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Preparing a Fourth-Year Design Project Proposal|
A presentation overview designed for students
Written September 2000,
William Sitch, B.Eng. (1999)
The project proposal is the first written requirement of the fourth-year design project. This proposal must outline what you're planning on doing, how you're planning to do it, and why you're doing it. This report should be written so that it can be understood by non-engineering types, such as a non-technical manager or supervisor.
Like most presentation components of the fourth-year design project, the proposal is often poorly implemented. A good proposal is often hard to prepare, and requires a significant amount of time to be spent on thinking about the project. The proposal can be re-used later in the documentation phase as a guideline for progress reports, oral presentations, and the final report.
This introduction to project proposals, with emphasis on the fourth-year design project, is as follows:
Understanding the Purpose of your Proposal|
Proposals are used to sell something - in most cases, yourself or your business. A proposal is a document that offers a specific product or service to a specific client. The proposal makes a single suggestion, and describes the plan for executing and implementing the suggestion.
The most important aspect of the proposal is meeting the requirements of the person or group receiving the proposal. You must indicate that what you propose to do complys with what the "client" wants. In terms of 97.497: RoboFlag, or other fourth-year projects, your proposal is going to detail what you and your team are going to do.
The structure of a proposal is often similar to the structure of other reports. The language must be professional and formal; remember that you are selling an idea or a service, and that the proposal is the sales document.
Writing a Convincing and Persuasive Proposal|
The three elements that make a proposal convincing are:
As Natasha Artemeva teaches, writing a persuasive proposal requires that you _absolutely_ understand what the problem is. You need to present a detailed plan, not only for what your team is going to do, but also for what you are planning on doing. While it is important to be as specific as possible, be careful not to make any false promises. In some contracts, a proposal is legally binding.
In order to acheive credibility and to demonstrate professionalism, you should present the credentials that qualify you for the job. Don't exaggerate; present facts that speak for themselves. Maintain a dignified and professional tone.
Small Team Strategies for the Project Proposal|
Working within a small team in an academic environment can be difficult: while you may brainstorm and use each other to proofread your reports, it's important to submit your own proposal. Be careful that your proposal remains unique to you, but also contains detail in regards to your team.
There are several items that may be similar for group members:
Components of the Project Proposal|
A proposal will generally include your understanding of the project
and your "plan". The plan should be expanded to include what your
group will contribute, and what you will be focusing on. The components
of a project proposal might be as follows:
Other industry-related proposals might include the following:
Miscellaneous Advice for your Oral Presentation
As Natasha Artemeva explains, the format of a proposal changes when
you consider the length of the proposal (short or long) and the
destination (internal or external):