Sneha J

March 19, 2021

Project Proposal Checklist | Fresh Proposals

project proposal checklist

1 in 6 IT projects have cost overrun by 200% and on an average schedule overrun of almost 70% (source: HBR)

These are staggering numbers and it is not just about IT projects, it is all over the places. What we don’t realize, the problems start well before projects are kicked-off. Some of these painful project management aspects can be managed with a better process before on-boarding clients. Yes, I am talking about project proposal stage, well before you sign the statement of work document.

Having a project proposal checklist can help you get better understanding, clarity of scope, deliverables, responsibilities as well as risks.

Are you working on a project proposal template? Here is a quick way to see if you’re in with a chance of winning the deal. Examine the current draft of your proposal with this 9-Step project proposal checklist

Project Proposal Checklist

Been asking yourself how to develop a project proposal? Follow these quick steps.

 – Details of the applying organization
 – Project details
 – Name of the client you’re applying to
  Proposal activities before drafting
 – Schedule a brief meeting with the client
 – Identify their score in your ideal client profile
 – Research what they need and what results they are expecting to get
 – Ask them about their decision-makers
 – Discuss and develop the budget
 – Create an outline of your project proposal
  Proposal writing
 – Cover letter/executive summary
 – Project goals and overview
 – Scope of services
 – Project deliverables and timeline
 – Investment table
 – About us
 – Case study
 – Terms of services
  Activities before the submission
 – Send your proposal for proofreading
 – Review it up to three times
 – Make changes as per the feedbacks
 – Begin internal routine like approval and signature
 – Congratulate yourself and your proposal development team
 – Submit the project proposal

Now that you have the list of activities for building your project proposal, let’s go through the key tasks of proposal writing one by one in detail.

Let’s go.

1. Identifying and addressing prospective client’s pain points

project proposal checklist - pain points

Understanding the pain points of customers is one of the most profitable pieces of information in marketing. It can help you not only retain the current customers but also opens the door for new customers.

Did I:

  • Learn a few key things about the prospective client and his/her business before drafting a proposal?
  • Understand the specific challenges the prospective client is currently experiencing?
  • Prioritize the prospective client’s needs?
  • Start the project proposal by highlighting the benefits client can get with our project services?

2. Details about the approach

project proposal checklist- details about solution

Now it’s time to fill in the details about your approach. But make sure the details are only about the approach and not about the solution.

Did I:

  • Filled in the details about the approach to solving the issue?
  • Make sure the details are only about the approach and not about the solution? It can very well be about your phases of your project management process
  • Define how we plan to meet the objective? Will it involve project planning, risk management, change management, resource planning, budgeting, earned value analysis, etc.
  • Give the prospect a rough sketch about the method you will use for the execution (In just 2-3 lines), as basic as a traditional project management process or agile or hybrid one?

3. Clearly defined statement of work

project proposal template checklist- SoW

Most of all the items in your project proposal checklist, this should be the crucial one.

I personally think about a statement of work like this:

A kickass version of your project proposal that actually describes the work to be done and the process involved in completing that work.

Did I include:

  • Introduction– Type of work whether a service or a product?
  • Purpose of the engagement – Why the work being done?
  • Scope of project work– Steps that need to be taken to complete the work.
  • Project Resources– List of key personnel involved in a project such as a project manager, team leaders, any other key players, etc.
  • Project deliverables and timeline– List of deliverables and timeline for each deliverable.
  • Acceptance criteria and signatures– Acceptance criteria are enclosed with terms of service and agreeing upon it before the project avoids a lot of misunderstanding in the future.

Read more on common project proposal writing mistakes you must avoid.

4. Create transparency with roles and responsibilities

project proposal checklist- team

Your team impression matters. So here’s the chance to let your team shine. Every prospect wants an easy buying experience and this section plays a very important role in that.

Did I answer the following questions:

  • Who are the key players? Their experiences, educational backgrounds, and skills: e.g. project managers, project analysts, subject matter experts, PMP alike certifications,
  • Do your key players have industry experience? If not what experience do they have that’s helpful for a project?
  • What duties will each player perform? What authority and responsibilities are given to each player?

5. Presentation of your skillset


Even though it’s not really a critical element of the project proposal checklist, but this is the section that allows you to show that you’re an expert in your field.

Did I:

  • Showcase our company’s experience, skillset, and most importantly our value to the prospective client’s organization?
  • Differentiate our process and project services from the competition in the industry?
  • Include customer testimonials, achievements, or any related awards to win the prospect’s attention right away?


6. Include a timeline to deliver the solution

project proposal checklist - timeline

Now, this is where you go into detail about the project timeline. It can be tricky to estimate the timeline.

Did I:

  • Include an estimated timeline to deliver the solution?
  • Explain the scope of work the prospect can expect from our company?
  • Describe what the company will do and the time frame for delivery or completion of key items?

7. Include an interactive pricing table

project proposal checklist - investment fees

You have done your homework and offered an ideal solution to his organization. Here come’s a tricky part i.e “pricing”

Did I:

  • Include a captivating title for the pricing table?
  • Layout the cost with visually appealing and easy-to-understand pricing options for the solution?
  • Highlight the popular choices of services at the top?
  • Optimize the pricing table as per the prospect’s needs?

But, how do you create such a pricing table? Using a customizable project proposal template- yes that’s right. Another benefit of a project proposal template is that you can easily incorporate a responsive/interactive fees table into your proposal.

Do you know you can add an interactive pricing table in your proposal if you use a proposal tool? You can even create project proposal template with interactive pricing. Know more about what is a proposal tool.

8. Include customer testimonials

project proposal checklist item - client testimonial

Consciously or subconsciously every buyer is waiting for this section to come. Customer references are one of the most important confidence signals you can use on your proposal.

In the project proposal did I include:

  • Recommendations from clients our company helped in the past?
  • The positive customer references that will help prospects understand what they would benefit if they hire you?

9. eSignature Included

project proposal checklist item - electronic signature

Being successful implies keeping up with the trends. Innovations are meant for making various processes easier, saving time, boosting efficiency. These very same goals any business strives to achieve it to rank high in the business competition.

So to make the best use of digital transformation in developing a project proposal that maximizes your chances of winning deals have you included

Wrapping up:

This checklist will help you stay focused. Every time you schedule a sales call run through the list beforehand and make sure you are all prepared.

Explore the set of rules for writing a project proposal

You know, most of this checklist can be easily ticked once you start using the right project proposal template.

Good luck!


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