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How to design a project proposal draft and project management schedule

Learn how to create an effective project proposal draft and a realistic project management schedule and find out what factors often affect project phases with this tip.

When I put what I consider a draft schedule and/or draft budget in my project proposal or charter, my sponsor and stakeholders seem to ignore the words "draft" and take those figures to be gospel. Do you have any suggestions that would allow that information to be shared, yet have my sponsor and stakeholders really understand them as project proposal drafts?

Ha ha! Many times project managers (PMs) without specific knowledge of each stage and their attendant steps look for anchors upon which they will base their estimates. Tools such as MS Project can accommodate uncertainty and ranges to an extent. However, remember that most projects have a "go live" date and sponsors and stakeholders look at estimates in a very linear, black-and-white fashion.

There's no silver bullet here. Impress upon them that the each phase in your project proposal draft may take a range of time, based on a number of factors including data quality, end-user availability, business emergency, changing schedules and the like.

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