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Project Proposal Development: Applying Project Management Concepts and Skills


This team effort of project proposal development aims to: (1) apply project management concepts and skills to development of an engineering project proposal, and (2) apply planning, scheduling, communication and leadership skills to managing a collaborative, complex, project effort in a virtual environment under very tight time constraint.  

For exercise purpose, this team effort is aimed at developing an inclusive, full-fledged engineering project proposal, including all proposal components that may potentially be included in a real proposal. While preparing a real proposal, you are expected to exercise prudence on deciding which sections to include and at an appropriate level of details. In general, a proposal can be divided into two parts: technical proposal and cost proposal.  In the contracting world, vendors may be asked to submit a technical proposal in the first stage. Only those with a successful technical proposal are invited to submit a cost proposal in the second stage.

What you have to do 

Describe the problem’s background by giving a relevant non-technical description of the background, which helps situate the problem in a proper context. However, it should quickly lead to problem statement (in the next section). Provide only enough relevant problem background to steer reader’s attention to the nature of the problem with a fundamental understanding of its importance and the needs to address it.

Problem Statement

This section presents a formal description of the problem.  It may include a technical definition of the problem.  This section includes a statement specifying the intent of the project with a goal/objective statement for the project.  

Goal: It is a long-term business goal which is usually tied to a business strategy or a strategic road map of the company. A business goal usually can’t be accomplished by a project alone. However, it may be used to highlight the long-term importance of this project proposal, and thus increase the reader’s interest in this project. Skip the effort of relating to a goal, if there is none, or it is not necessary when the objective to be achieved by this project itself is significant enough.

Objective: It is a short-term goal to be accomplished by this project. Each objective must be: “SMART.”  

Objective statements are usually accompanied by enumerating project deliverables. Every engineering project must has at least one deliverable. Each deliverable must be detailed with its functional requirements and technical specifications. These requirements and specifications are critical to successful closure and all phases of project activities.  

Again, goal and objective statements should focus on final results of the project. They are NOT specific project actions, tasks, or activities, which will be defined later.  

Project Scope

This section defines the scope for the project effort. It may include statements of constraints, assumptions, limits, inclusions and exclusions. More specifically,   

a.Project scoping defines the boundary (domain) of the problem and its solution to take on. The scope here is not a statement of work (SOW), which focuses on listing project tasks. It is important to accurately state the project scope, which sets limits on project effort. 

b.Assumptions and constraints are used to confine the interpretation of validity and applicability of the proposed solution.  Assumptions usually are general in nature, while constraints are more specific.  

c.Exclusions and Inclusions are used to further itemize what the project includes or not include. The vendor is likely to focus on exclusions, while the customer may like to focus on inclusions. 

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