New System Request for Proposal (RFP) Outline


Quick Summary
A comprehensive RFP template for new systems proposal requests, along with guidelines for RFP success and detailed annotations. Customize this template to fit your software system or co-development project and shave weeks off your RFP selection time.


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What this is

This template provides an annotated outline of a Request for Proposal (RFP) or Request for Quote (RFQ) seeking new system development. It provides guidelines and sections primarily geared to purchasing or developing a system upgrade, but could be modified to develop an RFP seeking a completely new solution such as a project management tool or SAP system, or even to find a co-development partner.


Why it's useful

A well-written, comprehensive RFP/RFQ is a key component of any system development project involving outsourcing. By providing a complete, concise, detailed explanation of your business needs, required features, and design constraints, you make it easier for potential vendors to understand and address your problems. Providing a fixed format for responses also simplifies the selection committee's task by allowing them to compare apples to apples.

This template provides a solid framework for you to begin building an RFP that will garner good proposals in response, without having to start from scratch, and potentially saving you weeks or even months of work. By starting with a high-level overview of what your RFP should contain, you can begin to construct selection strategies and scoring criteria; add or eliminate sections and extend your internal inquiries to match; even farm out sections you know will need attention to appropriate internal departments like legal, purchasing, or marketing to speed up the writing process.


How to use it

  • Review the outline as a whole to get a feel for the sections and information that you may want to include in your RFP. Then go through the outline at a closer level and make notes about sections you may want to add, modify, or remove entirely to construct your RFP.
  • Assemble your project documentation and begin drafting your actual RFP text. This might take place in meetings if you are writing by committee, or you may want to collaborate with or solicit input from other departments like legal, marketing, or purchasing.
  • When you have a solid first draft, have your project stakeholders review it and provide input. You will probably find that there are several additions and modifications at this point. Keep referring to your documented requirements to keep the reviews and modifications on track. Changes to the RFP that would effect change in the system requirements should be documented according to your change management procedures.

See the file for guidelines on when you should consider writing an RFP, tips for writing a successful RFP that generates better proposal responses, and advice on customizing the outline for different kinds of projects.


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