First of all, what is a project proposal? It’s a document that outlines the scope of work, intent, milestones, roles, process, timelines, commercials, and more, depending on the project. It covers all aspects of the work. It’s very easy to think that small projects don’t need it, but they do. Talent Is Not Enough by Shel Perkins is a great book that deals with these details and more.
How does a project proposal help?
- It clarifies everyone’s roles and responsibilities.
- It defines the scope of work. Otherwise, the work can spiral into endless iterations.
- It sets expectations. The client will know what she/he will get and what they won’t.
- It clarifies the timelines. If there’s a delay, it’s easier to know who is responsible.
- It makes money matters transparent.
To sum up, a project proposal brings everyone on the same page. While writing it, you also see things clearly in your own head. You realize aspects of the work and risks that you would not have realized earlier. You break down the work process and understand how to look after your own interests. You learn to be more articulate. Thinking these things through enables smooth running of the project and also ensures project completion as per plan.
Lastly, everyone involved with a project should view time spent on preparing a proposal as time ‘invested’, not time spent.