In my career as a manager, I worked a lot with fresh graduates; the ones that were wet behind their ears; the ones that were eager to start climbing the corporate ladder. Being one who have worked with them, I spent a lot of time coaching them, guiding and reviewing their work. One of the things that I noticed is the various approaches they took when proposing or initiating some projects. Here’s my 5 steps in brief:
Step 1 – Determine the Need
The first step to any proposal is to determine the need of such a project. If need cannot be identified, look at benefits. Question yourself, “What benefits can this organisation/customer derive out of this initiative?” Need can be easily identified if customers tell you that this is what they require in their business operations or there is a need for compliance.
Step 2 – Determine the Work and Cost
This step is where the bulk of the effort is. Determine the best solution out of the many possible solutions. Based on the identified solution, determine the work required to carry out this project and the budget that you need.
Step 3 – Justify the Cost Against the Need/Benefit
Creative thinking is required here. You will need to compare and contrast the budget you need against the benefits that can be derived out of the project. For intangible benefits, try your very best to equate a number to it. Accountants love numbers.
Step 4 – Decide
This is by far the easiest step of all. Get your management or your customers to decide. You may need to do a presentation, so be prepared.
Step 5 – Execute
Project management kicks in here. Another cycle of planning through closure. Prepare the champagne.