Writing a Proposal for a Web Project
By Siraj Qureshi
If you are working as Project Manager or Consultant or Senior Experienced Developer, It is quite common that you will be asked to write a proposal for new project. It is always challenging to come up with a proposal to develop a new project for a client‘s Web Site. When competing for web design and development or marketing contracts, a professionally presented development proposal most often decides whether you lose or win the business. In the past, I have written many proposals that were reviewed and approved by the client. We also delivered the product on the basis of Proposal Approved successfully. I just wanted to share my proposal writing experience with you by writing this article. When putting together a basic web site proposal, you should include the following elements:
Describe the Business Problem statement and Vision/Scope statement here.
This element can have sub elements as follows:
- Describe Business Problem statement and Project. Vision/Scope statement.
- Timeframes & Price
- Describe the tentative start and end date of the project. Also, list out the factors on which the schedule and cost of the project will depend. For example, if the team does not get feedback or approval from client within specific time, both the schedule and cost of the project may be affected.
- Describe why do you think your project team will be execute this project and deliver it on schedule and within budget successfully.
- Write some positive points of the company over its competitors.
Describe the company background or company history, business qualifications, technical skills, past achievements and contact details.
Scope of the Project:
The business you are submitting the proposal for, your understanding of their products and services, the target market, the goals of the web site and a rough outline of how you will achieve them.
This should also includes requirements which are excluded from the project and assumptions for the project.
A description of the style of the site you are proposing. Elements from the client’s current branding you will utilize or new elements you will develop.
- Special Considerations:
such as globalization, security, performance or other issues pertaining to the business, site or target market that will need to be addressed.
A detailed description of the architecture of the current system and its shortcoming.
A detailed description of the architecture that will be used for the project. Also, describe how it will solve the current business problem(s). It should be explained clearly with the help of a Flow Chart(s) or a Visio Diagram(s).
- Web site flow chart:
A diagram showing the different pages of the site and navigational structure.
- Flowchart Description:
A detailed description of each web page, how it fits in with the overall web site theme and the project element it addresses.
A detailed description of the technologies that will be used for the project like .Net framework, Web Services etc.
Also, Describe how the proposed technology will be the most suitable for the project.
This should be a description of each stage of the web projects’ development, the estimated completion date of deliverables/milestones and notes regarding client consultation and information/feedback from the client. It should be clear that the schedule and the cost of the project will be affected if there will be change(s) in the requirements or delay in the feedback or approval from the client’s side.
- Delivery Schedule:
This should show the delivery date and mode of the delivery for all the deliverables/milestones for the project.
- Gantt Chart:
This should show the Gantt chart prepared for the project.
- Project Management
This should be summary of project management activities that will performed by the Project team. Project Key members like Business Delivery Owner and Project Manager will be appointed. The project team will develop the project. It should be mentioned here that once the proposal is approved then the team can process the design of the project. Also, it should indicate that the client should give feedback/approval on time, failing to do so may delay the schedule and the cost of the project.
- Project Plan Management
Here you can give details of the Project Management tools will be used for Project Management like MS Project, MS Excel, Project Monitoring System etc.
Project Management tools if available should provide :
- Project Setup
- Capturing Actual Effort
- Bug Tracking
- Quality Data Analysis
- Project Metrics Reports
- Employee Training Plans
Weekly Status Report
Describe how Weekly Status reports will be prepared and sent to the client..
- Monthly Project Status Review
This should explain how the Monthly Project Status Review will help to monitor the progress of the project. It should also explain how the strategic issues like customer satisfaction, staff training, change control, risk management and deviations from company procedures will be reviewed.
- Project Quality Management
This gives detail description of Quality Processes and control to be followed in all phases of the project.
- Quality Objective
The detailed description of Quality objective is explained here, like:
- Deliver a product that meets and exceeds expectations.
- No schedule slippage.
- No P0 bugs are found during the Acceptance testing phase
Formal technical review
Describe the detailed description of the technical review plan for the project, like Code Review, checking for adherence to standards and naming convention.
- Software Testing
Describe the detail description of Software Unit Testing planning and Test Cases creation.
Explain the standards and processes that will be followed throughout the life cycle of the project.
- Enforcement of Standard
Explain how the team will follow standards in the Project Life Cycle.
- Bug Classification
Explain how bugs will be classified for the project like P0 for Critical, P1 for Non Critical etc.
- Project Communication Management
Here you can give a detailed description of the communication that will be used for interacting with the client for his/her feedback and approval.
Here can you write details like email will be primary mode of communication and will be used for sending project documents to clients for his approval.
- Telephonic Conference
Here you can explain how teleconferencing will be used to keep the project on track and in good health.
- Project Risk Management
This will have detail description of Project Risk Identification, and assessment and their mitigation plan.
- Project Related Risk
This should explain risks associated with the project like increasing or changing requirements from users, delay in client’s feedback/approval.
