Effective Strategies for Writing Proposal Work Plans for Research Software

August 10, 2022 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Osni Marques

The IDEAS Productivity project, in partnership with the DOE Computing Facilities of the ALCF, OLCF, and NERSC, and the DOE Exascale Computing Project (ECP), organizes the webinar series on Best Practices for HPC Software Developers.

As part of this series, we offer one-hour webinars on topics in scientific software development and high-performance computing, approximately once a month. The August webinar is titled Effective Strategies for Writing Proposal Work Plans for Research Software; and will be presented by Chase Million (Million Concepts). The webinar will take place on Wednesday, August 10, 2022 at 1:00 pm ET.


Effective research proposals must persuade review panels that the project objectives can be achieved and that the requested resources are reasonable and sufficient resources for doing so. A clear, plausible work plan is central to this persuasive process. Despite the fact that many research projects require a great deal of software development, the true costs of software development tasks are often underappreciated and underestimated by both proposers and reviewers. Accurately judging and communicating these costs leads to better proposal and project outcomes. We will quickly survey software project scoping, requirements elicitation, and estimation methods appropriate for the pre-proposal phase, then explain how these can be used to generate a strong and convincing work plan. Topics will include vision and scope, concept of operations, and requirements specification documents; work breakdown structures; requirements / task matrices; and Gantt charts. Strategies for maximizing the impact of these artifacts within a research proposal will be discussed, with suggestions for further reading.