Introduction: How to Make a Project Proposal

Whether you are a student or a proffesional engineer, many places will require a project proposal to be presented before you can start your project. Here is a basic guideline to how you can structure your proposal.

Step 1: Cover Page:

When making your cover page, make sure you include your team member name(s), class title, instructor name(s), date of proposal submission, date of project deadline, school w/ address, image preferred, and email contact(s).

This is a copy of a project proposal I have for my MakerSpace class. A few detailed have been blacked-out or left blank for confidentiality. But, I will leave a link to a copy of my (altered) proposal at the end of the instructable for a reference.

Step 2: Define the Problem: (background Info)

Many times there must be a purpose for the project you are trying to do. Make sure your audience gets to know this by providing at least a few of the following reasons:

  • Who - Who is the project being designed for? Who is the client?
  • What - What is the project and What will be its primary / secondary uses. What are the constraints, if any (size, budgetary, time), for the project.
  • When - Is there a project deadline? When is it? Is it rigid or flexible?
  • Where - Where will the project be utilized? What is the environment?
  • Why - What is the need for the project? Why is the project important?

The points above only serve to give you an idea of what to write about. The background that you give can be phrased however you want as long as it gets the point across.

Step 3: Research Possible Solutions:

This is where you can show what ideas that you (and your group) have thought of; show the audience that your group has taken other ideas into consideration when deciding on your project. When writing this down, consider the following:

  • What solutions currently exist that solve the problem?
  • Any outside of the box ideas that expand your thinking about the possibilities?

Step 4: Develop Possible Solutions:

Continue on from the previous step. Develop how the solutions could be done, what materials are needed, or etc.. If there is one clear solution that you chose, still use this area to brainstorm possible plans of action. Some things to consider:

  • What - Are there multiple possible solutions? If so, what are they.
  • How - How could the solutions be implemented? Can any be ruled out due to complexity and/or other constraints?
  • How Much - Put a rough number to each of the possible solutions in order to align the solutions with budgetary constraints.

Step 5: Choose a Solution: the Big Why

This is the final conclusion to this series of project developing. Go off about your final project idea and details about it. Some things to consider:

  • Why did you select the solution that you are writing about.
  • Compare and contrast the chosen solution with other possible solutions that were up for consideration, but were not chosen.
  • Develop a calendar with a class-to-class schedule; highlight project milestones, estimate material acquisition/delivery, schedule meetings. At least develop an idea of the time frame of your project.
  • Develop a set of design documents = design prints (3D w/ 2D orthographic display documents & design specifications = tools and detailed material list(s))

Step 6: Develop Team:

Introduce you and your teammate(s). If you are working on your own still include a small resume about you. This is to very basically introduce in your group. Things to consider:

  • Develop professional resumes of each team member, include picture. How detailed these are depends of the setting (ie. a classroom proposal may be a lot less detailed than a professional proposal)
  • Provide documentation defining the team; managerial hierarchy, team philosophy, qualifications, primary responsibilities, Experience in/out of the academic setting, labor descriptions Again, how detailed these are depends of the setting.

Here is an example of mine above. It is not as extensive because this is a school project proposal.

Step 7: Submit Draft Proposal

Here is when you turn in that proposal! Schedule an appointment to present it, and make sure you have a good understanding on the guidelines, you project, the problem at hand, etc.. Be ready to defend your proposal.

Here is a link to a copy of my (altered) final proposal for reference: