Small Planet has been designing and developing mobile applications for clients since 2009, and we’ve seen and responded to a lot of RFPs (Requests for Proposal) during that time.
Every RFP should cover the basics on both your company and the responding agency. Things like business description, company history, project description, stakeholders, project timelines, platforms for delivery, differentiators, etc.
Before you draft a line-by-line Request for Proposal, have a look at this Mobile RFP Pre-Flight Checklist first.
Things You Need to Tell the Agency
What does your app do? What do you envision as the key features or functionality? Can you define its core purpose in one sentence?
Who are the users? It’s tempting, I know, but don’t say “everybody.” Be ruthlessly specific to start.
What is the value proposition? What problem is it solving or how is it making life better or easier? Why will users want your app?
How is it different than apps that already exist? What do you hope to get out of it, and what are you trying to achieve from a business perspective?
Do you have a monetization strategy or is it part of a marketing effort?
What is your time to market and what are your initial thoughts on budget? In the early stages of planning, it’s easy to think you have way more time than you actually do. The sooner you can have a pragmatic conversation around schedule and budget, the better.
Things You Need to Ask the Agency
Who are your clients and what apps have you made with them? Good agencies have a ready list of current and recent clients who can provide references and input. Make sure you ask to speak with them.
What work have you done that is directly relevant to our project? It may not necessarily be a dealbreaker if the agency hasn’t done the exact thing you’re looking for, especially if you are trying to innovate. But it’s certainly a boost if they have experience that relates to specific elements of your project.
How successful are the apps you’ve made? Awards, rankings, downloads, reviews and active usage. If they can reveal it, what were the success metrics for a given project, and how did they meet those goals?
How long has your current list of clients been actively engaged with you? Do they form long-term partnerships with their clients? Have they had repeat engagements with the same client? In other words, have they been able to establish trust over time with successful products?
Who exactly will be on my project? What do they do? How long have they been at the agency? Who on the pitch team will (and won’t) be involved?
If you can deliver good, clear answers to the first set of questions, and get good, clear answers to the second set, you are hitting the key points.
All the other stuff, like back-ends, operating systems and device selection, project process, analytics, post-launch, etc. will be tackled. But first things first.