I am in need of delivering a proposal for a software project I may work on. Some of the areas they would like me to highlight is "implementation timeline, cost, overall system functionality, and continued tech support after development." Is there any template that I should use out there, or is it not like a resume with critical ways to put it together?
Any insight/examples would be greatly appreciated!
It looks like you are asking if there's a standard template to use to answer these questions. Having spent years in consulting, I can tell you that the answer is generally "no."
Since the client specifically asked for responses in those areas, I would make sure to include sections that correspond to those areas.
Structure of the proposal should probably be in this order: Functionality, Timeline, Tech Support, Cost. Overall, though, the order of these items doesn't matter a whole lot.
CAVEAT : If the client has given you a format in which they want you to respond, use that format! I've had a lot of RFPs that I've sent out that specifically state for the vendor to use the approved format, only to have a provider-branded PDF come back that has me scrambling to find answers to critical questions that have been scattered throughout their response. It's annoying, and has caused more than one potential vendor to make it to the bottom of my list.
Another caveat : If you are responding to a governmental RFP, re-read the above caveat and repeat to yourself: "I will respond in the format they require."
I suspect no one is answering this question because there is no short answer. You are asking for the work product of what is essentially a full time job for many people in software development.
The most immediate question that comes to my mind is who exactly is asking you to put together a software proposal when you seemingly have relatively little experience in this area?
The best advice I can give you is to go to your local bookstore and buy some books on software project management. I don't have my personal library in front of me at this time, so unfortunately cannot recommend particular books.
However, keep these thoughts in mind:
The proposal you describe sounds very much like your client is expecting a waterfall style software development project. While those can work, they are fraught with peril. Be thoughtful and diligent in your planning. You might also want to read up on agile style development.
If they have already given you some idea of what they are expecting to see, feel free to ask them "what else should I be sure to cover?" or "do you have a preferred format for proposals?" No need to make this hard.
I generally structure proposals quite simply: situation summary, solution (including timeline and what your team and their team needs to deliver), pricing (preferably not hourly, but that's another story ), terms and conditions, and a place to accept.
And, of course, they can view, comment, and accept online.