What is RFP Writing?

Posted by
Anastasia in Technical Writing on 10/21/20204 min read

a business newspaper

Technical writers can help with many business-related things to make a company successful. For one, they create internal documentation, like process documentation, that keeps everything together. They can write whitepapers, memos, develop educational materials, etc. Today we are going to talk about yet another type of technical documentation - a request for proposal.

Any company can be faced with the need to use external resources for specific tasks. That can be a project in any sphere: web design, marketing, QA, anything. A request for proposal is a technical document that contains information about services the company is expecting to receive from contractors or agencies. RFPs are absolutely essential for complex projects that include many parameters and data analytics.

The Main Purpose of an RFP

There are, actually, a number of things an RFP is useful for; several birds you can kill with one stone, or one RFP, in our case :)

  • An RFP helps bidders clearly understand details of projects of any complexity.
  • An RFP helps contractors and agencies map out their plan of actions, choose the format and the tools for their proposal. Basically, it is a ready-to-use guide for creating a presentation - they will know exactly what to include and which points to address.
  • The bidders’ reaction, be it a presentation, project mockup, or cost sheet, can serve as a sort of a warrant for the company that the bidders understand the conditions and are ready to proceed with doing what’s required.
  • Surely, the contractors won't be obliged to follow their presentation or project plan to a T at this point, but an RFP provides the perfect starting point for future communication and negotiations.

An RFP is a useful thing, indeed. It can help kick start a successful bidding process and lay the groundwork for a positive outcome.

What an RFP Usually Contains

If you, a tech writer, were set with a task to develop an RFP, the first thing you should do is learn what parts should be included.

General Information

First of all, provide the project name and basic company information:

  • Company name
  • Company address
  • Points of contact

It is also nice to include an overview of the company. Like, when it was founded, what your core values are, what you do, etc. This kind of information would be of interest to potential bidders.

Project Overview

Give a brief overview of the project at hand, formulate the problem statement.

Project Goals and Service Scope

This is by far the most important section of an RFP. This is where you formulate goals and explain the requirements. Remember to make sure the goals are SMART, and the scope of work is as detailed as possible.

Project Timeline

It is important to set a realistic timeline for the project. This section will be extremely useful for vendors - they will be able to see right away if they fit within the time frames and evaluate their resources before starting to bid.

a guy giving a presentation

Proposal Elements

List everything that you expect to find in proposals from contractors. They will be preparing it based on this very section. Don’t expect them to read your mind and propose the things you need out of nowhere - this rarely is the case. Instead, be very specific, and the best contractors can do is follow your description precisely. For example, you can ask for a company’s portfolio, for client reviews, for a thorough description of the team that is going to work on the project - their experience in the sphere and skills, for a presentation explaining the steps they will take to carry out this project, for a cost sheet, etc.

Budget

Make the budget reasonable and wait for what the vendors propose in return. Sometimes, to win a project, contractors will name a lesser price, be careful with this, if you think that your price is adequate, this might be an ill indication.

Best Tools to Create an RFP

A consistent and professionally-looking RFP will help you attract the best agencies and contractors to the project. This is why choosing the apt tools to write it is so important. Creating an RFP using help authoring software for technical writers is the preferable option here. Here’s why using a modern and flexible tool like ClickHelp can help you accomplish the goal of developing a high-quality RFP:

  • The document will be branded and consistent with the corporate style guides
  • Your team can collaborate easily when developing an RFP
  • You can choose any convenient format for the final document or host it online in your documentation portal
  • You can make an RFP private and only share it with certain agencies

laptop on the white table

Conclusion

A good RFP can save you from miscommunication with vendors, help them follow through with the project deadlines and contribute to the overall project success. Remember that the main idea behind an RFP is eliminating ambiguities and gray areas for the bidders. This is what lays the basis for fruitful and smooth partnership.

Good luck with your technical writing!
ClickHelp Team
Author, host and deliver documentation across platforms and devices

 

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