Telecom proposals

Subject: Telecom proposals
From: Geoff Hart <geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
Date: Fri, 13 Feb 1998 09:57:45 +0000

Warren Singer <<...needs to prepare a proposal template that can be
used as a basis for subsequent proposals. Is there any ISO standard
document for telecommunication proposals? I'd like to prepare a
generic document that can be adapted to each proposal.>>

I can't comment specifically on telecom proposals, but I can
contribute to a more general discussion based on a project I'm
doing at work. We've had this discussion before, and the general
consensus seems to be that each proposal is likely to be so different
that a generic template won't save you much time. What could work
very well is to recognize that some parts of a proposal inevitably
require the same content. I don't know what that is for a
telecom proposal (you will by now), but here's an example of the
approach that I'm trying for my own authors, who write scientific
reports.

Some of our report series contain an abstract and some don't, so the
template for some series has "Abstract" typed into the file, whereas
other reports start with "Introduction". Under Abstract, there's only
one line of text: "write 50 words that say what this report is about,
but don't provide the conclusions". (I don't like this style of
abstract, but it's house style. I'm working on changing it.) Next
comes the heading "Introduction", and the text goes something like
"Explain the problem you set out to solve, why it's important, and
what approach you took to solving the report, and where your
solution will and won't apply.." And so on for all the other standard
sections. At the end, we have several possible boilerplate
disclaimers, so under the heading "Disclaimer", I list each one with
a brief note as to when you'd use it.

The basic principle is simple: the template contains the briefest
possible reminder of what specific points the author must cover, with
hints or tips to make the job of writing easier. In addition, it
contains any boilerplate (e.g., the headings themselves plus standard
text such as the disclaimers) so the authors won't have to retype it.
The philosophy behind this approach is twofold: to get writers past
that initial bump (to some of them, the scariest thing in the world
is facing a blank screen and not having any idea where to begin
writing) and to make sure they don't forget any of the important
points.

It should be obvious how to apply this approach to your own
situation. Two notes: First, you'll have to customize each report
based on the actual study (in your case, customize each proposal
based on the RFP document). Second, when we complete our move to
Word97, I'm going to investigate using visual basic for applications
to turn this into a "fill in the blank" wizard to simplify things
even further.
--Geoff Hart @8^{)}
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca




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