What’s a $100k+ Project Proposal Look Like?

Or maybe you don’t think you’ll ever be asked to write one. Well let me dispel that last one first, if you stay in the automation & robotics industry long enough I can guarantee that sooner or later (possibly in your first year) you will be asked to draft a large $100k+ proposal.

It may seem highly unlikely, but don’t be surprised either, keep in mind that if your hired to be the company’s programmer, controls designer or robotics go-to professional than why wouldn’t a company ask you to take the lead for an upcoming project?

It only makes sense, to ask you. They already trust your knowledge, and being new has nothing to do with it. Unless the company has other highly qualified professionals on staff you most certainly will be involved with the launch of the project if not be asked to lead it.

Now the second thing we wanted to cover in this article is when the time comes that to write your own proposal that have you saved this template or at least you’ll remember us. Because today you’re going to be able to steal our template which has been used to plan $25k, $100k and even $350k+ projects.

The Purpose of a Project Proposal

This template may seem ridiculously simple, but it has a successful track record. And we know that to a beginner who has never even planned a large scale project the very idea may seem overwhelming. But once you plan your first couple it becomes pretty easy to put ideas to paper. However, you will need to always keep in mind that there are two primary objectives of a project proposal.

The first is to outline the plan and get everyone involved onboard with the plan, i.e. they must all agree with the scope of the project. The second primary objective of a project proposal is to position the plan for easy financing. Essentially making it easy for your bosses to say yes to the proposal.

We know it’s easy to forget these two objectives, especially as a beginner. However, your proposal is just that, a proposal. And always keep in mind that there are likely others who have their own ideas and may develop their own proposal and would end up competing for the same opportunity as you. That would mean their plan is asking for the same limited financing you’re asking for and the same career building benefits from planning a successful project as well.

So, with the purpose of the plan out of the way let’s focus on the outline (template) of the plan.

*** A note before we move on; forget what the books and college course say on project planning, because it cannot be overemphasized how valuable a simple template is. This template has been used to ask for a total of 3 million dollars’ worth of projects (and growing). We also believe a beginner needs to be ready with a template to plan a small to mid-sized project for those times when the boss pops his head into your cubicle and says he needs you to do that ASAP.

Because this will happen, sooner or later in your career and that’s why this article matters.

Project Outline;

Issue/Concern – this section of the plan delivers the problem this project will correct and or improve. It only needs to be a couple of sentences long. A paragraph at most. The goal here is to make it very easy to understand the problem. You’re not selling the solution here, your goal is to just get them to say out loud or in their head “yep that is a real problem”

ROI – This acronym refers to ‘return of investment’ essentially, you are delivering the short succinct benefit to the issue/concern you described above. Literally, you are telling them what this project is going to deliver. This section need only be a few sentences as well, be precise about the benefit and just identify the savings, or the streamlined solution only.

Scope of Work – This section of the proposal delivers a short description of the solution. Don’t be confused by the ROI and the SOW, they are different. For example; an issue may be that you have several vendors offering crossover services and you propose going to a single source vendor. The ROI is streamlined processing and improved vendor response and the SOW is to renegotiate all the contracts of current vendors to determine the best single source supplier.

Note; in the automation & robotics world it is not unusual for engineers and techs in small shops to deal with supplier issues like the one described above.

Team – This section outlines the project team and their respective roles and responsibilities. Now, it’s pretty important to speak to these members about joining your team before listing them here, so that they understand your goals and expectations of them. It’s also a good idea to list a senior member of the company to participate as an advisor to your project as this gives your project some clout.

Project Outline – Here is where you list the steps included to completing the project. For example;

  • Meeting to plan project
  • Inventory parts sullies
  • Setup vendor meetings
  • Review shipment schedules

You do not have to list every single little step that has to be taken to complete the project. Instead you can list general steps required. A more through plan will be developed once the plan is approved for implementation.

Contractors – Here you should list any outside vendors you plan to use to deliver this project. This would include any plumbers or masons or other vendors you plan to use that are outside the scope of the project. All you need to do here is list that you are using them and the quote for the proposed work (if you received them already)

Costs – It is important to take the time to gather the proposed costs associated with the plan and list them here. Don’t try to justify the costs here just, list who they are and what the costs are. While this may bring some angst to you, don’t worry, as long as your top three parts of this plan is solid and succinct you won’t have to worry. Just be brutally honest about the costs and don’t try to hide anything or list discounts or anything else by attempting to dilute the real dollars involved.

Contact Information – This is the closing of the plan. Yes you’re done, at this point you have completed the project proposal. See it wasn’t that bad an experience was it? In this section just list the contact names, emails and numbers of those involved with the project for reference. Now before you submit the plan for approval, be sure to ask your team members to review it, beat the plan up so that it can survive the approval process, the more it gets beat up the likely it will be approved in the first round.

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The Take Away

Some final notes, keep in mind that this outline has been used and still gets used to plan dozens of projects valuing hundreds of thousands of dollars. It works! Now, you do have the freedom to modify this outline to suit your needs. But most importantly is to save this post until that time comes when you are asked to put a plan to paper and submit it for approval.

We’re hopingwe answered a few questions about write a professional project proposal. But, we know that we likley didnt answer all of them so we invite you to contact us and feel free to ask any we may have missed.

Just go to our contact page and well get back to you asap!