5 Steps to Write a Technical Proposal (2023)

5 Steps to Write a Technical Proposal (1)

Post byElisabeth O'Quinn
Originally published June 21, 2022, updated June 21, 2022

5 Steps to Write a Technical Proposal (2)

Writing a technical proposal can feel like a daunting task. Questions fill your head.

  • What elements should I include?
  • How should I structure the information?
  • How can I ensure a non-technical audience understands the proposal content?

But luckily, as with any document, you can follow a specific writing process and turn technical information into a persuasive proposal. Let's first look at the definition of technical proposal writing. We'll then break down the process into five key steps.

What is technical proposal writing?

A technical proposal is a persuasive document that outlines the technical requirements and details of a new project or service. Technical proposal writing involves turning technical information into an easy-to-understand document. It can include elements such as:

  • Scope of work
  • Results/benefits
  • Tasks/deliverables
  • Budget
  • Anything that falls out of the scope of work
This information can be used in the final contract if it's a customer-facing document. A technical proposal isn't limited to one type. Here are a few types of technical proposals:
  • Sales proposal
  • Research proposal
  • Design proposal
  • Implementation proposal

5 Steps to Write a Technical Proposal (3)

Write your own technical proposal and get instructor feedback.

Our technical writing course is available for individuals and groups online, virtually, and onsite.

(Video) How to Write a Proposal in 10 Easy Steps

As an example, say that you're trying to convince a potential customer to purchase your company's cyber security software. You write a technical sales proposal that highlights the customer's problem, the benefits of solving it, and how your software is the best solution.

A technical proposal might also be internal and not a customer-facing external proposal. Maybe you are an engineer and have an idea for a new workflow internal project. You'd create an internal technical proposal covering the problem, solution, and plan to share with your boss.

Step 1: Plan your technical proposal

Contrary to what some proposal writers might think, don't start drafting a technical proposal right away. Planning the content first is crucial for efficiency and effectiveness.

First, ask yourself:

  • Who is the reader of this technical proposal?
  • Why am I writing it?
  • What does this reader need to know?
  • What is their technical knowledge level?
  • What are their preferences?

This information will impact your tone, language, the amount of detail you include, and more! In short, don't skip this step. Get an in-depth understanding of your reader's needs, wants, and preferences.

Once you have the answers, map out your content. What information will you include? What are your main points? Your subpoints? Creating an outline or concept map can help get your ideas on paper and speed up the actual writing process.

Step 2: Structure the content

No matter if you're writing an informal email proposal or a formal Request for Proposals (RFP), proposals persuasively follow this overall structure:

  1. Executive summary
  2. The reader's problem or need
  3. Benefits of overcoming this problem or meeting the need
  4. The valuable solution you can provide
  5. Terms, details, and any costs

Note: Notice how this structure doesn't start with an "About Us" section that details your company or who you are. Instead, it's audience-focused. It keeps the reader's needs and pain points in mind. It shows the reader that you have a deep understanding of their problem and can help.

(Video) Technical Proposal Writing

Step 3: Write clearly and focus on the reader

You have your content plan to follow. Time to write the actual proposal. As you write the document, remember that your reader is the center of the action. Write to meet their needs and enhance their understanding.

Here are a few tips for creating a reader-focused proposal:

  • Create a persuasive title.
    Use your title as a persuasion opportunity. For example, instead of "IT Services Proposal," consider "Safeguarding Your Customer's Data with Cloud Services."
  • Write a clear executive summary.
    Your reader doesn't have time to sift through pages and pages of info. Boil down your proposal's key points into a concise but comprehensive executive summary.
  • Avoid general content.
    Get specific in your proposal. Spell out exactly how your product or service will help the reader. Steer clear of vague metaphors, hyperbole, and watered-down language.
  • Use evocative language.
    Choose active verbs. Avoid unnecessary words. For example, instead of including three words, "make a decision," you could use the more powerful verb "decide."
  • Cut the jargon.
    Jargon such as "end of the day" or "ASAP" might sound nice, but it's fluff and could confuse the reader. Remember: you might have a technical background and understand certain terms, but your reader might not. Spell out terms and meanings.

Persuasion is the name of the game in proposal writing. A thoughtful approach that centers around the reader will help you better persuade them to accept your proposal.

