A request for proposal (RFP) is a document that an organization posts to elicit bids from potential vendors for a product or service. For example, a new business or a business moving from a paper-based system to a computer-based system might request proposals for all the hardware, software, and user training required to establish and integrate the new system into the organization. Another business might draft an RFP for a custom-written computer application they wanted to outsource.
The quality of an RFP is very important to successful project management because it clearly delineates the deliverables that will be required. A request for quotation (RFQ) is sometimes posted when the requirements are very clear-cut - for example, in the purchase of hardware.