Project proposals – being an agent of change

I write quite a few project proposals each year and every one is slightly different. Either the solution is different, the specification is different or the target audience is different. With existing customers it is rarely an issue that requires much work – as usually you have an understanding of their needs and why certain projects are happening.

When dealing with a client for the first time – it is almost always better to have a small scoped project to allow them to get to know you and for you to be able to understand the politics and other subtleties of the client organisation. Recently I was writing a proposal jointly with a colleague – whom it turned out had previously worked for the client in an IT role. At that stage we realised that a relatively odd situation was occuring – we had an opportunity to use his experience to address another issue – the lack of an IT strategy which was really the reason for the project we were proposing.

Without a strategy organisations become rudderless. They float along with the tides of innovation – ending up on the reef of incompatibility before becoming shipwrecked on O/S that no-one knows or supports. (Okay enough of the marine analogy).

However you get the point – without targets – there is no progress. Without budgets there are no developments – no improvements to performance or efficiency. Without new skills staff become demotivated and demoralised.

So what would normally be a technical project outline has to highlight that without a strategy – the solution will just repeat the previous approach – and will stagnate unless something changes. This always reminds me that we should recognise and embrace what we are – Agents of Change and act in that role rather than simply proposing IT solutions for business and assuming that the business has a plan to use those solutions to improve or change itself.  its far to easy for clients to think that IT can take problems away – in this experience it just highlights the problems that lead to here even more.

I hope that this project is able to deliver on the multiple levels that require it to.