Process impact: This proposal,
along with drafts of related documents, will be used by management to
determine whether or not to authorize work on this project. A clear
and precise project plan helps set expectations that will be used
later to evaluate the success of the project.
Background and Motivation
TODO: Replace the example text below with text that describes your
project. Define the problem and justify the need before proposing a
solution. Remember to focus on business problems,
rather than technical problems.
- What is the setting and history behind this project?
- E-commerce websites are becoming essential as
more consumers expect to be able to shop on-line. We have been
setting up individual e-commerce websites for the past four years. It
is still usually a manual process that is being repeated over and
over. Now we feel that we have a core engine that provides a
complete set of the features that consumers expect, and that could
be licensed as a software product.
- Stock trading applications have been available
for years. These applications have provided the basic stock quote
and trading features that enabled active investors to manage their
own portfolios. These non-professionals need easier access to more
information to help their decision-making.
- What business problem does this project address?
- There is a need for businesses to set up their
own on-line store as rapidly and easily as possible. Virtually
every business has customers that prefer to purchase on-line, but
few businesses have the expertise or time to create an e-commerce
site themselves. Custom-coded e-commerce sites also usually lack
the advanced features found on big shopping sites, and may contain
defects and security holes.
- Active investors need constant awareness of
market conditions and the state of their stock portfolio.
Decisions to trade stocks are based on company financial data,
company news, industry news, economic indicators, and simulation
models. It is difficult for people to gather and consider all of
the needed information when working under time pressure.
- What are some current approaches to this problem?
- Businesses can currently do one of the
- Set up their own e-commerce site
- Pay a consult to set-up an e-commerce site
- Sell their products through distributors that have e-commerce
Active investors can currently do one of the following:
- Spend significant time doing their own research by gathering
news and data from several sources. Meanwhile, the market opportunity
may pass by.
- Pay an investment adviser who divides their time between many clients
- Fail to understand market data and make trades with unknown risk
POTENTIAL-CUSTOMERS can currently do one of the following:
- DO-IT-YOURSELF or IN-HOUSE-SOLUTIONS
- PAY-FOR-A-SERVICE or RENT-A-SOLUTION
- USE-A-COMPETING-PRODUCT, described in the target audience and benefits
- Why is this problem worth solving or worth solving better?
- An e-commerce engine that had all the features
that consumers expect will help increase sales. E.g.,
consumer-written product ratings and reviews help make consumers
more comfortable with their purchase decisions, and help reduce
returns, while also reducing the number of calls made to customer
support. That increases revenues and decreases costs.
- Private investors stand to make or lose a lot of
money depending on the quality of their trading decisions. Better
decisions lead directly to better investment returns.
- How will this product be better than previous approaches?
- We add innovative new features. These new
features are based on our unique experience in this market and are
currently not offered by competitors.
- Our system will have similar functionality, but
it will have much better maintainability, scalability, and
- Our system will have similar functionality, but
it is specifically aimed at a market segment that is not
served by competing products.
- This is a "me-too" product that will go
head-to-head with very similar competing products in the same
market. The market is large enough that we can be very happy with a
share of it. Our unique competitive advantages are in non-product
functions of our business such as sales, marketing, partnerships,
support, and training. The product will have some simple built-in
"hooks" that leverage those advantages.
- Where is there more information on this problem?
- The following pages provide additional background and
TIP: Answers in this section should be relatively short because you
can refer to concepts described above.
- What is the goal of this project?
- This project will produce an e-commerce website
engine that is widely reusable by small- to medium-sized businesses,
full featured, and easy to use and administer. Our customers will be
able to set up their own e-commerce site that looks like the
big, popular shopping sites.
- We will build a completely new stock trading
application with novel features to help traders make better
decisions. In addition to all the standard features that users
expect, we will add powerful visualization, simulation, and news
aggregation features. We expect that our application will become the
preferred trading platform for high-net-worth private U.S. investors
who trade more than ten different stocks per week.
- What are the defining features and benefits of this product?
- Reusable e-commerce website engine with advanced
functionality, including: user accounts, product ratings, reviews,
wish-list, affiliate programs, order tracking, easy reordering, and
specialized reports for department managers.
