How to write a winning project description

How to write a winning project description

Finding the right independent expert starts with having a well-written project description. It must be clear and concise to ensure that it's optimized for attracting your desired talent. When done well, it clearly communicates expectations, identifies the most important skills you're looking for, and sets the parameters for success. 

Yet, time and time again, we've seen project descriptions that fail to do either of the things mentioned above. The impact of not doing so can play a huge role in how quickly you find and onboard a subject matter expert to your project. Think about it. 

The Importance of a Well-Written Project Description

Would you be willing to apply to a project that was either confusing or didn't have enough information? The same applies to independent experts, contractors, or consultants. They want a clear view of your company, why you're looking for their services, what particular skill sets you need, and the project's duration. 

But that's not all. It can also impact your working relationship. 

A project description is more than just a summary of the work you are looking for. It also helps define the parameters of your engagement — setting the standard for the work that will be done and the tone of your working relationship. It can even help you retain that independent expert for future work. 

Think of your project description as a contract between you and the talent you're looking to onboard. The more information about the scope of work, the better it will be for both parties. So what are the necessary components that make up a well-written project description? 

8 Key Pieces of Information Every Project Description Needs

1. Project Description

Every project description needs to have a well-thought-out summary. Somewhere between three to four paragraphs describing:

  • Goals: Describe the future or desired results you plan to achieve 
  • Objectives: Explain the measurable outcomes you expect to achieve with this project and the steps to reach your goal(s)
  • Milestones and Deliverables: State the assets you want your independent expert to complete and by when 
  • Day-to-Day Responsibilities: What will the expert be expected to do on a daily basis

Here’s an example of an actual project description on Graphite.  

This is an example of what a well written project description looks like on Graphite.

2. Define Your Skill Need 

Next, you want to define the kind of skill you need. These can be functional skills such as corporate strategy, sales and marketing, or market research. Once you've identified the main functional capabilities you're looking for, you may want to go a level deeper. 

This image displays all of the functional skills you can consider adding to your project description.

For example, you might want to find someone with corporate strategy experience with business unit planning expertise. All of this matters in ensuring you get the right match when sharing your project description. 

The point? The more specific you are, the greater your chance of finding the right person for the role.  

3. Identify the Sector 

Depending on what you’re looking for, or if you have a niche need, you may want to narrow it further by identifying the sector or industry skill you need. So if you're a consumer packaged goods company that needs help with a global compliance and logistic framework, finding someone with industry experience in these areas will go a long way in ensuring the success of your initiative. 

Example of Graphite’s independent talent with specialized industry experience. 

4. Level of Experience

Similar to a full-time role, you’ll want to define the level of experience you’re looking for. This will vary based on the level of involvement, nature of work, and required expertise you need for your project. 

For example, on Graphite, our independent experts have an average of 16-20+ years of experience in their respective fields. Knowing what level of experience you're looking for can make a huge difference in the impact you can expect your subject matter expert to deliver on day one. 

Example of Graphite’s independent talent experience. 

5. Level of Urgency 

With the first half done, you'll also want to specify urgency. Independent experts tend to work with multiple clients, so knowing how quickly you need this project to be completed will enable them to decide if they work with you or need to move things around. 

6. Where Work Will Be Done 

Like the level of urgency, the location where work is expected to happen also plays a large role in the project description and of candidates that match your criteria. There are three work arrangements: onsite, remote, or remote with travel. 

7. Duration/Projected Workload 

You'll also want to include the duration of the project and the projected number of hours an independent expert is expected to work on your project. A good rule of thumb is to add 1-2 weeks extra over your projected project duration. Do the same for the projected number of hours. You want to do this to account for any potential scope creep or overages that can happen. 

8. Pay Rate 

Finally, there's the pay rate. Setting up payment expectations can make a world of difference in the type of talent you attract. To arrive at a proper pay rate for the skill, hours, and work you're looking for, you need to get an idea of the base rate and then factor in experience, location, and level of urgency to better understand the ongoing pay rate. To that end, we've created this pay rate calculator to help business leaders like you understand the market rate for these skills. 

Feeling Confident about Creating Your First Project Description? 

With the project-oriented economy expected to grow to $20 trillion in 2027, knowing how to write an excellent project description will make the difference between success and failure. Keeping the top three Cs of winning project descriptions — conciseness, clarity, and completeness — top of mind will ensure you're attracting the right independent talent. 

Writing a project description may seem daunting at first, but it doesn't have to be. At Graphite, we work alongside our clients to craft the project description that defines your objectives and goals to attract the best possible match for your initiatives. 

If you're interested in learning more and want to explore Graphite to find independent talent to help you meet your strategic goals, then connect with one of our Account Executives today to explore the possibilities.

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