February 11, 2010

Drafting a Request for Proposal [for Web Design]


Hostway Team

By Winmark Business Solutions

A Request for Proposal (RFP) provides the basis for selecting the Web site developer who will implement your company's Web site project. An RFP is an evolved version of an implementation plan that includes information requested from vendors to aid in selection.

If the project scope is well-defined, RFPs need not include a proposed budget--particularly if budget will be part of the criteria for selecting a Web site developer.

Information often requested for vendor selection includes the following:

  • Company background— This includes corporate information including financial details. How long has the company been in business? How many employees does the company have? Of its employees, how many are dedicated to implementing Internet media?
  • Capabilities— In addition to capabilities associated with the RFP, what other services does the vendor provide? Can the vendor provide representative samples of related work?
  • Company qualifications— How experienced/qualified is the company for the project? Have they completed similar projects? Can they provide a list of previous clients with contact information and relevant URLs?
  • Staffing — What is the proposed team that will be working on the project? What are their individual qualifications? Can a resume be provided for key members of the proposed team?
  • Process— What is the development process used by the vendor? What are the project stages and milestones? What are their processes for quality assurance and testing? How will the completed project be delivered or implemented? What documents are included as deliverables in the processes used by the vendor?
  • Proposed solution— How does the vendor recommend implementing the project? What is their proposed technical approach? What changes to the project scope would they recommend? Is their proposed solution scalable? Will it work in cross-platform environments?
  • Timeline—What is their proposed schedule for completing the project? What dependencies are included in the timeline that may influence the anticipated deliver date?
  • Budget— What is the anticipated cost for the project? What variables exist in the budget and what is their process for identifying changes in cost? How do they accept payment? What portion of the payment will be paid to outside suppliers? How are tasks completed by outside suppliers billed? What ongoing maintenance costs does the vendor anticipate after the project is completed?

Selecting a vendor is a three-stage process.

The first stage is designed to glean through the crowd and select a short list of companies for consideration. These are companies that will be asked to respond with proposals to your RFP.

The second stage is to prepare an RFP for those selected vendors. Based on the RFP, vendors will provide proposals for implementing your project.

The final stage is to select a vendor. This requires a face-to-face meeting with final candidates to resolve questions about the RFP, vendor proposals and final project implementation.

About the Author

Winmark Business Solutions (WBS) is a free Web site for small businesses and entrepreneurs containing over 6,000 pages of business-critical information and downloadable tools at www.WBSonline.com. WBS is a division of Winmark Corporation, a multi-brand franchisor with nearly 900 franchise locations in North America. With over 25 years working with small businesses, WBS draws upon years of experience to bring important small business articles, information, tools, forms, checklists, calculators and downloadable forms to the small business owner to help their business grow. WBS contains over 6000 pages of business-critical information all available at www.WBSonline.com.

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