Describing your needs and expectations when outsourcing a project to a software development company is crucial. It’s hard to do without any guidelines. That’s why a system called RFx came to be. But what does RFx stand for? Request For X is a system that focuses on the standardization of communicating your needs for a project. Furthermore, it helps with negotiations, and going by that system provides all or most of the information needed to assess if a company you outsource to is appropriate for your project.
It helps with the assessment of a software team’s assets and characteristics, virtually any you can think of. No information included in an RFx is without value. It’s essential to know about a software development company as much as you possibly can before handing a project to them.
How to create efficient requests? Here are the top tips for doing just that.
Do your own research
While the RFx system has an element called Request for Information, which in theory provides info about a particular company, you should do the research yourself, too. An RFI can be used to fill in a few gaps about a team that you didn’t find out yourself. Don’t immediately go for a request without exhausting all the possibilities of finding out about a company yourself.
It’s a good practice to study the team comprehensively and thoroughly. It’s better to only request for a few pieces of information, as asking to describe all the characteristics of a company is a bit too much.
Sometimes an RFI is not necessary for you. You need to know when to skip this step of acquiring a software development team altogether. Sending out many RFIs without doing research can hurt relationships with suppliers and may plainly annoy them.
After gathering all the information, you can now go for an RFP, Request for Proposal. It’s crucial to stay simple when writing your requests and not use overly convoluted jargon. Simple, clear documents have a bigger chance of scoring a fair offer from a supplier, as they’re more inviting and, in the end, easier to understand.
Consider writing the RFP in an open-ended form to encourage the supplier to provide their own ideas. It helps build nice relationships with software development teams, which is an aspect that can become a great asset to have in the future. Keep it concise and don’t write pages upon pages of unnecessary information.
If you don’t know what you should cover in an RFP for it to be good enough, you can use this RFP template.
When you send an RFP, let the supplier know beforehand. Let them know what to expect precisely and explain the whole procedure to them. Make an effort to follow up on your requests and offer that you will answer any questions they have.
Being personal in such requests is a good touch and allows for making relationships that, again, can be profitable in the future. Don’t forget that you aren’t talking to machines. Personalization also matters because it makes software teams feel more appreciated and invited to cooperate. It’s a good practice to use some degree of informal language for the request to feel more friendly. But don’t go too far with that – you don’t want to look unprofessional.
Focus on the requirements
Gathering all the necessities, you would need from an outsourcing team is another essential thing. You need to be thorough in creating a detailed list of the suppliers. Collect information from all of the employees involved in the project to get an idea of what everyone needs. While it may seem simple, don’t take an approach where you just survey the whole team, write the requirements in a document, and send it out.
You need to be better than that. Create a coherent, detailed list written in an easy-to-read and understandable way to avoid confusion. Make an effort to be as clear and straightforward as possible, but don’t forget the details that are crucial for the project. Try to include all of your requirements, but don’t let the request take a form of a large number of pages. Such requests scare people off, and they’re likely not to cooperate with you.
Creating an RFx is not that easy of a task. You will need to find a balance in writing them. To clarify, don’t write too much, but don’t forget to add the necessary details. Such requests are an excellent basis for future relationships with suppliers. Using them, and using them right, you can really profit.