The main challenge of managing the development and delivery of grants is ensuring that all the paperwork is completed, signed off on, and submitted on time. In cases such as these, a little bit of structure goes a long way.
These documentation and action plan templates will give you a greater sense of control over the grant production cycle. They help organize the process so that all the team members involved know what they’re responsible for and when it has to be ready. These simple tools also allow you to be more proactive than reactive, as you will be able to clearly see the timeline you’re working with, to account for national holidays and absences of team members, and to plan accordingly so that you can collect signatures and meet the hard deadlines whether at the faculty, institutional, or funding agency level.
Please download and modify the documentation and action plans below for your own use. Always consult the current funding agency and grant opportunity guidelines when filling out your action plan template.
The documentation plan will help you gain a general sense of the project by gathering information on critical considerations such as scope, audience, resources, and constraints. This document is ideal for information gathering at an early stage of project planning. You should be able to use the information in this document to fill out a more detailed action plan afterward.
Sample Documentation Plan (.doc)
These action plan templates provide much-needed structure to the grant development process. Keep track of all the details on writing, editing, signing off, and submitting the application package, and even record the time taken per task for more accurate projections on future projects with the same team. The action plan templates included here have been filled out for illustrative purposes.
These templates will help you visually organize your research project schedule. The difference between these templates and the aforementioned documentation and action plan templates is that they are bar charts that record the major tasks and the time required to complete these tasks. While the documentation and action plan templates are for your personal use, the project schedule, or gantt chart, is normally submitted to funding agencies as part of the full grant application. A major challenge with developing these gantt charts is estimating the number of hours/days/months that tasks will take. Previous experience is the best guide – consult either the researcher you are assisting or refer to previous projects with comparable research phases and tasks for guidance.
Some of you may find the visual organization of a gantt chart preferable to the action plan template above for managing your documentation projects (e.g., identifying major tasks and figuring out how long it will take to put together a complete grant application, write a journal article, design and create content for an online course, edit a press release, or perform other writing/editing tasks).
Note that time estimates from the technical communication field are available if you do not have a baseline already established with the research team members you are assisting. Talk to other grant facilitators or consult these resources written by experts in the field: Managing Your Documentation Projects by Joann Hackos or Designing and Writing Online Documentation by William K Horton.
The templates included here have been filled out for illustrative purposes. They were created in Microsoft Visio, a project management software program, and subsequently converted to .pdf. For this reason, the files below are read only and unfortunately cannot be edited for your own use. Note that Microsoft Excel is an excellent (and cheaper!) alternative to using project management software, though it may not look quite as polished. See editable samples in the GoogleDocs Templates database.
This project gantt chart was developed for a bid to Health Canada to create an environmental health course aimed at heathcare professionals. Note how the tasks are organized according to the phase of the project. In this case, the request for funding applications specified the start and end dates, as well as the phase completion dates, of the project.
This documentation gantt chart was created for a project that involved designing and writing a help file for an online banking system. For many writing projects, the majority of tasks listed in this chart will apply. All of the time estimates in this chart were calculated using the guide that Joann Hackos provides in her book, Managing Your Documentation Projects.