What do you put in a project proposal and a project plan?

What are the minimum components in a project proposal and a project plan? If you are going to write a project proposal, it is useful to have a checklist of the minimum components that should be included to make it a good proposal. This also applies to writing a project plan. Certain parts are often forgotten when writing such plans. This article provides guidance for drawing up these plans.

Write a project proposal

If you want to start a project, you first write a project proposal. This project proposal allows company or program management to determine whether the project is sufficiently viable to start the project. The project proposal forms the basis for the project plan. The project proposal is divided into seven parts.

The components of a project proposal

The following components must at least be included in the project proposal:

  • the background / introduction
    • the context in which the project is located
    • the reason to start the project
  • the project definition
    • the project objectives
    • the reach (the scope) and the demarcation
    • the most important project results
    • the preconditions
    • the relationships with other projects
  • the main points of the business case
    • the contribution(s) of the project results to the business or program management strategy
    • the reasons why the project is being started
  • the project tolerances
  • the customer’s quality expectations
  • the acceptance criteria
  • recognized risks

The quality of the project proposal

A good project proposal meets the following requirements:

  • the proposal is in line with an earlier project exploration
  • the proposal provides a good, coherent picture of the entire project
  • the proposal provides sufficient basis for management to determine the project
  • the proposal forms a good basis for the project plan to be drawn up
  • the proposal provides sufficient clarity about the client’s acceptance criteria

Write a project plan

Once you have written the project proposal and received management approval, you can start drawing up the project plan. The project plan describes in broad terms how, by whom, with what, when and at what costs the project result will be achieved. The project plan is the basis for the start of the implementation of the project. Only after the project plan has been approved by management can implementation begin.

The components of a project plan

The following six components must at least be included in the project plan:

  • a plan description and the scope
  • the project conditions
  • the external dependencies
  • the plan assumptions
  • a (graphic) representation of:
    • the coherence of the various products to be delivered
    • the product descriptions
    • a planning of the activities
    • a time schedule
    • the project budget
    • the change budget
    • the necessary people and resources
    • the project tolerances
  • an inventory of possible risks

The quality of the project plan

Once you have written the project plan, it must have sufficient body to serve as a basis for the implementation of the project. It is important that you have made the plan SMART, Specific Measurable Acceptable Realistic Time-bound, so that there are no more ambiguities. In addition, the project plan must provide a good description of the project and must form a good basis for guidance, for example by a steering group.

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