Contrary to what you might think, project plans don’t just have to be used for looking forward.
I used the project plan template on the MAP toolkit to reflect on two projects which I had been involved in; with an idea of using them in my chartership portfolio. And so they could be added to the MAP Toolkit wiki.
Eventually I hit the major chartership “bump in the road” that many face – too much evidence. So the fully formed project plans were omitted from my final portfolio. However their influence didn’t end there. The main headings used in the project plans informed the approach I took to the reflection in all my other pieces of evidence.
Instead of staring at the blank screen wondering where to start; the template gave me some pointers to think about (not necessarily using all of these for every piece of evidence):
- Project team – who was involved – did this expand my practice in anyway e.g. making new connections with colleagues or departments inside or outside of the library?
- Resources required – was there any training I undertook to be able to do the work and had this impacted on how I approached the task? Were there any new IT systems I needed to use, or any new library processes that had to be developed; and what as my part in this?
- Timeframe – how long did it take to do the work – are there any learning points to be gleaned from whether the deadline was met or missed? Could anything have been done differently so the work was done more quickly or efficiently?
- Description of project –
- What does the project entail?
- Outline the project process
- What are the expected outcomes?
- Reflecting on what it was I or my work group: did or had planned to do, what our aim was, and what actually happened. Also what had I personally expected to get out of it? What skill or experience did I feel had been developed through the work?
- Alignment to local, regional and national drivers – In the terms of my chartership I mainly focused on the local drivers. What was there going on in our organisation, our customer organisations, or the wider library environment that meant the work I had undertaken was necessary or beneficial?
- On the national driver front – what was going on in the professional literature that had inspired me to undertake the activity I was reflecting on?
- Intended outcome for customer / organisation / library – what was the outcome I or my team had been aiming at? Had this outcome been achieved? Were there other outcomes I hope will come about in the future?
- Next steps – did I feel that there were further actions that could have been taken? Could other things have been done if the time and/or resources had been available?
This approach hasn’t ended with my chartership. I keep a copy of the template for a project plan and I have used this to guide my thought process for planning out various projects. I have also used it to help me plan a presentation to colleagues about why a new service was being introduced and what it involved.
Don’t be daunted by the title ‘Project Plan’. The template can be used as much for looking back as it can for forward planning. It certainly made reflecting on my professional practice for my chartership much easier, and eased me into thinking reflectively.
Health Library, University Hospitals of North Midlands