written by: Ryan Tetzlaff
• edited by: Michele McDonough
• updated: 11/24/2011
Need a little help getting your project off the ground? Make sure you have a solid proposal that addresses the major questions that most stakeholders will have. These resources will help.
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Let's Get Started!
Before you start a project, you’ve got to get the green light to proceed from someone. In order to increase your chances of getting your project approved, you should formally propose your project using a standard format. I’ll first cover the components that should be included in a project proposal and then give you some resources where you can download free project proposal templates.
A project proposal template should give reviewers enough information about your proposed project that they can give you the green light for continuing. A basic project proposal template will consist of the following information.
Project Name: What will the project be referred to as? Make sure to pick something descriptive and simple.
Project Manager: Who will be managing this project? If you are unsure, you should probably figure this out before submitting the project proposal. You need to inspire confidence in the project sponsor or the person ultimately making the “go\no-go” decision that this project will be in good hands.
Sponsor(s): Who will ultimately accept or reject the outcome of the project?
Date Request: What is the date of the request?
Project Summary: What is the goal of doing this project? What are the end deliverables you are striving for that will determine whether or not the project was a success? Is it a piece of software? A physical item? A major process change?
Project Resources\Budget: What kind of material resources do you need? What needs to be purchased and how much will it cost? Will you use internal hardware, software or existing tools to carry out the project? You may not have all of the specifics, but it’s important to convey whether or not the project will cost anything out of pocket.
Human Resources: What groups of people will be working on the project team? At this point, it does no good to identify specific people, but rather suggest teams or specific skill sets that you will need. For example, maybe you need someone with specific knowledge in web programming, etc. Try to give an idea of the number of man hours you think the project will take – is this a 20 hour project or a 200 hour project?
Approvals: Be sure to leave a place for your reviewers to approve or deny the project. It’s important to have it in writing so you have your formal document stating whether or not you can continue.
Reviewer Comments: Leave room for the reviewers to enter comments. Maybe they would approve of the project if the budget was 10% less or if you used fewer human resources.
These are just a sampling of items you’d want to have on a project proposal template. You will need to tailor your form with things that are important to your organization. Maybe whether or not a project gets the green light is up to the total cost. Maybe it’s more important to focus on project goals. Expand sections that are important to your organization and exclude sections that aren’t.
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Project Proposal & Initiation Templates
If you don’t feel like building your own form, take a look at these examples for inspiration.
A generic project proposal template is available on Scribd – here. This is a pretty comprehensive document – most likely useful for a larger project or organization. This project proposal template includes the basics, but also includes a section for SWOT analysis and sales impact.
This template from Virginia’s Community Colleges (VCSS) is another comprehensive project proposal template but offers some sections not offered in the one above.
The Virginia Information Technology Agency has some great templates available in both Word and Excel format. Again, this is a pretty lengthy proposal template, but they do include a word document with instructions and guidance for filling out. All of the project template documents are available here.
Hopefully with this information and some example free project proposal templates, you’ll have good luck in getting your projects approved.