You’ve decided that maybe a plan for doing your grant submission is a good idea. Check! But how to start?

Here are four concepts (borrowed from the project management profession) to help you get started: 1) assessing feasibility, 2) timelines, 3) milestones, and 4) work breakdown.

Assessing feasibility answers the deceptively simple question: Can this project really be done? To answer it realistically requires consideration of three factors—1) scope, 2) cost, and 3) time. More on these three important considerations and their relationships in the here.

Here’s an example of a timeline.

The second concept from project management is the timeline. It shows how work on the project plays out along a time continuum. To the left is one example of a timeline; others are here and here. You will find in-depth information on timelines, including how to set yours up here.

Once you have a timeline, you need to populate it with events and tasks. The first events you will add are milestones. These are key events in the project that tell you whether you are proceeding as planned. The submission date for your grant proposal is an example of a milestone, but there are others to consider. You will find help to identify milestones for your grant submission here.

The final concept is work breakdown. This is exactly what it sounds like—breaking a large amount of work into smaller, more-doable pieces. How to create buckets of work and associated tasks and activities is detailed here and here. Completing the work breakdown positions you to finish populating your timeline, at which point, voilà! You have a plan!

Your assignment

Assemble the following materials:

  • A large sheet of flip chart paper, preferably not one with the sticky adhesive at the top
  • At least 10 different colors of 2 by inch or 2 by 1 ¾ inch sticky notes (like Post-it notes)
  • A long straight edge to draw lines for your timeline (a yard stick works well)
  • A chart marker with a medium-sized point

Next Post: Can You (Really) Do Your Proposed Study?

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