Essential Ingredients to Effective Project Proposals

Essential Ingredients to Effective Project Proposals

A project proposal that is effective will convert and contribute easily, catch the attention of decision-makers, and make the right impact. Effective project proposals are based on a thorough and complete understanding of the issue at hand.
Situation or “status”
Complex situations that are related to opportunities, threats and strengths; or, in other words, an extension of “status”.
Clear statements that define the problem and the needs and requirements. Usually the “what”
Solution hypothesis is the “going in” position that includes potential benefits and features. It also incorporates the “why”. This metric also includes an explanation of the advantages of a particular proposal over others.

Scope, Objectives, and Goals
The project scope is usually a broad statement that addresses both the problem and the solution hypothesis. It defines the boundaries of what the solution hypothesis covers and excludes. The project is often divided into phases such as analysis, planning and design, construction, enhancements and maintenance. The scope can be used to define the overall project or phases within it. However, objectives are general statements that define the direction of a project. Goals are specific results that must be achieved by the project. There should be no more than seven objectives, or no less than three. Approach is a written narrative supported by statistics, facts and metrics. It is supported by a self-explanatory plan that outlines how goals and objectives will be achieved. This work plan breaks down all activities into segments, phases, and tasks, with associated schedules, work days, and resource estimates. Resources include human skills, equipments, and materials. While the work plan is well supported by the assumptions for quality assurance reviews, availability of resources, sign-offs and schedules can be defined over time in the form of securely loaded milestones/activities. A work plan can help you determine the right critical path. Expected Results and Deliverables Clearly define the results and end-deliverables for intermediate milestones. Include statements of benefits, features and quality standards. If the project is a part of a larger program or a phase, a deliverable should be used as the plan for the next phase. Beyond the deliverables, it is important to clearly define the expected results. For example, the learning and experience gained by the project team or the positive impact on the entire organization. Governance The roles, responsibilities and structure of the project should be clearly defined. This includes the beneficiaries, advocates, sponsors, project managers, the organization in the team, and the steering committee. It is also important to define the approach to quality assurance reviews, progress reports, audits, signoffs, and approvals. Costs Project costs are usually based on deliverables and governance. They should be presented with allowances for unplanned activities and performance variances. All costs must be presented as estimates based on the assumptions made in the approach. These costs should not be attributed to downstream work phases. Instead, they should be regarded as approximations in relation to future refinements. Call for Action: This is a description and linkage of the following steps and schedules.