There are plenty of articles about how to write a good Web Design and Development RFP - we even have one on my company's Web site. But despite this, we still get some Request for Proposals that are fairly incomplete, and end up requiring a lot of explanation. But here's a few quick tips that really help reduce the confusion and help you get a much more accurate proposal:
- If you THINK it might be helpful, please include it. This could be that your Web server is located at the North Pole and only has FTP access every 2nd week on Wednesday at 10PM, or it could be something a lot more mundane. Either way... it can seriously help a vendor prepare their bid.
- Check your terminology. If you have a consultant (or even a friend) that is more knowledgeable about language and terminology, consult them to make sure you are stating things correctly. Some times, in trying to SOUND too technical, you might end up saying the wrong thing, and just causing confusion.
- Admit what you DON'T know. If you need strategic assistance, or even help determining what it is that you need, it's okay. Maybe you need to include a 'Phase 1' that is a strategic planning phase. Even if there is a very small budget for this, it might save tens of thousands of dollars (if not more) down the road to have a real strategic plan in place.
- Don't be afraid to ask follow-up questions. Every vendor has their own way of responding to an RFP, but that doesn't have to be your problem. If you get such a wide variety of responses that it's like comparing apples to oranges, figure out a way to level the playing field by asking follow up questions.
And like I said, there's plenty more articles out there... good luck.