an agreement on the terms of reference will help to clearly determine what both sides can expect from future cooperation.

What is SoW?

Scope of Work (SoW) is a clear and thorough contract signed between the companies, which defines the division and the exact type of work that will be provided under the formal agreement for desired services. The contract also includes specific tasks together with deadlines and other requirements.

The agreement records the project requirements, responsible people, and obligations that are expected to be provided by both parties during the project activities. Furthermore, the document assists the companies in avoiding ambiguities which can lead to disputes on both sides.

Tips to write an efficient scope of work 

Your scope document template should be understandable and precise. Then, try to accurately determine the scope of needed services and adequately assess the capabilities of both the outsourcing team and the project, in general, before signing an agreement. Once you do this, you can develop a contract and ensure you maximize the mutual benefit.

Now, let’s look at the main points needed to make up the scope of work:

Complete a brief statement that could describe all the business needs and provide a short description of the services you intend to use.

Make an analysis of your company’s goals. Then, you need to create a good competitive proposal of your business, while analyzing the advantages and disadvantages of the competitor’s firms. Also, do not forget to select the priorities. Consequently, you will be able to bring this important information to your IT partner and discuss the vision together with the team.

As a customer try to describe the desired results or outputs as clearly as possible. Ask your outsourcing partner to describe each functionality and process thoroughly, even if it involves a lot of time and resources. Then, you will be able to make a complete and understandable list of services or work to be done. We all know of those cases where the service is provided, and the functionality works perfectly, but the goal is not achieved.

Start with defining the governance structure and then, give an outline of the project management procedures. Furthermore, you should sync with the outsourcing team in order to assess their capabilities.

If it is possible, give examples to better illustrate your idea or desired effect. It will give a better understanding and improve communication. Share some pre-prepared ideas, which may be helpful for an IT outsourcing team to assess the project and make its own assumptions.

Try to set realistic deadlines for each part of the project while taking into consideration the number of team members, their competitiveness, workload, amount of tasks, capacity, and everything that you have to use during the project. At this point, your IT partner will help you, as they are able to provide all the necessary information about the available team for your project.

From that point, the project cost goes for developing the application, resource expenses, overheads, pricing assumptions based on fixed-prices or time and materials project, payment terms, and schedule.

Mentioning the warranty terms, the maintenance agreement, the service levels, and other conditions will facilitate the security level of the contract.

Set the list of final outcomes that are expected to be presented by the IT outsourcing vendor to fit the company’s goals at the end of the project.

Scope of work vs statement of work 

Companies tend to get confused about these two quite similar combinations of words. However, they are absolutely different in terms of meaning.

The statement of work is a more general legal document that defines the goals and objectives of the project while also including the detailed scope of work.

The scope of work provides particular details such as lists of tools, resources, deadlines, examples, and purposes.

Conclusion

To summarize, the scope of work documents lays the foundation for a future successful project. Each paragraph of this document requires careful attention, however, do not forget to keep the facts and the most important information understandable. The language to describe your scope of work will present your organizational values and professionalism.

Ensure that the scope of work complies with all the above-mentioned points review this instruction.

How to Write an Attractive RFP for Software Development: Example and Template

Software Development. Looking for gems in the mud?

When you are going to design a software application, there are two ways to get it right. You can do the coding yourself relying on your own specialists and their skills. Or you will need some software development proposal from an outsourced vendor.

A well-written Request for Proposal (RFP) and carefully outlined proposal format for a software company can help:

  • to attract experienced developers attention;
  • assess whether your potential vendor has the ideas and skills to partner with you in your software project development.

Software development Request for Proposal: what, how, when

What is RFP in software development?

RFP for software development is a document designed to inform potential vendors about the project, learn about their domain expertise, and receive estimated project cost and timeline.

Typically, RFP for software consists of the following steps:

Step 1. You get in touch with selected vendors to find out if they are interested in a new contract. If your RFP contains commercial secrets or other sensitive data, you may ask them to sign an NDA before sharing any details.

Step 2. You send the RFP to vendors. It is best to keep it reasonably brief. Up to 10 pages is an optimal size.

Step 3. If a vendor decides they are right for the project, they may ask more questions to better understand your project and to clarify your requirements.

Step 4. Potential vendors send you their proposals. They may include initial effort estimates, project team makeup, and team members’ hourly rates. Information about the company, its clients, and its results may be included too.

Step 5. Once all the proposals are studied and the choice of a vendor is made, you sign a contract and kick off the project.

Software development proposal example: common and peculiar

Usually, the process of an RFP organization is not limited to looking for vendors/suppliers and buying equipment/services procedures. Request for Proposal preparation starts far ahead of the moment when participants are invited and bids are announced. Look at Figure 1 to see what the standard RFP process consists of.

Fig. 1. Standard RFP process

Speaking about a Request for Proposal for a software development project, it is obvious that structurally it corresponds to common RFP patterns. Differences refer only to some minor matters which are reflected in vendor-connected sections, such as the qualification and skills of the development team, their portfolio of successful activity in similar projects, etc.

