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The Elegant Proposal: How to Land a DevCo Contract or Job Dana Oshiro

The most elegant solutions — in code and in writing — are often simple. If you’re a contractor, agency or potential employee interested in working with an early-stage developer company, here are some key snippets of info to include in a work proposal:

Proposal/Recommendation:

Frontload all the necessary information in a single paragraph. Include what you’re proposing, total cost to do it, timeline of when it can be implemented and ideal outcomes from the effort.

Objectives & Strategy:

Use 3-5 bullets to explain your objectives and strategy. This is both the “why” and the “how” of your plan.

Budget:

What will this effort cost? Few founders want to see a line-­by-­line itemized list. Instead, offer the total estimated budget with a link to more details and include the amount of time you’ll need from founders in order to execute.

Early Critical Path:

Include actions, deadlines for deliverables, approvals and owners.

That’s it. Few founders want a long-format book report. Instead, they’re looking to see that you understand the problem, that you’ve got concrete deliverables and a logical process, and that the cost to the organization is worth it. If your proposal is selected, you’ll then be asked to flesh it out further and begin to execute. But for now, my advice is to keep it short and sweet.

An elegant and succinct proposal is respectful of a founder’s time and forces you to make a BS-free case for investment in your work. If you’re interested in working with a developer company, check out devcojobs.com.

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