Executive Summary

Writing a compelling executive summary can be the difference between the life or death of your project’s proposal. Why? Because it’s the first piece of documentation stakeholders will read before getting your plans approved. As such, executive summaries must provide an overview that can effectively summarize your vision for your project.

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Executive Summary Definition

An executive summary can be defined as a brief report that highlights the most important items of a project’s plan. It should be able to provide enough detailed information so that readers can quickly and effectively become acquainted with your project’s vision and goals, by summing up the main points. ¡

Executive summaries are an important communication tool for your projects because, by providing the right information to their target readers, they can be responsible for getting projects approved and off the ground. 

The purpose of an executive summary is to positively grab the attention of clients and stakeholders mainly because when you’re presenting a project you might only get one good chance at convincing them why your project should get the green-light.

What to Consider When Writing an Executive Summary

The executive summary should feel like a roadmap for your project’s action plan. It should be able to provide the right amount of information while still keeping it concise and engaging.

Think of it as the first interaction your ideas will have with any decision markers, and as such, the information you provide should be as powerful, meaningful, and interesting enough as to be worthy of their time and financial investment. 

But you’ve already done your research and you have documented your efforts and findings. You are certain your project has a deep and particular impact, so what should be considered when summarizing your plan?

  • A strong introduction, one that makes sure your audience feels connected with and that explains how this particular project impacts the organization as a whole. 
  • A table of contents in the form of a bulleted list.
  • Roles are clear and strengths can be easily identified.
  • The reason that brought you here. Explain the need and its importance.
  • A solution to the problem and why you chose it.
  • A powerful conclusion, one that is able to summarize the importance of the project and once more explain why it should be approved. 

What to Include in an Executive Summary

There are several key sections that must be included in your executive summary. Follow the next steps in order to produce a concise, well-written, and engaging executive summary.

  1. Authorship. Use this section to include information related to your company, the name of the project being proposed, who wrote the executive summary, and the contact information for said person. 

  1. Vision statement. This section is critical to your work because this is where you need to grab your readers’ attention so that they continue reading onto the next page, which is where they will find more detailed information related to your proposal. Include your vision and your goals for this project.

  1. Introduction. Explain how your project impacts your company. Give them a reason to invest in your project. Be specific and explain why this is an investment opportunity, and one that will see a return.

  1. Company’s role. Refer to the specific skills your company has in order to take on this project. Explain why it would be beneficial to everyone.

  1. Problem and solution. What particular problem or issue are you solving? Address how you’re solving the problem and be specific as to how the company will benefit from this. 

  1. Documentation. This section must include proof as to how you’re going to address the problem. Include supporting documents and the research you’ve made, but be concise. Show diligence.

  1. Resources. List every resource you will need to take on this project. Include, software, hardware, equipment, and team members.

  1. Return on Investment. This section must specify how the company will profit from the completion of your project. Explain why it’s worth the time, the effort, and the financial investment.

  1. Strategy and Marketing. Will your project require a sales or marketing strategy? If so, include this information here. 

  1. Budget. Use this section to breakdown how much money you will need in order to complete your project. Be thorough. 

  1. Timeline. Specify how much time you will need to complete your project. Include milestones. 

  1. Conclusion. Up to this point, you’ve listed the most relevant information. Use this final section to summarize the importance of your project and why you’re the one for the job.

How to Use Instagantt’s Executive Summary Template

Executive summaries help to communicate the most important aspects of a project plan and to demonstrate why they should be approved and moved forward. 

Project management software, such as Instagantt, can be used to prepare and outline executive summaries, mainly because it provides room for listing tasks, timelines, milestones, and to attach relevant information found during the research period.

Executive Summary Template
Executive Summary Template

With Instagantt, you’ll be able to create and manage projects in minutes. Most importantly, you will be able to keep track of all the different activities, as well as the overall progress of your plan. Thanks to its Gantt chart design, not only will you be adding tasks and assigning responsibilities, but you’ll also be managing a clear timeline for your work. 

‍Take a Look at Our Free Executive Summary Template

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