5 Steps to Write a Technical Proposal (4)

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Step 4: Format to enhance reader understanding

A proposal doesn't have to follow one specific format because each proposal depends on your reader's needs. However, there are three formats to consider:

  • An RFP or Request for Proposal. The format of the proposal normally must match the format and order specifications in Requests for Proposals.
  • An informal proposal. Depending on the reader, you have the freedom to shape the appearance, length, and complexity. This format is acceptable for most proposals.
  • A very informal proposal. A proposal doesn't have to be a formal document. It can be information presented in a well-formatted email or letter.

Choose the style of your proposal based on what works best in each situation. Whatever style you choose, make sure to incorporate headings and bullets in your formatting. These elements help the reader skim and easily digest the information.

(Video) Project Proposal Writing: How To Write A Winning Project Proposal

A sleek design with an eye-catching title page is also recommended.

Step 5: Edit for any errors

Once you have your proposal written, time to edit for any mistakes.

Edit the substance first. Are there any technical concepts or sections that might confuse the reader? Is the information accurate? Once you've edited the substance, move on to the structure. Does it make logical sense for the reader? Finally, correct sentence structure and grammar.

After your first review, wait 24 hours and then review it again (and potentially again) before submitting the finished product.

Hint: We recommend using Grammarly to ensure that there are no careless grammar errors (e.g., missing punctuation) in your proposal.

Technical proposal examples

Need some ideas for your proposal? Here are a few we analyzed that do a good job of persuading the reader to choose a company's product or service.

1. Engineering Services Proposal

5 Steps to Write a Technical Proposal (5)

The Project Background sections clearly outline the work process for the client. Each task is clarified and seems to respond to the specifications of an RFP. It should follow the executive summary.

Critique: The introductory summary could include more persuasive and specific language. The Company Introduction and Team sections should also go towards the end of the proposal. Lead with the reader's pain points and benefits of overcoming the problem.

(Video) How to Write a Winning Engineering Proposal: The Billion Dollar Question

2. Web Design Proposal

5 Steps to Write a Technical Proposal (6)

This customer-facing proposal breaks down the process for implementing the company's web design services. Financials are broken down by unit, hourly, and subscription costs, making it easy for the reader to absorb.

Critique: There are no clear financials or pricing details, which is often what clients are looking for in a proposal.

3. CRM Implementation Proposal

5 Steps to Write a Technical Proposal (7)

This proposal incorporates convincing language andbullet points to highlight the value of the CRM.

Critique: The About Us section should come after the benefit-to-client details. The language could also be improved. Instead ofincludinggeneral CRM best practices, the company could highlight what their CRM can specifically offer.

Discover more proposal examples here.

Strengthen your technical proposal writing skills

Take your technical writing skills to the next level by enrolling in a technical writing course. At Instructional Solutions, we offer online courses with comprehensive lessons, exercises, and individualized feedback to help new or experienced technical proposal writers. No matter your proposal assignment, Instructional Solutions helps you take an effective technical approach to write and create a successful proposal.


Technical Writing

(Video) Project Proposal Approval in 5 step process


What are the five 5 steps in writing your proposal? ›

Steps to writing your own project proposal
  • Step 1: Define the problem.
  • Step 2: Present your solution.
  • Step 3: Define your deliverables and success criteria.
  • Step 4: State your plan or approach.
  • Step 5: Outline your project schedule and budget.
  • Step 6: Tie it all together.
  • Step 7: Edit/proofread your proposal.
May 18, 2022

What are the four 4 main components of a proposal? ›

Basic components of a proposal
  • Abstract/Summary. The abstract is the most important component of the proposal. ...
  • Statement of Need. What is the issue that you are addressing and why does it matter? ...
  • Project Activity, Methodology and Outcomes. ...
  • Evaluation. ...
  • Dissemination. ...
  • Budget and Continuation Funding.