RFP example for a software project, in general, may contain the following sections and information:

Fig. 2. Sample request for proposal for software development structure

Software development proposal template. Simplify your roadmap to the right vendor

Though the reasons to conduct a Request for Proposal are numerous, and projects can vary from ordering cleaning services to buying heavy machinery, RFP templates for software may look very similar in structure to any of the mentioned above.

[Current Date]

[Project title]

[Project overview]

[Company’s name and background information]

1.Project goals.

[Company goal 1]

[Company goal 2]

[Company goal 3]

To reach these goals, [your company] accepts bids in response to this Request for Proposal.

The project details are as follows:

  1. The scope of work.

[Description of the project and a detailed scope of work.]

  1. Target deliverable schedule.

[Add the date when the project must be completed.]

The expected project completion date is [add date]. If this date is not met or needs to be adjusted, include your readjusted proposed date, as well as the reasoning for shifting the schedule. All proposed dates will be taken into consideration.

  1. Existing roadblocks or technical issues.

[Describe the time, resources, or other constraint factors that affect the proposal and the project.]

[Your company] currently has [insert list of roadblocks.]

  1. Budget constraints.

The budget for this project is [insert your price plus exchange currency information if vendors are outside the home country.]

  1. Evaluation metrics.

[Your company] evaluates bidders and proposals based on the following criteria:

Previous experience/past performance.

Samples and/or case studies from previous projects.

Experience and technical expertise.

Projected costs.

Responsiveness and answers to questions in the following section.

  1. Questions bidders must answer to be considered.

[Create comprehensive questions that are project-related to properly assess potential vendors.]

[Question 1]

[Question 2]

[Question 3]

  1. Submission requirements.

Bidders must adhere to the following guidelines to be considered: [guidelines list]

Only bidders who meet all metrics in the evaluation section should submit a proposal.

Proposals must be sent by [insert date.]

Interested bidders should submit the RFP and address it to [point of contact name and email address] by no later than [insert deadline.]

Samples and references should be included along with the proposal.

Proposals should not exceed [number] pages long.

Failure to comply will result in an automatic rejection.

A proposed schedule must be included and clearly expressed.

  1. Contact information.

For questions or concerns about this RFP, please reach out to [point of contact name] at [point of contact phone and email address.]

RFP for software: pros vs cons

Some experts say the RFP process is no longer considered the best way to select a vendor, regardless of industry. Though we still see a lot of companies relying on it when searching for software development vendors.

Let’s take a closer look at why Requests for Proposal for software became so popular, and why they fell out of favor.

RFP for software: voting in favor

The undoubted advantages of RFP for software development:

  • Multiple points of view on your software project. Participating vendors will offer different approaches to project development. You will be able to evaluate various approaches in detail before choosing one.
  • Understanding the real capabilities of vendors. Vendors need to provide tailored offers according to your software proposal example in response to your RFP. So, you can see if the vendor’s skills really align with your project.
  • A clear process of selection. RFP requires a standardized format of proposals. That makes it easy to compare vendors side by side.
  • It is possible to knock the price down. RFP makes cost one of the selection criteria. That helps keep a vendor’s pricing from going out of hand.
  • Time-saving in perspective. Even though it takes time and effort to write RFP, it helps to avoid repeating the same information to vendors. By using RFP, you can collect questions from all participating vendors in a single Q&A session to answer them at once.

RFP for software: votes for a veto

But what can go wrong with the RFP process? Sometimes, RFPs no longer provides the opportunity for the orderly, objective means of evaluating multiple participants, as originally intended. Thus the following flaws come at the front:

  • RFPs are time-consuming. Modern businesses have to be nimble. Building the requirements, evaluation of methodology, and potential bidder search are too long for a fast and timely reaction.
  • RFPs are expensive. You may not pay directly for the wasted time but all customers pay indirectly. Vendors who participate in RFPs maintain the overhead cost of bid-response teams. And you have to compensate your internal team’s time commitment to develop and evaluate the project.
  • The best software development companies don’t respond. Conducting an RFP doesn’t automatically mean the best provider will respond. You may never choose or even meet the best suitable vendor using a traditional RFP process.
  • The written requirements don’t always accurately describe the intended outcome. Requirements in your RFPs may not accurately support your goals because of a lack of necessary experts, too many restrictions, or mirroring an existing solution.
  • The methodology of selection is flawed. You need to know what questions are relevant to your vendor-choosing process, rather than creating a check-the-box exercise. It may seem practical; however, it can mask the true value of a potential partner.
  • The selection team doesn’t have the right members. A lot of companies put on blinders when developing a team for starting and running an RFP process. The members of RFP management groups do not have a clear picture of what to do and how to do things.

Conclusion

There’s no standard template or universal recipe for writing a request for proposal for software development. We’ve provided you with some important considerations and guidelines instead. Keep them in mind while following the RFP format for software projects that meets your needs.

If you don’t want to bother yourself with writing RFP technical requirements or have trouble studying RFP templates for software development, you can simply schedule a call with our team. We will be glad to provide you with our assistance.

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