Unsolicited Proposal for an Engineering  Product

Required Elements:
• preliminary draft of assignment elements as indicated
• See rubric for specific details.

 Due:

  1. 10_WA 2_ Proposal_Final: Instructor Feedback (Graded)
    Required Elements:
    • all assignment elements in final form
    • revised and edited document, including your documented response to your grader’s feedback using Comments and Track Changes

 Due:

Assignment Overview
Write an unsolicited proposal that describes a product you are interested in developing and persuade management to approve it.
The Scenario
You are employed as a design engineer for a company. Inspired by a problem you think needs to be addressed, you get an¬ idea for a product you think your company, or a group of investors, should invest in. You discuss this idea with your supervisor, who agrees it has potential, but would like more information before committing to it. To this end, your supervisor asks you to write a proposal describing this product. If your supervisor is sufficiently impressed by your proposal, he or she will approach upper management for their approval. If the project is approved, you will be given the opportunity to spend your time developing, building, and testing a prototype of the product.
The Product
Write an unsolicited project proposal whose purpose is to persuade management to let you work on designing and developing your idea for a product. This product should be something you are interested in working on, and something that hasn’t been done before. If you are proposing an improvement on an existing product, the improvement you are suggesting needs to be significant, not simply a minor change.
The Importance of Creativity
You will be graded on the quality of your proposal idea—how innovative, original, or creative it is—and how well it serves the intended purpose. You will not be graded on the feasibility of your idea, but your idea must be based on the known laws of physics and should appear plausible. (For this reason, ideas such as teleporting and time travel are not acceptable.) Although you do not have to prove that your idea will work, you do need to show that it is within the realm of possibility. You will do this by citing research that supports the plausibility of your product.
Since your idea is based on a fictional scenario, you will need to invent information and data to develop your argument and support your claims. For example, you will need to create an imaginary (but realistic) budget and invent a schedule of tasks. You will also need to make up the name of the company you work for.
Link with the Oral Presentation
This assignment and the oral presentation are linked. In other words, the topic you choose for this assignment will also be the topic of your oral presentation. The purpose of the oral presentation will be to pitch the product you chose to write about in your proposal, so be sure to choose an idea you like, one you would enjoy discussing and promoting. In addition, choose something that lends itself well to a presentation. For example, avoid focusing on a theoretical concept with no practical application, as this could be difficult to explain to people who do not have your technical background.
Purpose of the Assignment
The purpose of this assignment is to demonstrate your ability to do the following:
• Write a persuasive unsolicited proposal
• Write for two audiences: technical and management
• Apply the concepts of writing for a specific audience and purpose.
• Apply the concepts of clear, concise, coherent, and “noise-free” writing.
• Be creative in your approach to the assignment.

Sections to include in the Proposal
Include the following sections in your proposal. See “Assignment Instructions and Formatting Specifications” (p. 5) for specific instructions about which sections require original assertion headings.
Title Page

Executive Summary
The executive summary is crucial because it might be the only item that readers study in their initial review of the proposal. Including a summary will help readers who want only an overview of the document. In the summary, cover the major elements of the proposal, devoting only a few sentences to each of the elements. For example, define the problem you are trying to solve in a couple of sentences. Then describe the product you are proposing as the solution to this problem. Limit the summary to about 250-300 words.
Statement of Problem
Set the context for why you believe your product is needed by discussing the problem or opportunity that inspired it. Describe the problem by summarizing and citing the research you conducted so that readers will understand the problem and why it needs to be addressed or solved.
See Chapter 9: “Adapting Your Style to Proposals,” (pp 182-186) in the textbook for more details on how to develop this section and what to include.
Proposed Solution to Problem
State explicitly what you propose to do. Your goal in this section is to show how your solution addresses the problem raised in the first part of the proposal. See Chapter 9: “Adapting Your Style to Proposals,” (pp 186-189) in the textbook for more details on how to develop this section. In particular, pay particular attention to the following four questions (p. 187).

  1. What is the proposed solution?
  2. Does the solution make sense from a technical perspective?
  3. Does the solution make sense from a management perspective?
  4. Can the people making the proposal carry out the solution?

