We put the following fictitious project description together to give students of the first project course a sense of the kind of discussions that normally take place when a project is initiated. We have deliberately used a casual narrative tone to make it easier to read. It is nevertheless typical of project development.
2.0 Project Description
2.1 Concept Development
For this project, HMD had looked at people living in Long-term Care facilities. On average the residents are older, many with some disabilities, but younger people could also require more advanced care that would require them moving to a care facility.
One cannot but marvel at the huge collective experience that these people in care facilities represent. Joanne (a staff member from HMD) told us at a recent staff meeting how she had an opportunity to work with a group of seniors who were interested in poetry and wanted someone to teach them about chapbooks.
HMD got the task, and together with a creative writer, to teach the seniors how to make chapbooks. At the end of the course the seniors were asked to complete a course survey. The one aspect that the seniors commented on was how good it had felt that someone was interested to know about them and give them the tools to share their life experiences and interests. They wanted a follow up course on producing a memoir.
Based on that experience, as well as the input of Mary who often visited an aunt at a local Care facility, we did a lot of brainstorming and came to the conclusion that a book club modeled on the earlier senior training we had done, would be of great benefit to Killarney Care Home and would add to the quality of life of the residents there.
A Possible Project
We decided to put this book club concept in a proposal to the Killarney Management. We would establish and manage a book club at Killarney as a pilot project for 6 months at which point we will do a formal assessment of whether the project satisfied the outcomes we had envisioned.
If it is successful, we will write up the experience and jointly submit it to the gerontology journals and other local people-centered magazines – and of course the Killarney Care Centre website. One of the possibilities is to sell the books online so we would look at how and where the books can best be promoted.
HMD will explore technology transfer options to establish similar book clubs in other parts of Canada, and other parts of the world. We can also see if there are partnership possibilities.
How to Propose
While we at HMD are very excited about the project’s potential, it would be a lot of new concepts for Killarney management to absorb, it took us long enough to develop it.
We should request an opportunity to present the project to the director of the Centre and her senior staff, the venue we can decide on later. The initial proposal will take the form of 1) a document describing the book club concept, and
2) a power point presentation explaining the details.
We would have some existing example books on display and if possible one of the seniors of the original training project to help with the Q & A.
2.2 Project Development Workshop
We would suggest a follow-up hands-on workshop at Killarney to flesh out the concept document to become the project implementation plan. We need to look at space requirements, insurance implications, and legal concerns viz a viz privacy.
2.3 Project Management
Having formal project management is key to the success of multidisciplinary projects such as this to make sure they are implemented on time and on budget.
NFP organizations are notorious for not meeting targets and having cost overruns. We do not want Killarney to be one of them – instead we want to include in future promotions to show Killarney to be a responsible organization.
Killarney should appoint a senior staff member with flexible family obligations because the project will become hectic at times. Enough management and financial authority must be delegated to her or him to enable her to execute her project management duties without unnecessary delays.
Ideally the person should have some experience with working on projects but HMD will provide formal project training. HMD will also assign a project manager and all formal project communication will be between the two project managers or their delegates.
2.4 Financial Aspects
The book club will be very cost-effective and largely self-funded. However setting it up will require considerable investment.
As the project becomes defined and more information is gathered HMD will meet with Killarney management to discuss funding options. As HMD hopes to market the concept more widely, we are willing to absorb some of the initial development costs. One can also look at government grants and commercial sponsorship. Based on our experience a blended financing model will probably work out best.
HMD will compile a final project budget at the completion of the project assessment workshop. The budget together with the project diagrams (gantt chart, work breakdown structure, etc.) will be included in the final book club project proposal that HMD will present to Killarney management for approval.