Managing the proposal writing process effectively, particularly when there are multiple team members and the proposals become increasingly complex, often requires considerable skill. Using the provided tools and templates, such as team kick-off meeting template or the work plan template, may assist the principal investigator and his/her team throughout the process. See Proposal Development Tools for these materials.
While not all funding proposals require a project management plan, the plan is gaining in popularity. Typically, the requirement is found in large (center-style or multi-million dollar) and complex (multi-institution) proposals or proposals that require the installation of equipment or building and construction of facilities. The plan is requested to show the degree to which the proposing organization is prepared to successfully execute the intended project or center. Even if the proposal does not require a management plan, incorporating clear management lines (including a plan for replacing leadership) and communications plans may make your proposal more competitive as it shows that you are thinking ahead about the implementation of your award. Consider the following when designing your project management plan:
- What are the qualifications and experience of the project manager to plan, lead, coordinate, and manage?
- What is the anticipated project schedule, including key decision points, milestones, and go/no-go decisions? How feasible is the timeline?
- What are the mechanisms proposed for interaction among the different entities involved in the project? How feasible are those mechanisms?
- Has a risk analysis been conducted? How sound is that analysis?
- Does the organization have the past performance in order to ensure that the project is completed on time and budget?
- What are the distinct roles of advisory boards or committees? How do they interact?
- Should something happen to the PI, what is the plan to identify (or hire) a new PI?