Software development is a process that involves a lot, right idea origination to the end product. To have the best product that will meet all your specifications, it is important to Pay attention to the development process right from the writing of the proposal. While the development company plays a significant role, there are also other important factors for consideration. Today, we want to specifically focus on one important section – writing a software development proposal.
Why do you think people write software development proposals? Well, it is supposed to be delivered to business individuals. For this reason, you have to ensure it is simple and direct to the point. One mistake that individuals make is clinging to technical terms and this can lead to negative perceptions in the minds of business people.
What is more, keep in mind the individuals you are presenting the proposal to often lack time to go through lengthy documents. With the vast experience I personally have in writing proposals, I can authoritatively tell you that these individuals only need material information that helps them make the right decisions. The following tips will help you write a good software development proposal that will be considered.
The Length of the Proposal
I have already said business people may not be having enough time to go through lengthy documents. So you need to make sure your proposal is of the proper length. I have come across templates that suggest at least 50 pages. Trust you me, the executives will loser interest early enough, perhaps at your fifth page. When your proposal has been accepted, the design document has to be more detailed since it will have to go to the project team and will be used as a blueprint in developing the system. So let the length of the proposal be dictated by the complexity of the system. Do not make it too long. It is a proposal. If you are writing in reply to a request for proposal software development comply with RFP. This does not mean you should neglect important information. Remember your objective at this level is to convince business executives.
The Executive Summary
If the length of the proposal goes beyond 20 pages, make sure you provide a one-page executive summary showing the parts of the proposal. In fact, it can in PowerPoint. If you are determined to use the Executive Summary during your presentation of the proposal, then you should present the proposal by means of the executive summary. The executives may go through the entire proposal later.
This section should highlight the general project details and requirements. It should consist of the things included and what is excluded. This is a very important section and should show the following:
- The overall description
- The timeframe of the project
- Major objectives
- What you intend to achieve by means of software development proposed.
I will only give you a brief outline of how a good template should appear. It should include the following subsections:
- a) The project title. A proposal must have a good title. In case you are writing to reply to a request for proposal software development, take into account all the information required in the RFP.
- b) The table of contents
- c) Approvals
- d) Changes
- e) Glossary and Acronyms
In this section, you have to include the date the project is likely to start and end. The dates are simply estimates. You need to include a buffer and plan in advance for contingencies. In most cases, software development projects take longer than anticipated. Some events may happen in the course of the development that necessitates adjustments to be made. So make sure you allocate some additional time between each phase of the development.
The Project Members
Who are the project members? Well, a project must have some key stakeholders. Project members should these stakeholders as well as the project champion. A stakeholder is often a sponsor if not an internal promoter. Other people and their designated roles are also important to project members. While specialization is key to the success of the whole process, some people may be multi-players.
This is a very important section and you really need to be careful with it. Remember a proposal is written in response to a certain business opportunity which may significantly augment, aid or automate operations. That is why this section is named “Business Opportunity”. Some people refer to it as “Business Problem” while others call it “Problem Statement”. It is also okay, though there are cases where business people have taken offense with associating the word “Problem” with their businesses. So you need to be very careful with the wording. Make sure you indicate the need that will be addressed.
You should aim at giving the executives all the relevant information. To effectively do this, you can use a flowchart to demonstrate the operation flow. It is also important that include diagrams of the key sections of the system.
Features and Deliverables
In this section, your aim is to map the proposed project to a touchable deliverable. While many people include an estimated time for an absolute deliverable, you should try to avoid that aspect. You may end up being too restrictive and this may create problems. In most cases, the deliverables do not match as penned down. If you fix time, you may lack elasticity. So simply provide the name of the underlying feature, a brief description and the deliverable that will contain the requirements of the feature.
Budget and ROI
Most executives perceive this section as the most essential part of the proposal. They need to know the approximate cost of the project and the effect on their unit budget. The project should be in line with the budgetary reality. So work out this section carefully. The ROI is calculated as follows:
ROI = Gains less Cost divided by Cost or
ROI = (Earnings– Cost)/Cost
What benefits will the project offer? You need to answer that question in this section. It will be better if you state them in bullet form. Make sure the benefits do not conflict with the general objectives of the project. Try to use only positive sentences.
There is no way a software development project can lack constraints. In this section, highlight all the tangible constraints you can possibly foresee. The constraints may be in the form of equipment or seasonal variations such as a shutdown of a production unit. In many cases, plants shut down at least once a year. However, you should try your level best to downplay them or make them appear minimal. Be careful not to list the negatives of the proposed software.
A software development proposal is important and requires careful preparation. Use the tips discussed here and you will enhance the quality of your work. To be more effective, make sure you are well acquainted with your reader and learn how well to appeal to them. Thank you.