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Tips for Creating a Project Proposal Outline

Tips for Creating a Project Proposal Outline


A project proposal is the selling point for a budding project. It is an important document that convinces stakeholders and sponsors to support your project plan. Although every bid will differ, the format is essentially the same. The focus is on the content of the anticipated plan.

Before writing any proposal, keep in mind who you will be pitching this plan to. Be prepared to answer questions such as:

– What problems are you attempting to resolve?
– How does the plan align with the strategic goals of the organization?
– How will you measure success?
– What are some deliverables?
– What is the budget?
– What are some issues or risks?

A project proposal is designed to answer such questions. Most project proposals are divided into six parts:

1. Executive Summary: This is the elevator pitch. A way to capture your sponsor’s attention.
2. History: Puts your project into a context.
3. Requirements: What business problem this project will solve?
4. Solution: How do you plan to solve this problem?
5. Authorization: The people who will authorize the project.
6. Appendix: Supporting documentation for the proposal.

The following five tips will help you create a winning project proposal:


Plan Ahead

The proposal is similar to a mini project. Apply all your experience and management skills towards defining all the steps in writing this proposal. Don’t forget to include what resources you’ll use and how long it will take to accomplish your goals.

Include research as well as float time to accommodate delayed data requests. Be ready to answer questions and engage in discussions with executives and sponsors. You want to speak intelligently about your proposal so have some research prepared to back up what you’re pitching.

Write a Stellar Executive Summary

Being able to grab the audience’s attention in the opening pitch is key to getting them excited to hear your proposal. The executive summary must sound exciting, address problems that require resolution and or define opportunities that might be profitable.

Don’t forget to supply a summary of facts, i.e., what’s the problem, goal or need? What’s your intended solution? What are some of the benefits and costs of your solutions? Draft and present this section with enthusiasm. Don’t be timid with the wording or assume the data will do all the talking for you. Numbers only seem interesting if they’re presented as such. You may further amaze your audience by acknowledging the issue and risks in the project.

The best executive summary is a blend of due diligence and research.

Be Succinct

Good writing should be clear, concise and written as per your audience, Articulate details without getting caught up in excess verbiage. This can be achieved by adhering to the facts. Make your argument in a stepwise manner by presenting your data. Keep in mind that a majority of users will not read everything you’ve written in the proposal. They’ll scan the document and look for information that will validate the claim.

Explain the Process

Write clear and defined goals. Use objectives to explain in detail how you plan to achieve those goals. Stick to the Five Ws rule: Who, What, Where, When and Why? To help set up better goals, implement the SMART method. This stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. Ask whether your goals follow this format.

Rely on Past Examples

Use historical data, in particular from previous successful projects to lay a solid foundation for your proposal. By connecting your pitch to prior projects, you will be able to explain why this is a viable project. Finding data to support your plan will lead you to victory.

For more tips on how to create a better project proposal outline, visit ViduPM.