What Is a Project Proposal?

Whatever your project, your proposal should identifty the process and plan for implementation and management.
Whatever your project, your proposal should identifty the process and plan for implementation and management. (Image: Digital Vision/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

If you are looking for support for a new initiative or project, completing a project proposal is the first step toward seeing your vision become reality. Project proposals are designed to show the process used to implement the project, what steps you will take to manage the project, the resources you will need, and how you will determine success.


Demonstrating how your project will be implemented provides your proposal with a tangible plan of action. In your project proposal, identify the factors leading to implementation of the proposal from describing logistics to naming the project team. Provide a schedule for implementation, including a target date and finish date, as well as the organizational structure of implementing your plan.

Project Management

The project management section is the “nuts and bolts” of your proposal. When listing how you will manage your project, you’ll examine all aspects of the plan. Describe how you will manage such issues as communication, scheduling, quality control, cost control, risk assessment, and asset management, including the management of staff time and resources. You’ll want to make sure what you are promising is realistic and, most importantly, deliverable. This is the heart of your proposal, where you will explain how you will get the project done, how long it will take, and what resources you will need.


Your project proposal is incomplete without mentioning budget issues. Cost can be a major factor in getting a proposal approved or relegated to the “parking lot.” Your budget should be carefully planned, paying attention to such factors as staffing, especially if you will need to recommend new hires, and resources such as new equipment or property to be purchased. Cost, though, is just one-half of the equation. Your project, to see the light of day, must also include a benefit as well, preferably something that can be valued in dollars and cents. Include a revenue projection, from the first year of implementation to a few years out. Your project may not be profitable during the implementation phase but you want to show the value over time, or risk losing out to another project that can prove its worth.


Your project proposal should also include a means to measure success. Success, depending on the project, can be shown in different ways. You can measure success through a dollar amount or a profit margin but success can also be measured by lives changed or advances in technology, procedure, or health and quality of life. Whatever your measure of quality, your project proposal should include a tangible way to measure success and an idea of how your project will be deemed successful.

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