- All the expected stock trading features plus
stock trade decision-support features, including: news aggregation,
stock performance visualization, portfolio distribution
visualization, market trend visualization, macro-economic
indicators, what-if stock market simulation, simulation results
- Where are other documents that further explain the goal of this
TODO: Reuse sample text below to write clear statement of the
scope of your project. What are the high-level things that you plan
to do, and that you will not do? What are your important
simplifying assumptions? Try to guard against reasonable
misunderstandings that might arise if you did not explain the scope.
It can take the form of a paragraph, bullet list, in-out list, and/or
UML context diagram.
We want to focus on the features provided by the
application engine, user interface, security, performance, and
management reports. We will explicitly not focus on international
trade or compatibility with legacy systems.
See the context
- In Scope:
- Working with the most popular servers and browsers
- Basic end-user personalization
- Enough security to greatly discourage fraud and abuse
- Tracking of in-house order processing and shipping
- Simple integration with our own ERP and CRM systems
- Out of Scope:
- Working with outdated or uncommon browsers
- Advanced personalization, e.g., dynamic pricing
- Detailed tracking of orders redirected to partners
- Integration with partner ERP and CRM systems
||Out of Scope
|Building a web application for use with standard web
servers and application servers
||Building a new web server or application server
|Working the most popular browsers (IE6, NN7/Mozilla)
||Working with uncommon or outdated browsers
|Security in the form of user accounts, passwords, and
||Special security against hackers. Searching for security
holes in existing software components.
|One sample look-and-feel and instructions for customization
||Our own high-quality look-and-feel. A library of look-and-feel
|Database and server load and data volume that can be handled by
||Managing a cluster of servers.
|Keeping track of customer web traffic patterns
||Tracking individual user activity on the site and
automatically producing personalized pages
|Displaying advertisements to visitors. Billing
advertisers for impressions.
||Automatically selecting ads that fit the
visitor's interests. On-line management of advertising or
real-time reporting to advertisers. Participating in existing
banner advertising affiliate networks.
|WE PLAN TO GO THIS FAR IN THIS DIRECTION
||BUT NOT TOO FAR, OR IN ANOTHER DIRECTION
TODO: Briefly list project deliverables. When you are done, what will you
deliver to the customer? This is described in more detail in the
- E-commerce website engine software
- Software installers on each supported platform
- Quick-start guide with sample initial site data
- Sample look-and-feel and customization guide
- On-line help for administrators and end users
- Training course materials for administrators
- Utilities to import and/or upgrade database
- Command-line advertising configuration tool and report generator
- Localization and customization guide for our system integrators
Risks and Rewards
TODO: Briefly list and rank major risks. Risks are detailed in the
draft risk management
worksheet. For this
proposal, you should select the most important risks and explain
them in non-technical terms.
- What are the main risks of this project?
- There is a potential conflict between our goals of a providing
leading-edge functionality, easy customization, and wide-spread
applicability. We already have a early design draft that gives us
several options along the trade-off curve. We will review it with
product marketing to set priorities.
- There are significant technical difficulties in this product.
This will be a risk because only one person on our team has much
experience with SPECIFIC-TOOL and SPECIFIC-TECHNOLOGY. We will
address this risk by scoping and scheduling the project to leave
enough time for training and reviews.
- The schedule for this project is very short. We will manage
this by planning a conservatively scoped functional core and series
of functional enhancements that can be individually slipped to later
releases if needed.
- What are the main rewards if this project succeeds?
- If we successfully roll out this product, we
will immediately be able to use it for our own in-house and partner
- In the 12 months after roll-out, we expect to gain
significant license and services revenue from existing customers and
- PROJECT-NAME will allow us to phase out
LEGACY-SYSTEM and improve our existing BUSINESS-PROCESS, resulting
in a direct cost savings.
- The success of this project will greatly improve
the chances that ANOTHER-PROJECT
will meet its feature, quality, and schedule goals.
- This project has some clear direct benefits, but
it is a journey as much as it is a destination. Significant
indirect benefits include our increased experience with this market
segment, product type, development method, development tools,
technology, management technique, and partner organization.