The One-Pager Advantage: A Template for Software Engineering Projects

22 May 2024

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely my own and do not necessarily reflect the views оf any institution оr organization.


The complexity of software systems often requires software engineers or managers to write proposals to align teams, organizations, or stakeholders (partner teams, dependent services, etc.) on changes. These proposals help communicate motivation, recommendations, or milestones concisely, while getting feedback and aligning all stakeholders.

Such documents also serve as past reference points for new employees taking ownership of software systems and understanding the thought process of how decisions were made in the past. This article provides a generic template for writing one pagers; although not limited to software systems, it has been proven helpful while leading software engineering organizations.



This will be the executive summary of the document, good for capturing motivation and what you are proposing for readers to get interested in your document.


Provide details on the background/motivation for the change. Metrics/data can be included to explain the problem and provide additional insights.


In-scope requirements for this project.


Call out any non-goals or out-of-scope tasks for this project. These can be distractions to solving the problem you want to focus on.


Summarize a list of options/alternatives you considered to solve the problem, preferably with pros & cons for each.


Based on alternatives discussed in the previous section, provide recommendations for strategic solutions with explanations or supporting arguments.

Tactical approach as an option - Based on challenges/timeline associated with achieving the recommended approach, consider providing a tactical solution; potentially, this can be an incremental step toward a strategic solution or minimal change to address the problem in the short term.


Describe how you will validate that the feature is working as intended; what will you test for? How will you test it? Will there be a period for gamma or pre-production validation? What will that entail? Make sure to include test cases that verify that the feature only applies to the events where it should apply


List high-level tasks/milestones for recommended solutions with estimates in dev days. To provide this list apart from functional changes, think about:

  • Testing strategy prior to release (unit, integration tests, etc.)
  • Need for/strategy to backfill
  • Any changes to metrics/reporting scripts/tools
  • New metrics/validation steps after release (canaries, pipeline approval workflows)
  • Security review
  • Mini operational readiness review


References you think might help readers to dive deep into the problem space or presented alternatives.


Proactively answer any anticipated questions or questions, which might have been brought up in consecutive discussions related to this proposal.


Add any supplementary information to the proposal, which readers can refer to as needed.

Meeting # Notes

Maintain the below summary for meetings you have the proposal review.


List of people who attended the meeting.

MoM (Minutes of Meeting)

Summarize the Minutes of the meeting for future reference.