Anna Shipman : JFDI


29 April 2024 / Leadership

A format I have found useful for making proposals is 1-measure-3-1. This is a variation on the 1-3-1 problem-solving method (nice summary here), focused specifically on proposals.


Fit it onto one page

It is always best to make your proposal succinct. This applies even more when you want a decision from someone senior to you, who will have many competing demands on their time, a wider scope of work than you and less context on this particular issue. You want to make it easy and quick for them to grasp the key points.

You should always aim to cover 1-measure-3-1 on one page.

Don’t mess with the margins and font size, focus instead on making sure you are extracting the key points.

Prioritise the user: the decision-maker

If you really need to go over one page, it absolutely must fit onto two.

If it doesn’t fit on two pages you haven’t done the work to understand what is crucial for the decision to be made and you are including extraneous detail.

You are prioritising your time over the time of the person you are asking to make the decision: the less time you spend making your proposal really tight, the more time you are asking the decision-maker to spend reading and parsing your content to draw out the key points. The impact will be that the decision will take longer, and may be of a lower quality.

Put useful extra detail in appendices

It’s OK to include appendices with more detail; what you put into an appendix is extra info that might be of interest to the decision-maker (e.g. the methodology you used, where any raw data came from etc) but it should be possible to make the decision without reading the appendices.

Continue to aim for succinctness in the appendices.

[FYI, the above is one page of a Google doc. Now to the second page.]

Appendix A: useful extra detail

Appendix B: how to write about options

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