How do I plan?
Taking the time to plan for your project can sometimes determine whether your project succeeds or fails. This means making sure your timeline:
- is not too tight (in case things do not happen when you plan on them happening or if something goes wrong)
- considers all the tasks and milestones you must accomplish and by when
- considers which tasks rely on other tasks (this means that it is important to identify which pieces of work cannot be started until other pieces of work are done, and making sure you allow for that time), and
- is specific about the task that needs to be complete and who is responsible for it.
There are many different tools for planning projects (logic model, milestones and Gantt charts). These are discussed in greater detail below. An example of a project plan template is below in related resources.
A good logic model has four essential components:
- Inputs are the resources that are available for your cancer screening project. They include things like the organisational backing and management support that you’ve secured for the work, and your time as the worker.
- Activities are what you do with the inputs. They include things like engaging with the agencies and service providers in the local area to play a support role in your project. They also include things like recruiting peer educators from hard-to-reach communities and training them.
- Outputs are tangible things that come from the activities. They include things like hosting recruitment sessions with potential peer educators, or delivering a training day, or completing a service visit.
- Impacts are the changes made through the activities and outputs. These could include (but are not limited to):
- increased knowledge among your target audience of the benefits of cancer prevention
- increased skills and confidence among community champions to share cancer prevention messages with family and community members
- improved and sustainable links between peer educators and service providers of cancer screening programs
- increased screening or immunisation participation in your target community, and/or
- enhanced long-term cancer prevention messaging by community champions to others in their communities.
- A health promotion goal should be ‘big picture’. It looks to the long-term gains in health equity that your initiative is part of.
- Objectives are more specific to your initiative in that they restate the goal in concrete terms, or what it is, exactly, that your work will contribute to in relation to the goal.
When it’s time to evaluate your initiative, you will use the outputs and impacts in your logic model to guide your evaluation. A good logic model should also show the goal and objectives of your initiative:
An example of a logic model is in the related resources below.
Milestones and tasks
Tasks and milestones are also used for project planning. A milestone is the output of a group of tasks. For example:
|Milestone||Hand in project plan to working group|
|Related tasks||Complete needs analysis, consult with community and stakeholders, outline possible costs, etc.|
A Gantt chart is a tool that many project leaders use. It provides a quick reference to make sure you stay on track. It lists every task for a project on the left-hand side, with the timeline of the project along the right hand-side, see example below. Each task is assigned a bar that represents how long each task will take, when it is due and if other tasks rely on this to be completed.
- Setting aside time to engage with community and stakeholders, including making appointments to speak with stakeholders, recruiting community members for a consultation session and running focus groups, interviews or co-design sessions.
- If you are working with a non-English speaking community, remember to set aside ample time for translations and community checking, this often takes longer than you think.
- If you are working with an Aboriginal community, be aware that sorry business may affect your timelines (sorry business is a period of mourning).