Benefits of the product
Discuss the benefits of the product for the perceived audience or clients and the likelihood that this product will solve the identified problem. Since this is an unsolicited proposal, you need to persuade the recipient that the product is necessary.
Describe what you will deliver for this project. This will Include a prototype for the product you are designing and a sketch of the prototype. Give enough specific details and information to make the reader understand exactly what they will receive. You also may need to include a scope statement—an explicit statement about what you are not offering to do.
Detail the various expenses involved in the project. Break these expenses into different kinds of labor, the hourly rates for each, and other charges. List supplies needed, expenses for new equipment, your time, and other relevant factors. These details will need to be invented, but should appear realistic.
Tasks and Schedule (Gantt Chart)
Outline the steps or tasks involved. Include a schedule of the projected work with dates and a timeline for the major milestones. Use a Gantt chart for this purpose. This level of detail gives the reader an idea of what is involved in the design and production of the product and how long the project will take. It also enables you to show how organized, reliable, committed, and professional you are. In addition, it gives the recipient of the proposal a chance to ask for changes.
In the final paragraph, urge the recipients to consider your proposal, contact you with questions, and accept your request. This is a good place to reiterate the benefits of this product, and why you believe it should be funded.

Refer to Textbook for guidance
For an overview on the process of writing proposals, read Chapter 9: “Adapting Your Style to Emails, Instructions, and Proposals”, pp. 174-198, The Craft of Scientific Writing (Michael Alley). But bear in mind that Alley’s recommendations, guidelines, and examples are intended to give you an overall perspective on the proposal writing process, rather than to serve as a line-by-line set of instructions to be followed to the dot. Instead, follow the instructions above and ask for clarification if you are unsure about what to include in each section.

Assignment Instructions and Formatting Specifications
• Document type: Microsoft Word
• Page length: 8-10 pages, not including references.
• Margins: 1”
• Proposal Title
o Title Page (requirement for final draft)
• Create Original Assertion Headings for the Following Sections:
o Statement of Problem
o Proposed Solution to Problem
o Benefits of the Product
• Follow the Instructions for Assertion Headings (pp 193-195, Alley)
o capitalized as a sentence
o left aligned
o no more than two lines long
• Typeface and Font
• Body text: Times Roman (body), 12-point, 1.5 line spacing, left justified
• Title: Calibri (light), 18-point, bold, centered
• Heading 1: Calibri (light), 14-point, blue, bold, left justified
• subheading 2: Calibri (light), 12-point, blue, bold, left justified
• subheading 3: Calibri (body), 12-point, bold, Italic, left justified
• Indentation and Spacing
o Indent the first line of all paragraphs (by “.04”), except the first line of a paragraph beneath a heading or subheading.
o Do not leave a line of white space between paragraphs that are indented.
• Page numbers
o bottom right corner
o begin pagination on page two (Reports typically do not have a page number on the first page.)
• Figures:
o Create at least four original figures to support your instructions.
o Borrowed figures can also be used, but they do not count as one of your four original figures.
o Only one of the figures can be a table.
o Make the size of your figures proportional to the rest of the text (not oversized and not too small). Make sure they are easy to read.
• Labelling and placement of figures
o Make captions big enough to read (minimum 11-point).
o Follow IEEE guidelines for the labelling, placement, and discussion of figures.
o Place figures for optimal integration of text and figures. Follow guidelines discussed in textbook (Chapter 2) and lecture. (See Appendix D, pp 267-284, for more details)
o s captions big enough to read (minimum 11-point).
• Layout
o Enhance the readability and appeal of your instruction manual through careful layout, paying attention to the placement of figures and the use of a “reasonable” white space border around headings and graphics.
o See Appendix D, pp 267-284, for more details about the use of white space and headings.
• References:
o Cite all sources used, including figures.
o Use IEEE referencing system.
o Put references on separate page.

Final Draft: Edit and revise, using Word’s Comments and Track Changes
• Using Track Changes and Comments, respond to the feedback you received from your peers and your instructor/TA on the 08_WA 2_ Proposal_Prelim assignment. (See rubric.) You will be graded on your response to this feedback, so make sure you review their comments and the graded rubric.
• Based on the feedback you received, including any peer feedback you found helpful, and the relevant technical writing concepts discussed in the textbook and in lecture, edit and revise your proposal.
• Turn on Track Changes and track all the changes you make for the Final draft. This will show us the quality and quantity of your edits and revisions.
• Write a comment in the “Comments” function for each revision, briefly explaining what the problem was and how you fixed it.
• Include at least 10 revisions and comments based on feedback from your peers, your instructor/TA and yourself. Formatting changes and additions to the document required for the Final draft do not count as revisions to comment on.

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