Skip to main content

How a Developer Reads Proposal Requests and Requirement Documents

Requests for Proposals (RFPs) are a way for companies to find the best products and services at competitive prices. They’re also an evaluation method for discovering the “perfect fit” for a particular project.

You might think that most companies shopping for web development services usually know what they want. Very often, the opposite is true. It’s common for companies to have little to no experience writing the details needed for a web development project.

For developers, there’s something very fulfilling about finding solutions to help their clients accomplish their goals. How can developers make sure a certain project is a good fit and is worth pursuing?

Here are 5 guidelines developers use to constructively read proposal requests and requirement documents. Understanding these criteria will help you work more effectively with your developer.

1. Who are you and what are you trying to do with your finished project?

The first and most important thing to do is help your developer get to know your business or organisation and what you’re trying to accomplish. What is your mission? How long have you been in business? What problem are you trying to solve? What’s your understanding of the problem? Are you looking for a brand new website, a redesign, or hosting?

Even if you’re not totally sure what you’re looking for in the end, your developer can help you figure it out and make a plan. Trust is an important part of this relationship. Be sure that your developer is working with you to accomplish your end goal.

2. What do you want vs. what do you need?

Companies looking for web development services know what they want. They don’t usually know what they need. For example, you might want a WordPress site, but if you need a lot of custom functionality, WordPress might not be the right platform.

The developer’s job is to know the tech and try to match it with your goal. Keep in mind that you might not be able to afford the right solution immediately. This is why the next step is important in helping the developer decide the best strategy for your current state.

3. What is the scope of work?

Make sure you clearly define the scope of work. This is a section in the RPF that captures and specifies the work activities, deliverables, and timeline to be achieved with the project.

The scope of work should carefully explain the details of the proposed plan and help developers determine if they have the expertise and resources in the required areas.

Certain questions should be answered:

  • If you’ve already started the project, what’s been completed?
  • What will your developer do after the project is over?
  • What are the estimated timelines to complete specific objectives?

These questions should be openly discussed and clearly outlined in your RPF.

4. What is your budget?

It’s always important to determine the budget for any proposal request. Is the suggested budget aligned with your goals? How do you plan to pay for the service? What functionality will you cut – if any – from the project first if it begins to go over budget?

5. Are you flexible?

Keep in mind that you want to work with a web development company you can trust. During the development process, they may make mistakes, and you might, too. You should remain flexible when it comes to the items in your RFP and forgive your developer when something unexpected happens.

It’s also critical to have a contact person who you can talk with when you have questions about the project. Open communication allows the developer to clearly understand you and find out what you really want.


Reading RFPs effectively is essential in helping developers figure out if something is worth investing their time, energy and resources. It’s the key to building and sustaining a healthy relationship between socially-minded enterprises and web development services. Knowing how to successfully craft yours could be the difference between a well-organised project and a frustrating one.

Do you have a project that needs expertise to implement your vision? Do you need help translating your idea into technical details? Contact us today to address your concerns and turn your goal into a reality.

Picture of Barry O'Kane

About the author

Barry O'Kane

Barry is the founder of HappyPorch. With 20 years in the web development industry as a programmer and agency owner, he has a preternatural ability to decipher the systems and processes code that holds many teams back from achieving their goals. Partners say Barry gets to the root of issues quickly and makes it downright easy to deliver good work.    

While he's unbelievably grounded, it's not uncommon to find him sailing through the trees as he paraglides his way round the world.