A management plan provides researchers the opportunity to explain the objectives, goals, and planned procedures of their proposed projects in detail.
Do all proposals require a management plan?
Not all proposals require the submission of a management plan. Typically, a larger, more involved proposal will require one. If you are unsure, OGCA can assist you in both determining if a plan is necessary and the content of the plan. Even if your proposal does not require a management plan, you may still find it beneficial to consider the points below, as they are relevant to any well-developed and organized proposal.
What elements should be included in a management plan?
- An outline of the project’s objectives and goals
- A list of actions to achieve the goals and objectives
- Descriptions of the roles and time commitments of personnel and participants involved in the project, as well as how these roles might change throughout the project
- Procedures to recruit and train participants, if applicable
- Procedures to acquire and maintain equipment
- A timeline for the various stages of the project
- A process to handle possible project modifications
- Consideration of the project’s broader impacts
Depending on the project, you may wish to address other issues. OGCA can assist with drafting additional content.
Roles and Responsibilities of Personnel
Descriptions of the roles of personnel and participants are crucial to understanding how a project will proceed. This component of the management plan should include the time commitments required, such as on a daily or weekly basis, once a month, or only for occasional meetings. It should also include the potential evolution of each role throughout the project’s proposed time frame. Where possible, name specific personnel.
An organizational chart may be an effective tool to display this information. Use of an organizational chart can streamline otherwise complex descriptions of personnel interaction and individual responsibilities in the structure of overall management. For example, a larger project that includes external and internal management committees, advisory boards, and program liaisons may provide an organizational chart to visually represent systems of governance and decision-making.
If a project requires student participants, it may be beneficial to detail the procedures for participant selection, retention, and evaluation. The management plan should outline a process to choose students and the personnel involved in this process, as well as aims to recruit from underrepresented groups. Ensuring retention after selection remains an important consideration in projects that rely on student participation. Methods of participant retention include mentoring, peer counseling, and ongoing assessment. In addition to any student assessment conducted throughout the project, proposals with a training component should include an end evaluation of student performance, the outcome of which may be used to improve future student training.
The management plan should describe any planned collaborations with other departments, institutions, or businesses. If collaboration involves an existing relationship, the plan should include an explanation of the relationship and how it might be expanded. Maintaining communication is a critical part of any collaboration. The primary means of communication (e.g. weekly meetings, via phone) and the responsible personnel are important considerations to this end.
Acquisition and Maintenance of Equipment
Thorough procedures to acquire and maintain the necessary equipment and instrumentation should seek to answer the following questions:
- How will equipment and other instruments be acquired?
- Who will oversee their acquisition and maintenance?
- If lab equipment can only be used by qualified personnel, what mechanisms will be in place to train those people?
- Who else has access to the equipment?
- What steps will be taken to advertise the availability of equipment?
- Where will equipment be housed?
A timeline can provide a sense of the proposed length of the stages of a project. At each stage, you may further delineate intermediate objectives, how often committees will meet, when evaluations will be conducted, and when outcomes are anticipated.
How do funding sources assess a management plan?
Funding sources and agencies look very carefully at how well a management plan addresses the following issues:
- Do proposed actions meet the stated goals of the project effectively?
- Do the results have the potential to serve as a model for further research?
- Do the results benefit a large number of people or organizations?