Strategy and InnovationApp Development

How to Write an Excellent Mobile Strategy RFP

We see hundreds of mobile and digital strategy RFPs a year, so we felt it would be helpful to the industry to aggregate the Best Practices from these RFPs and generate a mobile or digital strategy RFP Template. Choosing the best mobile development or design agency for your project is the foundation of its future success. Large projects that entail mobile UX, strategy, development have many moving parts, our RFP template aims to address those unique requirements. However, if your mobile or digital product strategy is complete, and you’re ready to design and develop an app or website, then take a look at our Mobile RFP Template

To receive a copy of this Sample RFP in Word format, please send a request using our contact form, and we’ll be happy to send it to you.

Notes and prompts are in italics and are intended for the Issuer of the RFP. They should be removed prior to distribution of RFP to potential Responders.

1. Project Summary/Purpose

In this section the Issuer’s goal is to give Responders sufficient context to propose real and complete solutions — some (or even many) of the items below will be created as an output of a strategy engagement, but if the Issuer already has completed some or much of this work, providing it to Responders as part of the RFP process is invaluable to getting a fully informed response.

  • Summary of Business Problem: What core business problem is the mobile or digital solution designed to address? What are the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)? What was the origin of the concept and how has it evolved?
  • Stakeholders & Decision Makers: Who is leading the project? Who are other stakeholders and what is their level of involvement? Whose budget will this come out of? Who are the final decision makers?
  • Scope: Is this a mobile- or digital-only solution or part of a larger project that includes non-digital components? Does this product establish a new line of business or enhance an existing one?
  • Users: Who are the end users of the app? What persona and or journey-mapping work has been done? Any other pre-existing user research that can be provided?
  • Features: What analysis/ranking of features has been conducted? What methodologies were used?
  • Competitive Landscape: Do competitors have solutions in the market? What are their strengths and weaknesses? Are there non-competing but analogous experiences that inspire the solution?
  • Solutions Considered: What strategy or market research has been conducted to this point? What solutions have been considered? What are the current “acceptable” solutions and why were the others rejected?
  • Operating Systems (OS) & Devices: Which devices and Operating Systems will be supported? If yes, what drove those selections? If mobile, how has the decision of native apps vs. mobile web vs. both been considered? Are these decisions final or still open?
  • Architecture / Integration: How will the overall system be architected? What back end systems/data sources will the mobile apps be interfacing with? Do these systems currently exist? If so, provide access for the agencies to review the APIs/feeds as part of the RFP process. If not, what is the timeline/process for building them? Will the agency be asked to assist in the architecture and/or development of the APIs/feeds?
  • Marketing / Distribution: How will this product be promoted and distributed to end users? What will drive engagement and ongoing repeat usage?
  • Target Timeline & Drivers: What is the target launch date and what drives that date as the target (e.g. a certain event)? Are there other dependencies required to hit this date (e.g. APIs/feeds that need to be built)?
  • Goals & Ideal Outcome: What is the financial model? What other quantifiable goals are there? What are the soft/qualitative goals (e.g. supporting a certain brand image)? What are the potential costs of failure (i.e. delivering a poorly designed, slow or buggy app, or missing timelines)? How and with what frequency will goals be measured?

2. Mobile / Digital Agency Background & Capabilities

The Issuer’s goal here to find an agency that can demonstrate (i) Creativity/Design Competence; (ii) Strategy/Research Capabilities; and (iii) Deep Technical Expertise that can inform recommendations. Many mobile or digital strategy projects end up failing because there was insufficient early emphasis placed on ensuring technical viability. The questions below are designed to help Issuers pinpoint real differences among responding Agencies:

  • Summary/History: How did the agency start? Who is the executive team and what is their background? What is the mission of the agency?
  • Differentiators: How does the company differentiate itself vs. competitors?
  • Awards: Please summarize your top awards or other examples of thought leadership in the space. What made these projects so successful?
  • HR & Hiring Processes: Please provide highlights of your work culture, any ratings/awards in this area and please summarize your hiring process. [Since the Issuer is ultimately buying the capabilities of the Agency’s team, it’s critically important to understand how the team has been created].
  • Strategy Portfolio: Please give a short summary of at least two strategy projects and/or assessments you have done in the past and the outcome. Sharing specific return on investment data should be emphasized.
  • Assessment of Current Products:
    • [If a current app/mobile site will be updated as part of this project, provide it to the Responders and let them give feedback]. Please perform a design and code assessment and make at least three significant suggestions for design and development improvement.
    • [If there is NOT a current app/mobile site but competitors have versions live]. Please perform a design assessment of the following (up to two) apps/mobile sites and elaborate on what you like and what you would approach differently.
    • [If initial wireframes or designs have already been created, Issuers should have the Responders review them and give thoughts/feedback.  Issuers will learn a great deal about how each Responder thinks and will likely receive some valuable design improvements].  Please perform a quick design assessment of our current designs, and provide your suggestions for improvement.
  • Research:
    • What is the size/capabilities/background of your Research team?
    • What do you look for when hiring researchers?
    • Please provide some sample team member resumes.
    • What tools and approaches does your Research team utilize?
    • What methods does your team use to recruit users for research?
    • Please give examples of some “breakthrough” user or other discoveries made by your research team?
    • What are typical outputs?
  • UX / Design Team:
    • What is the size/capabilities/background of your UX/Design team?
    • What do you look for when hiring Designers?
    • Please provide resume of your head of UX team and sample team member resumes and portfolios.
    • What tools and approaches do they utilize?
    • How will the UX/Design team play a role in this project and what will the outputs be?
    • [If this project includes a current app/mobile site that will be updated as part of this project, Issuers should provide it to the Responders and let them give feedback as this will force the agencies to show how they think and would approach the problem].
  • Architecture / Dev Team:
    • What is the size/capabilities/background of your Development team?
    • What do you look for when hiring Architects? Please provide some sample team member resumes.
    • How will the Development team play a role in this project and what will the outputs be?
    • [Issuers should require every agency’s feedback on any architecture decisions that have made].  Please review the following [APIs, Feeds, Data Sources, etc.] and explain your thoughts on their applicability and state of readiness for this project.
    • [Issuers should ask Responders for an architectural review of existing apps or websites].
  • References: Please provide two references of similar projects. Interviews with the references will be limited to 10 minutes.

3. Project Proposal

The Issuer’s goal here is to ensure the mobile agency understands the business needs, has enough of an interest to put real thought into a proposal, and can meet timelines and budgets. In addition, the Issuer will get insight into how the Agency approaches these types of problems, and how seriously the Agency is taking this potential project.

  • Team: Who would the team consist of, if it started today? List both roles/responsibilities as well as names/resumes (with the understanding that names may change based on project launch date).
  • Project Approach: Please summarize your approach to the project, and what you believe will be major variables/risks that will drive success/failure based on our goals.  What will drive consumer, client or internal/enterprise user adoption and use?  How can those risks best be managed on our side and your side?
  • Timeline/Budgets:
    • Please propose a timeline for project completion.
    • Please propose both a time and materials estimate and fixed budget proposal.
    • Please provide an estimate for the project’s research budget (e.g. user research incentives, recruiting costs, etc.)
  • Outputs:  Please provide the specific outputs we can expect from this project.

4. RFP Process

  • Decision Criteria: How will the Issuer choose whom to work with? What will be the criteria and how will they be ranked?
  • Establish Timeline For: (1) Initial RFP Distribution (2) Responder Submission of Questions (and QA session if applicable) (3) Question Replies (4) Final Submissions

To receive a copy of this Sample RFP in Word format, please send a request using our contact form, and we’ll be happy to send it to you.

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