The Importance of a Project Proposal
When creating a project, many just want to jump right into the creation process itself, which makes sense. That’s often the most interesting part and the reason many get involved in the field in the first place. What some forget about creative work is just how much planning often goes into the task. That’s where the concept of the project proposal signs through.
What’s the point?
For whatever client you may be working for, a project proposal is a good way to get off on the right foot. It helps provide a quick example that shows you understand many of the clients needs, as well as that you have a solid plan and know what needs to get done and how. They build a quick rapport between you and whatever client you may be making this project for, allowing better questions to be asked and more productive meetings and discussions to be held between you.
Beyond simply providing benefits for the client, a proposal also often provides benefits for the creator as well. As stated by Esther Cohen in her blog about project proposals, these proposals help state the objectives of the project, make the timeline more manageable, and prevent “scope creep”. Creative projects many times have a very long and complicated process’. It often starts as a simple idea and one you may think you can just make, but in reality, doing it like that will often lead you to making artifacts that are aimless and don’t push the project forward very much. On the other hand, when you have a detailed proposal, stating what you need to make and when, it forces you to stop and think about what this project will truly entail and what you need to make to see it through. This will cause you to have a much greater sense of purpose and quality.
I also like Cohen’s comments on the concept “project scope”. As many creatives know, clients can sometimes become very frustrating in the sense that they don’t entirely understand the time and effort behind making some of the things you do. This often causes them to have unrealistic wants and demands, which can ruin many good projects. By having a thorough, detailed list of what artifacts the project will contain, it puts the clients expectations in check as well as providing you a concrete source to look back on when you need to say “that isn’t what we originally agreed upon”.
My own proposal
For my task this week, I needed to create a project proposal for my own personal mobile application idea. For my app idea, I’ve decided to go with a tablet exclusive app that will be used as a substitute for the traditional baseball scorecard. Keeping score at a baseball game is an essential part of the experience for many, but unfortunately in the age of technology it has often gone by the wayside, with no readily apparent alternative. There’s plenty of applications that keep you up to date on the score itself, but none that properly simulate the idea of manually writing down each individual play.
In my proposal, I first began by researching the topic of keeping score at a baseball game, as to better understand the appeal it has to many, as well as the issues they face when doing so. This led me to many different types of sources, such as how many consider it an art form, why it doesn’t seem to be as popular nowadays, as well as how professional broadcasters go about keeping score. With these sources, I felt I had a much better handle on what the issue is surrounding keeping score and could thus describe both the problem itself as well as a logical solution to the problem in much greater detail.
The Expected Timeline
Afterwards, I then laid out a detailed list of what artifacts the project will contain. I used my past app making experiences as a basis for much of these artifacts, making sure to include a detailed summary of each part I felt was important. This included simple user research and competitive analysis, as well as things like persona’s and empathy maps, which I put under a general “research phase”.
I then laid out what I considered the “production phase”. This included artifacts such as information architecture, wire frames, and prototypes. I made sure to detail what exactly these artifacts would be used for as well. This allows a potential client to have a clear understanding of why these artifacts need to be made as well as give me help in the future if I ever need to look back and see why I choose what I chose.
Overall, despite seeming like busy work initially, a good project proposal is essential in making sure you get off on the right foot when starting a project. Even though much of it’s contents seem obvious at first, placing them into an individual artifact makes it much easier for both your client to understand, as well as for you to organize your many thoughts on a project in a clear, structured manner.