Four Steps to a Great Project Proposal

Why do projects exist? More often than not projects exist to solve a particular problem. The key to writing an excellent project proposal that ultimately gets funded is to understand the problem.
Four Steps to a Great Project Proposal

Understanding The Problem Will Increase The Chances of Your Project Proposal Being Approved

It can be very frustrating getting a project started particularly when you work for any organisation that approves funding and resources for all projects. This is because organisations can not afford to waste money. Even a large oil company has shareholders that the directors are accountable to make sure every penny counts. To get you project funded you need to convince the holders of the purse strings that your project is worth funding. The easiest and best way to do this is to focus on what is the problem that needs fixing and how much in money terms is it costing the organisation. By being able to articulate clearly and concisely what the situation is you are more likely to get your project funded.

Concorde was the solution to the wrong problem. Click To Tweet

The Four Steps to Starting a Project Proposal

Understand The Problem

The key to starting a project is to understand the problem. If you do not understand the problem, you may end up building the wrong solution. For example, think about Concorde. While it did cost a lot it did successfully do what it was designed to do which was transport people as quickly as possible so why then is there no Concorde or any supersonic passenger aircraft today? The reason is when Concorde was developed is was to solve the wrong problem. Airlines do not want to transport passengers as quickly as possible at a high cost. The airlines want aircraft to transports as many people as possible as cheaply as possible. If this problem were properly understood, then Concorde would have to end up being completely different and still flying today. So make sure you fully understand the problem you are trying to fix.

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The Impact

With the problem fully understood the next step is to identify what the impact is. Using Concorde as an example, if the cost of air travel had been properly understood as the problem; then, the impact would be high cost. High cost means people travel less and therefore, the airlines make less money. With less money, there would be less airline companies and therefore a shortage of buyers for new aircraft. This, in turn, would push the price up for new aeroplanes which would then push the price of travel up even further. By fully understanding the impact of the problem it starts to become easier to justify why the project is needed.

Who is Affected

With the impact completed the next part is easy as it is just listing who is affected by the problem. In our example, this would be the airlines, their passengers, the aircraft manufacturers, etc. The key here is to try and list as many as possible as this will help you later with your communication plan.

Successful Outcome

Now that the right problem is identified the next part is the vision, what would a successful outcome be. While you still have to remain realistic try not to be limited by thinking about budget. It may be that the vision can be achieved in a slightly different way once solutions are examined to solve the problem. In our aircraft example say Star Trek like teleports would not be a realistic successful outcome even if it would address the problem. However, stating a successful solution is an aeroplane that would use less fuel than current aeroplanes and could transport 800 would be a great outcome.


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