- Project Life Cycle
This should give a detailed description of the project life cycle model that will be used for the project with diagram. eg. Waterfall, agile, spiral, incremental etc…
- Project Organizational Roles and Responsibilities
This should explain the roles and responsibilities of the project team of your organization and that of the client.
- Team Structure
This should show the team structure of the project in hierarchical fashion and also shows its interactaction with the client’s project team. Also, it should depict who reports to whom.
- Project Configuration Management
This should explain the scope of the configuration activities for the project. This should explain how controlled items will be stored and versioned.
- Configuration Items
You can give the list of all the items which have been identified as configuration items for the project like functional specification, detailed design, source code etc.
- Change Control Procedure
This will explain how team will handle change requests for the project. Template is given in the appendix.
- Reporting Procedures
This will explain the reporting procedure for the project: who will report to whom and how issues will be escalated in case of conflicts and problems.
Here you can give a list of documents that will be prepared and delivered to the client for the project. Like function specification, detailed design, user manual etc.
A descriptive breakdown of costing phase wise or deliverable wise and a total quote including an end date before the price will need to be re-calculated. Clients usually do not pay for a project in advance or in full. So, describe how much payment will be due after each phase or deliverable.
Ensure you take into account the business related items including travel time, electricity, telephone and consumables.
Bear in mind that things rarely go strictly to plan in web projects and delays can be expected. Also, the cost of the project is dependent upon the complexity of the task and the competency of the developer/designer. In your eagerness to gain the contract, you may lose money if you quote too close to the bone. Time is money.
This should give a detailed description of the Acceptance guidelines and rules for the project.
- Acceptance Criteria
Describe the Acceptance criteria for the product to be delivered.
- Performance Guarantee
This should explain how the project team ensure that the product has no performance issue. Also, it will handle post production product related performance related issues.
- Acceptance Performance
Describe who will develop the Acceptance test plan, also describe that it would be the client’s responsibility to acknowledge, review and approve the delivery as complete and acceptable within 2 weeks of when the final delivery being made. If rejected, the team will rework the software to requirement.
Describe how long the team will support the product after the final release. Usually it is 30 days after acceptance or deemed acceptance of the product. General Terms and conditions:
- Expectations and commitments
It is not unusual for web projects to be delayed due to clients not supplying feedback or content necessary to complete sections. It is just as important to be clear in what you expect from your clients as well as explaining your commitment to them. Conflict resolution issues and feedback mechanisms should be described.
Your clients will need to know what will occur if they do not supply information when requested, or request changes mid-stream and the action that you will take if you are running behind in the project yourself. You need to be clear on payment details and consequences of failure to pay for the services that you provide.
- Mock-ups (samples).
Be careful not to give too much away, just enough to give the client a good idea of what the site will look like. Ensure copyright notices and intellectual property statements are in place.
- Ongoing web site maintenance.
Summarize an offer of ongoing site maintenance or the implications of the client deciding to update or maintain the site themselves after it has been established.
This should explain until when this proposal will be valid.
You should make it clear that the entire project will be performed by your company, if an external resource is expected to become part of the team then it may be necessary to revisit costing based on effort redistribution.
The above points are usually sufficient to put together a professional web design proposal for a small to medium web based project. It had worked for us for many projects.
Be prepared to give a presentation on the proposal to the client. Most of the clients prefer to have a presentation on the proposal to ensure that they you’re all on the same page. Also, first you need to release a draft version of the Proposal document and send it to Sponsor/Stakeholder so that if they want any changes, you can easily negotiate with them before releasing final version of the proposal. You should also ensure that the Proposal should address all the concerns/issues the client had laid down.
Also, many clients like to negotiate with cost and schedule, so be prepared to do some heavy revisions to satisfy your client and find the middle ground where all parties feel comfortable.
Some clients wants the Proposal documentation in certain format, respect that as well.
Additionally remember that some companies will ask you for proposals purely to use as a comparison against another company that they are interested in hiring; so try and limit the amount of time you spend on the draft until the client gives indication of serious interest.
Appendix A : Change Request Form
Customer Name :
Contact Name :
Project Id :
Project Manager/Leader(offshore) :
Project Name :
TO BE FILLED IN BY CLIENT :
(Urgent, High, Medium, Low)
Initiated By :
Change Required :
Effort and Impact :.
Affected Modules & Documents :
Decision : Approved / Not Approved : By : Date :
TO BE FILLED IN BY OWNER:
Request No :
Date Received By Offshore :
Effort and Impact :
Affected Modules & Documents :
Siraj is a Senior Consultant working with a reputable in the US. He has managed several IT projects for CMM level 5 organizations. Also, he is an MCP and has expertise in .Net technologies and he has around 12 years of software management and development experience. He is passionate about learning new and emerging technologies. His main interests are SDLC, .Net Framework, ASP.NET, AJAX, WCP, WPF, Web development, Application designing, Code generation, Performance tuning etc. Siraj runs a blog:
If you have any suggestion or you want to share something, please drop in your comments or you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your suggestions will be appreciated.