What are the steps of a proposal? ›

Follow the steps below to make sure your proposal is a winner.
  1. Step 1: Write the Executive Summary. ...
  2. Step 2: Explain the Project Background. ...
  3. Step 3: Present a Solution. ...
  4. Step 4: Define the Project Deliverables. ...
  5. Step 5: Request Your Needed Resources. ...
  6. Step 6: State Your Conclusion.
Jul 15, 2022

What are the 8 steps to writing a proposal? ›

  1. Introduction. It is also sometimes termed as 'need for study' or 'abstract'. ...
  2. Review of literature. It refers to all sources of scientific evidence pertaining to the topic in interest. ...
  3. Aims and objectives. ...
  4. Research design and method. ...
  5. Ethical considerations. ...
  6. Budget. ...
  7. Appendices. ...
  8. Citations.

What is a technical approach proposal? ›

Technical Approach - Description of the proposed services which meets or exceeds the stated technical specifications or scope of work. The proposal should describe how the proposed team members have the necessary experience and capabilities to carry out the Technical Approach.

What are the characteristics of a technical proposal? ›

Basic features of a proposal
  • A well-stated definition of the problem. ...
  • A well-stated definition of the problem. ...
  • A clearly stated proposal to solve the problem. ...
  • A clearly stated proposal to solve the problem. ...
  • Awareness of alternative proposals. ...
  • Awareness of alternative proposals. ...
  • An evaluation of the benefits of your proposal.

What are the 12 parts of a project proposal? ›

Proposal Components
  • Cover Sheet/Face page.
  • Table of Contents.
  • Abstract or Project Summary.
  • Project Description/Research Plan/Statement of Work.
  • Biographical Sketch.
  • Bibliography and References Cited.
  • Budget and Budget Justification.
  • Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources.
Jan 4, 2021

What are the 3 main types of proposals? ›

Types of proposals
  • Formally solicited.
  • Informally solicited.
  • Unsolicited.

What is the best example of technical writing? ›

Good examples include user manuals, employee handbooks, standard operating procedures (SOP), software user documentation (help files), troubleshooting guides, and legal disclaimers.

Is proposal an example of technical writing? ›

Proposals are among the most common types of technical writing found in the workplace, in academia, and in the wider community. A proposal is a document that tries to persuade the reader to implement a proposed plan or approve a proposed project.

What are the 5 components of a research? ›

research components, introduction, literature review, method, results, discussion, conclusion.

What five 5 elements are normally included in the body of a formal proposal? ›

The body of a formal proposal can contain any or all of the following elements: facts and evidence to support your conclusions, the proposed solution (what you have to offer), the work plan, a statement of qualifications, and a breakdown of costs.

What is key elements of a complete proposal? ›

The elements of project proposal are a document which explains a clear strategic direction of project, why the project exists in a particular situation, what kind of problems the project attempts to address, what make the project successful, and what are the required resources.

What are the 10 steps to make him propose? ›

How to Get a Guy to Propose to You
  1. Become his weakness.
  2. Give yourself time and importance.
  3. Give him hints about moving.
  4. Start spending more time with your friends.
  5. Tell him you have options.
  6. Keep the wedding talk on hold.
May 12, 2021

What is the first phase in writing a proposal? ›

Step 1: Create a Title Page

The first page you need when creating a business proposal is the title page. It should include some important overarching information like your contact details, company name and logo. Additionally, make sure to add a date and a descriptive title.

What are the top 5 things to keep in mind while writing a winning proposal for the client? ›

Now, let's see what parts of a business proposal are crucial to making it a winning deal for you!
  • The title page. A business proposal is a strong and concise presentation of your ideas and what you are offering. ...
  • Introduction. ...
  • Problem/Project statement. ...
  • Methodology. ...
  • Pricing and deliverable.
Mar 20, 2020

Why do we write technical proposal? ›

The main purpose of a technical proposal is to convince the buyer to approve and accept your project and work with your company. This essentially means that you need to know your target audience, their problems, and their goals well enough to offer them a technical solution.

What are the five characteristics of technical writing? ›

There are five basic principles of technical writing, including quality content, audience and purpose, accessibility, grammar, and writing style.

What are the 4 characteristics of technical writing? ›

Owner at Technical Communication Center
  • 1) Technical Writing is Comprehensive.
  • 2) Technical Writing is Logical and Sequential.
  • 3) Technical Writing is Action Oriented.
  • 4) Technical Writing is Organized.
Nov 6, 2017

What is proposal format? ›

It should include the project's purpose, goals, specific objectives, method, and anticipated impact. Objectives need to be stated in measurable terms and be specific and consistent with the statement of need and the purpose of the proposed project.

