Effective Strategies for Writing Proposal Work Plans for Research Software

Series: HPC Best Practices Webinars

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.


Presenter Bio

Chase Million is the founder and CEO of Million Concepts, a company that provides research software engineering and research support services, primarily in the fields of planetary science and astronomy. Chase has almost 20 years of domain experience. He has written mission support software for a number of NASA missions, including the most recent four Mars rovers and the Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) space telescope. He has spent ten years as a software project manager, including serving as PI on multiple software-heavy, grant-funded projects. He is a founding member of the OpenPlanetary Foundation, and known as an advocate for open source software, open data, and high-quality research software / data archiving. He is also one of the 2021 Better Scientific Software fellows.