Develop a workplan to meet your deliverables.
- Not regularly checking in with teams and updating the workplan to ensure work is on track
- Having a workplan that is not user friendly or visible, leading to disengagement.
Tips for success
- Ensure your workplan is a living document that is regularly reviewed and updated by the team – this will help drive a delivery focus
- Place your workplan in a highly visible and easily accessible location – whether physical or virtual – to make it easy to engage with on a regular basis
- Choose a format that works for you and your team – this will increase the utility and value of the workplan.
Your timeline and deliverables should guide your workplan
With your deliverables and timeline identified as part of your earlier scoping process, developing a workplan which maps out your deliverables, tasks to achieve those deliverables, and timeframes, is the next step to starting work and staying on track.
For each deliverable, start with your deadline and work backwards, plotting specific tasks (like product development, stakeholder engagement and governance meetings) that need to occur to achieve that deliverable. This will help you identify peaks and troughs in the taskforce workload, allowing you to allocate additional resources to tasks as necessary.
The workplan template and examples will help you with this process.
Image caption: Workplan Timeline Template
Determine a format that works best for you and your team
Workplans can take a variety of formats, depending on your needs and project management style.
Traditional project management
- Gantt charts created in Excel spreadsheets are useful for mapping out tasks along a linear timeline. They're also helpful for showing interdependencies between tasks. There are digital tools that can be used to easily create and manage gantt charts, including Microsoft Project.
- Tables in PowerPoint or Word can be used for clear and tidy workplans, but can become unwieldy for larger bodies of work.
Agile project management
- Kanban boards are a useful tool for daily management of tasks from ‘to do’ to ‘doing’ and ‘done’. These are best used alongside other agile practices, such as sprint planning and daily stand ups, to ensure they're as effective as possible.
- Online tools, such as Microsoft Planner and Trello, allow you to have cloud-based versions of Kanban-style workplans. These are good options to consider if you have team members working remotely.
- Roadmaps are essentially a 'plan on a page' that shows the work of the taskforce over a period of time at a high level that’s easily adaptable to support changing priorities. These can be helpful for conveying the overall direction of work alongside daily task management through a Kanban.
A combination of options can be effective – such as a Kanban board for managing daily and weekly tasks, and an Excel spreadsheet for the longer-term workplan over the life of the taskforce.
Whatever workplan method you choose, it's important to treat it as a living document – it should be frequently updated and referred to by all members of the team and located in a visible area for everyone to access (either digitally or physically).