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The Role of the Project Proposal Through the Project Life Cycle

written by: Tara Duggan • edited by: Ginny Edwards • updated: 6/26/2014

The role of the project proposal through the project life cycle is usually to ensure the project team stays on target achieving the original intent. Business professionals write short proposals to convince a sponsor to approve the development effort. They use the proposal to generate more plans.

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    Project management process groups Project managers write a project proposal to obtain approval for a project. Directed towards sponsors and stakeholders, the document describes the problem the team wants to solve, specific objectives of the effort, the approach planned for development and delivery and the anticipated results or outcomes of the proposed project.

    The proposal should help the sponsor decide if the project is worth the time, money and effort required to complete the work. It identifies the estimated budget, duration and administrative personnel necessary to work on the project. Once the project gets approved, the project manager uses the project proposal through the project life cycle to assign project resources and establish the tasks and milestones.

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    Used by Sponsors and Stakeholders

    Project sponsors and stakeholders typically use the information in a project proposal through the project life cycle to prioritize its funding and resource allocation. Later on, as the project progresses, they refer back to it to ensure the original goals are met by the current status reports. If the original problem no longer exists or the solution fails to meet its intended objective, adjustments to the project may be required.

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    Used by Administrative Personnel

    Administrative personnel, such as project leaders or managers, use the information in the project proposal, such as the project title, objectives and milestones, to set up project documentation and the work environment. For example, a project manager usually creates a collaborative website for all team members to share documents, get information and ask questions. Using the information contained in a project proposal, the project manager can create a Sharepoint site or other collaborative website to ensure all participants have access to timely information.

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    Used by Vendors

    Project managers usually share their project proposals with third-party vendors who work on the project so that the goals and objectives are clear to everyone involved. By defining the project methodology, everyone involved in the project knows the how the identified problem will be handled in order to produce a successful outcome. The constraints, such as the time and money allowed for the project, often determine the techniques used by vendors to handle the project tasks, such as product design, development and production. Project sponsors and managers use the criteria specified in the project proposals to evaluate vendor output.

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    Project proposals define information used through the project life cycle. The project description, time line, issue summary and proposed solution allow sponsors and stakeholders to decide whether to make the investment in the effort. At the end of the project, these same criteria can be used to compare the results to the original strategic objectives. A robust project proposal establishes the scope and boundaries of the project so that subsequent planning and execution proceed without misunderstandings on the part of administrative personnel, team members or vendors hired to complete specific work. The project proposal usually describes the resources required to complete the work and the skills and experience needed to do so. By setting up the roles and responsibilities early on in the project, the document serves as a valuable reference point for all team members throughout the project life cycle.

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    References and Image Credit

    Shore, Arnold, and John M. Carfora. The art of funding and implementing ideas: a guide to proposal development and project management. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage, 2011.

    Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Project Management Institute