What makes a good project proposal? ›

Project proposal should focus on the project's goals and vision, key deliverables, timeframe, and ownership. Other details you can include are key risks and issues, success criteria, and reporting. Project financials should include details on the estimated budget and approximate financial impact post-completion.

What are the 9 steps of proposal writing? ›

Here are the common steps, in order, that are often included when writing a formal grant proposal:
  • Include a cover letter. ...
  • Include an executive summary. ...
  • Describe a statement of need. ...
  • List objectives and goals. ...
  • Describe methods and strategies. ...
  • Detail a plan of evaluation. ...
  • Include a budget. ...
  • Detail organizational information.
Jul 7, 2021

What are the 4 C's of technical writing? ›

Precise writing encapsulates many of the 7 C's; it is clear, concise, concrete, and correct.

What are the 3 C's of technical writing? ›

This is in line with the need to maintain consistency, which is one of the three criteria a technical document should meet, also known as three C's: clear, concise, and consistent.

What technical writing looks like? ›

There are many examples of technical writing, such as preparing instruction manuals and writing complete guides. In some cases, technical writing includes preparing research journals, writing support documents, and other technical documentation.

What does technical writing include? ›

Press releases, memos, reports, business proposals, datasheets, product descriptions and specifications, white papers, résumés, and job applications are but a few examples of writing that can be considered technical documentation.

What is effective technical writing? ›

Good technical writing is technically accurate, use- ful, concise, complete, clear, and consistent, targeted, well organized, and must be correct in grammar, spelling and punctuation. The technical content (information/message), not the writing style or author's feelings toward the subject, is the focal point.

What are the steps in writing a proposal essays? ›

  1. Write a catchy title. Think of something that will grab the reader's attention and keep them interested. ...
  2. Write the introduction. ...
  3. Provide a resource review. ...
  4. Explain the implementation of your methods. ...
  5. Predict your results. ...
  6. Discuss the potential impact of your results.
Jan 31, 2013

What is the format of writing a proposal? ›

Here's the general structure of a proposal: As you can see, a proposal generally consists of: Introduction: A brief overview of the problem, solution, costs, and benefits. Issue: The main definition of the issue, including subject, purpose, main argument, background information and importance.

What are the 6 elements of a research proposal? ›

  • Introduction. It is also sometimes termed as 'need for study' or 'abstract'. ...
  • Review of literature. It refers to all sources of scientific evidence pertaining to the topic in interest. ...
  • Aims and objectives. ...
  • Research design and method. ...
  • Ethical considerations. ...
  • Budget. ...
  • Appendices. ...
  • Citations.

What are the essentials of a proposal? ›

1.2 Essentials of a Valid Offer. 1.2.1 1] Offer must create Legal Relations. 1.2.2 2] Offer must be Clear, not Vague. 1.2.3 3] Offer must be Communicated to the Offeree. 1.2.4 4] Offer may be Conditional.

What are the 6 steps to writing an essay? ›

The 6 Steps of the Writing Process
  • Prewriting.
  • Planning.
  • Drafting.
  • Revising.
  • Editing & proofreading.
  • Publishing.
Jul 27, 2022

How do you prepare for a proposal? ›

12 Things to Do Before You Propose
  1. Are you both on the same page? The spontaneous proposal is wonderful, but the idea of marriage shouldn't be a surprise. ...
  2. Talk to the parents. Is this a bit old-fashioned? ...
  3. Buy the ring. ...
  4. Get personal with the proposal. ...
  5. Turn to the pros. ...
  6. Prepare notes. ...
  7. Prepare your backstory. ...
  8. Keep the ring safe.
Mar 4, 2020

What are five of the strategies for success in planning reports and proposals? ›

source, and identify the five ways Save time and get better results by using a clear process: to use research results.
  • Plan your research. ...
  • Locate the data and information you need. ...
  • Process the data and information you located. ...
  • Apply your findings.

What is the most important thing to remember when writing a proposal? ›

- Make sure your argument is easy to follow and clear. - Do not waste the time of your reviewers; get right to the point. - Include only essential information. - Write in a clear, engaging style.


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(Surviving and Thriving in Higher Education)
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