• Hannah

Plan, plan, plan, got to have a plan!

The project plan love them or hate them nobody is going to hand you over an innovation grant without one. And any old project plan won’t do, they are going to want to see that you have thought it all through, so what does a good project plan look like?

For me a project plan should have the following:

· Work packages and tasks within each work package

· Owners for all work packages

· Start and stop dates for all tasks

· Milestones

· Deliverables

Does it matter what software program that you use? I don’t think it does, MS Project, Smart Sheets, MS Excel or something else it really doesn’t matter if you have covered off the points above.

The one thing you must do though is make sure that whatever you submit is readable. So many times people print off a project plan where you can see all the weeks stretching out to the right-hand side of the sheet but can’t read what the actual tasks are. Whatever you submit the whole document needs to be readable. The assessor will want to look at the detail behind the plan and will have a good sense of what is achievable in the suggested timescales.

Project plans can and do cover many things but I think if you use the structure below for how to think of the work packages you will have a strong plan with which to input the task level detail. My suggested work packages:

· Project Initiation

· Project Governance

· Stakeholder Engagement

· Data Gathering

· Assessing/Creating

· Testing/Embedding/ Evaluating

· Reporting/Disseminating/Deploying

If a task is going to take more than a couple of months always question whether you should be splitting it into multiple tasks to show clearly what work is being undertaken. For example, putting a line in saying “create MVP” for four months doesn’t give the assessor much detail. I would break it down into create technical plan for the MVP, build the MVP, create a test plan, testing and reporting. This reassures the assessor that you are doing all of the steps that they were probably thinking needed to be done. They are now clear as to your approach.

There is lots to think about and often just having an external sounding board for your project plan can be helpful to see things that you may not have thought about.

The project plan is typically part of a much larger submission document required to apply for an innovation grant. If you would like someone to work with you on your submission or even draft the application for you do get in touch here. We also offer a review service for applications that you have written.

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