Whoever wrote a research project proposal knows how much unnerving it
The actual project description (made of work packages, tasks,
deliverable items, ...) has lots of redundancies and cross-references
that makes its coherency as frail as a house of cards.
if the duration of a task is changed most probably you'll need to
update the effort in person-months of the task and of the including
work package; you must update the start date of depending tasks and
the deliver date of any deliverable items; most probably also the
WP efforts and length need update too; not to mention the need of
updating all the summary tables (summary of efforts, deliverable,
..) and the GANTT too.
Any small changes is likely to start a ripple
of updates and the probability of forgetting something and getting an
incoherent project description is large.
Given the harsh competition
in project funding, if your project is incoherent the probability of
getting funded is nil.
One day I got sick of this state of affair and I wrote my own project
generator: 10k lines of Ada code that reads a non-redundant project
description from a simple-format text file and produces a set of files
ready to be imported in the proposal, GANNT chart included.
can specify dependences between different items (e.g., this deliverable
is produced at the end of this task, this milestone is reached when
this deliverable is available, this task must begin after this other
task...) and the program automatically computes all the dates.
Both input parser and output processors are implemented using a plugin
structure that makes it easy to write new parsers to read different
formats or new output processors to produce output in different
formats. Currently a parser for a simple ad-hoc format and an output
processor that produces LaTeX files are provided; a new processor based
on the template expander protypo is currently being implemented.
Did I eat my own dog food? Well, yes, I did. I used it to write a
proposal (still under evaluation) and it served me well.