How to Write a Good Project Proposal
But before you begin, you need to get in the mind of the people you’re pitching. There are questions you will want to make sure all of those are answered in your project proposal document. These include:
1) What’s the problem you’re trying to solve?
2) How does the project align with your organization’s overall strategic goals?
3) What are the benefits for the user?
4) What are the deliverables?
5) What is the timeframe, what are the deadlines and how do you plan to meet them?
6) What are the resources you’ll need to get the project done on time?
7) What’s the project budget?
8) What are the risks and issues?
9) Who are the people responsible for the project and what are their roles?
10) How will the project be reported?
Most project proposals (including our template) are designed to help you answer all of those questions as you complete your document. Our project proposal Word template, for example, is broken up into these six basic parts:
1) Executive Summary: Think of this as the elevator pitch, it sketches out the project in a way to hook the sponsor.
2) History: Put the project in context, note any precedents and how they can help or hurt the project’s success.
3) Requirements: Describe in detail the business problem the project solves or what opportunity does it take advantage of.
4) Solution: This explains the plan involved in solving the problem or exploit the opportunity.
5) Authorization: Note the people who have authorization throughout the project.
6) Appendix: This is where you attach papers supporting your proposal.
But there are many more ways you can pump up your proposal to make it more effective. Follow these five tips, and you’ll write a winning project proposal every time.
1) Plan Ahead
First, think of the proposal as a project in and of itself (albeit a small project). The best proposal are well researched ones. Be prepared for the eventuality that when bring up the idea to sponsors or executives to meet to discuss the proposal, to actually discuss the project in some detail with them at that time. Finally, ask trusted advisers to review your idea and drafts, as well as provide feedback on mock presentations. Make sure you leave yourself time to incorporate feedback, too.
2) Write a Super Executive Summary
If you cannot wow your audience in your opening pitch, it is going to be that much harder to win them over as you go through the finer details of the proposal during your project proposal presentation.
Make sure you further amaze your sponsors by acknowledging an overview of the risks and issues inherent in the project. By noting them up front in the executive summary, you can address how you’ll mitigate them proactively, and avoid letting your audience stew in a state of worry and what ifs. The best executive summary is a roll up of all the research and due diligence you have put into the rest of your proposal.