A project proposal is an official document that helps to build a professional relationship between an organization and outside contributors. A project proposal outlines your project’s core value proposition. Adding to this, a project proposal helps sell your project.
How to write a project proposal? Things to remember.
A key thing to remember is that people buy from people. Don’t expect the project proposal document that you put together to be taken up by the decision-makers in an organization in isolation of any communication you’ve had with them and award funding and resources and mindshare to that project.
It is important to remember this because you can write the best project proposal document but without the interaction with the concerned people, you have a slim to no chance of getting your project funded. While preparing the project proposal document it’s really important that the project sponsors and the champions of your project go out there and actively lobby the decision-makers of your organization about your project. Use those lobbying sessions and those one on one meetings to refine and hone your understanding of what the problems are in your organization and the benefits that your project can realize, that can strike a chord with those decision-makers.
In developing the project proposal document, it is highly recommended in tandem going out there and actively seeking the feedback of those decision-makers so that feedback helps you refine and forge the sales pitch you put together in your proposal document. The decision-makers are going to decide whether to take up or kill that project within the first five minutes of picking up your project proposal document so it’s really, critical that you make a big impact right at the start of that project proposal document.
The Project Proposal can be divided into different section:
You need to show the organization the problems that you’re having in the organization which could be overcome had your project been in production when those problems occurred. Highlight some specific examples where opportunities were missed or where risk or costs were incurred that the project could have prevented or could have gained access to in terms of opportunities if the project had been delivered by the time of that event.
Now the vision statement is a section that needs to tie your project to the company’s long-range strategy and vision. Without tying your project into your organizational strategy and vision, you run the risk of not having your project being funded because of that reason.
Benefits further expand upon the vision that your project will have. You’re going into a bit more specific details on what are the things your project will deliver, what new capabilities or what costs you’re going to avoid by having the project deliverables in place. Be very specific about the benefits and make sure that they are measurable things.
The deliverables section further goes into another level of decomposition about what the project is going to deliver. It talks about the artifacts which the projects will deliver and how those will be delivered in terms of what the users can expect. A deliverable might be, for example, for a call center project you’re delivering new computer telephony integration.That would be a deliverable when that call center has that equipment.
Success criteria are very important to outline in that project proposal. You need to be able to have smart success criteria which mean it’s specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. These success criteria, once they’re met, give the project owners, the decision-maker, and the stakeholders 100% confidence that your project has achieved success.
5.Deadline/ Plan/ Approach
The next section is talking about how your project is going to achieve the deliverables and success criteria and benefits. It is where the deadlines are listed, where the project plan comes together, and what the approach to delivery might be for your project. Are you going to use external vendors? Are you going to use internal staff? Are you going to use an agile approach to delivering that project or are you going to use a more traditional waterfall method to enable your project to deliver on its deliverables?
It where you pull it together and you show the funding plan for that project and how it’s going to achieve its deadlines against those deliverables.
Now if you find in the first few sections that you’re getting into quite a lot of detail that it’s really important to take the time and consolidate all the high points from these into an executive summary for that document. Put the high-level problem, visions, and benefits in that exec summary.
Ensuring those messages are concise is critical and putting these elements into an executive summary if you find them going long is a really important way for you to quickly communicate those ideas.
It’s important to remember the flow of the document in the proposal. The project proposal needs to tell a story and paint a picture and leave no stone unturned for your decision-makers to ponder. All the items need to mesh with one another.
Your project proposal is one key way for you to communicate your project’s vision and benefits to the organization but a project proposal in itself is not going to sell your project and get it funded and resourced. Only you, champions, and sponsors can do that.