George Heilmeyer was the director of ARPA and he had a set of questions he expected every proposal for a new research program to answer. He referred to them as the Heilmeyer Catechism. It's useful to answer these questions for any individual research project - for yourself and for communication to others what you hope to accomplish. These questions are:
What is the problem, why is it hard?
How is it solved today?
What is the new technical idea; why can we succeed now?
What is the impact if successful?
How will the program be organized?
How will intermediate results be generated?
How will you measure progress?
What will it cost?