A project proposal is a document that illustrates a proposed plan and its objective, results, and the initiatives required to complete the project. The fundamental purpose of this document is to communicate how an organization, team, or individual plans to approach a project.
The project proposal serves as the operational document between the company and the client before a potential commencement of the project. Therefore, the project proposal is used to delineate the objectives and requirements of a project for external stakeholders. Since the basic object of the project proposal is to have the client buy into your services, it is an amazing way to acquire finances, draw new clients, or persuade executives to allot resources to projects.
Writing an effective project proposal entails being in sync with the clients’ requirements: you ought to think like them and make out precisely what they want to achieve with the project.
Here are the key points that a successful project proposal must include:
Before you start coming up with an outline of your project proposal, you need to take into account a few things, including:
You need to recognize your audience — which may include the company executives or decision-makers — and ascertain the relationships between them, for each stakeholder may have their objectives and priorities. Depending on your audience, you may have to write numerous versions of the project proposal.
For instance, if the proposal is for the head of the technology department, you would do well to include jargon and technical language. But if you’re dealing with a small business owner, it’s best to use simple, easily understandable language, with the proposal underlining the project’s positive effect on the company’s result.
There are six different types of business project proposals:
This type of proposal should be used when you’re responding to an official request for proposal. This is arguably the easiest type of proposal to draft as the potential client or customer delineates or specifies what they’re looking for in it.
This type of proposal is almost similar to the informally solicited proposal except for the fact that the information in the proposal is not clearly outlined in an official document or request. You typically write this document when a client or customer is interested in what you’ve got to offer and asks for a proposal.
The type of proposal is like a cold call. You could send an unsolicited proposal if you come across a potential customer and believe you are offering precisely what your client needs. This is one of the most difficult types of proposals to write as you’ll have to do considerable research upfront and be very persuasive in how you put forth your ideas.
This type of proposal will be needed if you want to send a reminder or an update about a continuing project that’s already been approved. The continuation proposal is one of the easiest to write unless the customer wants key changes in it.
Once you’ve completed a project and you want to make a case for the constant support, then you ought to use this type of proposal. When it comes to renewal proposals do ensure to provide substantial proof why it’s useful to continue with the project.
Finally, this type of proposal is kept for when you need approval for additional resources for the project. It’s important to furnish reasons and justify why you need those resources. Then, create an updated evaluation of what the project will take to complete.
Since you want your proposal to speak to the company’s executives and decision-makers, and then persuade them to greenlight the project, you must consider the following key steps to come up with a convincing document.
Define the problem
First, you should explain the problem, why it is worth solving, and what it is that your project is seeking to address. And the best way you can define the problem is by starting strong. This means to ensure that the pain point is pithily described and in a way that resonates with them since decision-makers typically don’t allocate much time to look over a proposal.
Also, you must ensure that you avoid being opinionated, and describe facts only, by using data from your research to support your assertions.
Present your solution
You should ensure to have a method in place that could solve the problem. You should also discuss why other solutions won’t do for the situation at hand, by being prepared to expect questions and objections while defending your solution from all perspectives. You should also be able to explain why your more costly solution is better than a cheaper one, for example.
Develop SMART goals
To make it a success, you must include a delivery date in your proposal. Also explain what your project will deliver and what users expect from it, as well as indicating when you seek to complete each deliverable.
Besides, your solution must have SMART goals, as your success criteria will hugely rely on them. Make sure your goals are clear, concise and specific, attainable, relevant, and time-based.
Mention your plan or method
This is the most important part of the proposal and describes how to achieve the project’s aims. It begins with a description of the method and why it’s pertinent and effective. It also states how glitches will be managed.
Plan your schedule and budget
This is the section where you break down project costs and explain how you will meet deadlines. Furnish as much detail as you can by including all overhead and indirect costs. A thorough financial breakdown will indicate to stakeholders that you’ve done your study and don’t intend to squander their money. Note that certain projects may require financial statements and funding sources.
Most importantly, you must avoid speculative conjectures and provide project start and finish times, and whether specific sections of the project can be done at the same time.
Put it all together
Finish your proposal with a conclusion that briefly summarizes the problem, solution, and advantages. Highlight the important parts, and make your proposal stand out by reiterating ideas or facts you want your audience to remember. Also, refrain from using anything that appears off or barely contributes to the overall objects of the project.
Proofread and edit your proposal
Your proposal must read well, have a smooth flow, be visually appealing, and free from grammar, structural, or spelling errors. And to avoid such hiccups, make sure you properly edit and proofread it. After all, your project should look highly professional to be able to grab the executives’ attention.
Using Kanban Boards to Plan a Project Proposal
Kanban is the project management system you need to visualize your work for agile design and development. It allows you to plan proposals within software and update tasks for the project proposal to indicate what ought to be done and how.
Here are some key elements of Kanban methodology
The major idea of creating a Kanban board is to come up with an effective flow, implying the movement of work items through the design process.
When working with the Kanban methodology, everyone on a team is in sync with each other. At each given moment, every product teammate ought to know what task other team members are working on. To make that happen, it’s key to envisage a process using a board with columns and cards. Work items are signified on the shared kanban board, and all team members have access to this board so that every team member can swiftly update the status of their tasks.
Communication is an important component of project success. The objective of real-time communication is to recognize all problems that impact the product design process, arrange them by urgency, and resolve them swiftly.
During design, it’s alluring to think that two tasks will happen at the same time. But, it’s better to resist the enticement to work on another task while you already have a task underway. It’s a known fact that multitasking kills efficiency. The more tasks an individual has to work on concurrently, the more switching context that occurs, and the less productive a person becomes.
Kanban is premised on the idea of changes that can occur at any time. In Kanban, product owners can re-prioritize tasks in a buildup at any given instant. But, since the backlog is detached from ongoing tasks on a Kanban board, re-prioritization won’t impact the team’s performance.
Developing goals and objectives for your project proposal
The goals and objectives section of your proposal states what your organization expects to achieve with your project while spelling out the precise results or outcomes you seek to accomplish. To be able to receive funding, you must convince the funder that your goals are well-intentioned and that you can convincingly realize your objectives.
It’s important to draw your goals and objectives directly to your need statement, and include all pertinent stakeholders in your target population. Also, always take plenty of time to achieve your objectives, and work out how you will measure the change anticipated in each objective. If there is no way to measure an objective, it needs to be changed or dropped.
Whether or not your project is successful relies on the productivity and effectiveness of your proposal.
A company’s executives or decision-makers will not spend considerable time on your proposal to decide if it’s a good or a nonstarter. It’s important, therefore, that your proposal instantly draws their attention, makes them feel interested in the project, and, in turn, drives them to action.