Re: Need hints & tips on writing a proposal

Subject: Re: Need hints & tips on writing a proposal
From: "Peter Neilson" <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2012 09:05:11 -0500

On Thu, 29 Nov 2012 07:38:52 -0500, Craig Cardimon <craig -dot- cardimon -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:

Morning, Whirlers,

I offered to help a computer person with a proposal for equipment. They need help simplifying the language. The document does seem kind of "jargony."

This document will be seen by the president of the company and probably the board of directors.

Yes, money. Also risks.

Many years ago the lab where I worked needed to buy additional equipment to supplement some we already had. We needed to justify selection of one vendor over others. There were at least three contenders, one of whom, the most expensive, had sold us the original item now to be expanded.

A senior engineer spent several weeks gathering details about the less expensive vendors and their equipment. He learned that vendor C's item, the cheapest, "almost" worked, but would be a total failure for our application. Vendor B was of unknown quality, but their specs indicated the thing would work. Vendor A (the original manufacturer) was twice as expensive as B. We went with B, knowing there was some risk. We saved the US government perhaps $10,000, if we neglected the time spent by a senior engineer. (Equipment and salary came from two separate pockets, so the obvious economic determination was not under consideration.)

After the equipment was delivered, late or course, we got it installed. It did work, but failed soon thereafter. Company B was no longer around to handle the guarantee, so Yours Truly took it apart and fixed its shoddy construction.

Had we done a risk-based analysis originally we might have avoided all the difficulty and cost involved in trying to save money.

My advice? Reduce technical items to dollars and to risk, if at all possible, and on a single page. Put technical details into attachments. Do not worry about the readability of the attachments, but try to ascertain they do not contradict themselves or each other.
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Need hints & tips on writing a proposal: From: Craig Cardimon

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