Formal Project Proposal


For this course I would like you to use a standard project development lifecycle.  This is the technique you have studied in courses such as Software Engineering, or User Interface Design.  Using this technique, requirements gathering precedes analysis, which precedes design, which precedes implementation, which precedes testing, which precedes fielding the system. Those project teams often produced as their midterm deliverable a Project Analysis and Design Document. The remainder of this page outlines a typical analysis and design.

Overview of the Project Analysis / Design Document

This document should contain:


The document should be organized with the following sections in the following order:

Executive Summary

A one-page summary of the problem, proposal, and design.


What is the project? What are the goals of the project? What methods have been used as part of the project?

System Analysis

A narrative description of the problem and the people who solve it. This description can be augmented with organization charts that demonstrate the structure of the system, context and data-flow diagrams that document how the task is currently performed. Some issues that you will probably want to address in your analysis include:

System Proposal

A description of the system being proposed. This description should then specify the goal(s) and structure of the proposed system. It should also present any alternatives considered, including system scope and system implementation. Finally, it should justify the alternatives selected, discussing the relative advantages and disadvantages of the proposal.

Task Analysis

A recursive analysis of the tasks underlying the system, the possible methods for achieving each task, and the sub-tasks established by each method. Your analysis will not be complete at this stage and should focus specifically on the methods and sub-tasks indicated by the domain knowledge collected to date and by the system proposal.

Data Analysis

For many teams, a big part of your system is obtaining and analyzing data.  How your system works will depend on what data you have available - both in type and in quantity.

This section should consist of two parts. 

For example, if your group was working on optical character recognition, what types of images are you using for training and testing?  Where do they come from?  How many will you be using for each phase or will you be using a continual roll out (updated learning model)?  Show a representative data set. 

If your group was working on a scheduling system for the department of computer science you would need to describe the different data tables present in the system (a table for courses, a table for rooms, a table for course conflicts from a student perspective (eg. most students take discrete and CSI during the same semester), a table for professors, expertise, and preferences, etc).  Where does this data come from?  How does it change from semester to semester, etc?

System Architecture

An initial model of the high-level components in your system architecture and how they interact. You should begin to assign domain knowledge to each component based on your knowledge acquisition and system analysis to date.

Summary and Conclusions

A summary is a closing abstract. Conclusions imply judgment or expert opinion. You should provide both.


Document outside sources that you have read in support of your analysis and design, including your textbook if relevant.


Use if appropriate. An appendix can be used to present existing forms, documents, etc., that provide details relevant to your report but not appropriate for inclusion in the report body. These may also include questionnaires used, transcripts of interviews, and the like.

Format of Document

The report must be delivered in a standard three-ring binder. All pages must be numbered, except for the title page and table of contents. The title page should contain the title of the document, the names of the team members, the course name and number, the instructor's name, the date the document is submitted, and the department and school name. The table of contents should list all sections and indicate the pages on which they begin. Sub-sections may be listed if appropriate.

The sections of the document must be in the order listed above. Each section should be marked to indicate the person(s) responsible for writing it.

The references in the bibliography should be listed in alphabetical order and should be numbered consecutively. Citations in the report should use the number to indicate the reference.