Business Proposal Development: How to Calculate the Effort Required By Funding Agencies


One mistake to avoid when writing a Business Proposal is to hide or disguise the resources the funding agency needs to commit to the project. Indeed, you can increase your chances of winning a government contract if you show in the Executive Summary the amount of effort that required by the agency team during the proposal development lifecycle.

Request For Proposal – Vendor Assessment Checklist Request For Proposal – Vendor Assessment Checklist

Business Proposals: Calculating Funding Agencies Resources

The reason this helps is that is gives the funding agency (i.e. the organization who has written the Request For Proposal and will provide the funds to the successful bidder) an insight into how well you understand the scope of work, the types of activities involved, and where its team will need to get involved.

If you fail to do this, it shows the evaluation team that you have not estimated the workload correctly and have not foreseen some of the issues that may be involved.

How to Define Agency Requirements During Proposal Implementation

You can use this sample ‘Effort Required’ table to show the estimated effort required from the government agency and its staff over the duration of the project. For several tasks, you can provide a range of values in the ‘Effort’ column.

Task Level Effort
(Man days)
Project Management N/A 100 Describe how you will provide project progress reports to the Project Board. Suggest that a Project Manager from the agency works on the project between half-time and full-time.
Workshop and Seminars 1 10 Explain how you will provide explanatory seminars covering all aspects of the proposed software, technologies and implementation and delivery timelines.
Functional and Technical Design 2 & 3 20 As detailed in the Request For Proposal, show where you will provide resources to assist in the System Design. These resources will cover the system architecture and business requirements.
Usability 3 20 Show where you intend to carry out usability workshops and tests with users. Identify how many days this will require over the course of the project. Include time to be spent by Systems Analyst working with end users.
Business Input 3 20 During the course of the project your team will require input from business users or other individuals within the agency who are not directly connected with the project team. The range of effort includes the time spent by both the Systems Analysts and business users.
Sign-Off 2 & 3 10 The deliverables produced will require review and sign-off by the relevant parties within your Agency.

Figure 1 – Agency Effort Required

Note that the more time agency resources spend providing input and guidance, the less likely it is time-consuming rework will have to be carried out in the latter stages of the project.


By highlighting where the agency will need to help you with the project, you can build more trust by showing that you have a deep understanding of their requirements and have anticipated where they will need to work with you. Remember to reflect these dates into the project plan and your status reports.

About the Author: Ivan Walsh provides business proposal writing tips, tutorials, and templates on the Proposal Writing Course every week. Get his free proposal writing newsletter here.