Spotlight on the RDF: “Project planning and delivery”

In one of our occasional series of spotlights, we take a closer look at a specific descriptor from the RDF.

In this series of “Spotlight on…” posts, we’ll be delving into the detail of the descriptors in Vitae‘s Researcher Development Framework (RDF).  Each one of the sixty-three descriptors is a characteristic of an excellent researcher, and we’ll be looking at how UoB PGRs can develop these characteristics.

project planningEffective project planning and delivery involves a wide range of skills and strategies which underpin a multitude of research activities.  In research, projects can vary from small-scale activities (such as a pilot study or organising a research-related event) to very large-scale, multi-team endeavours (such as clinical trials).  While smaller projects can be successfully delivered with ad hoc planning, larger projects require a more rigorous approach. 

The RDF puts project planning and delivery in domain C (research governance and organisation) and sub-domain C2 (research management) and the five phases of development for this descriptor are:

  1. Applies effective project management through the setting of research goals, intermediate milestones and prioritisation of activities; Acts on decisions agreed with supervisor/line manager and delivers results.
  2. Independently defines a manageable research project; Understands project management cycles and is able to draw on a range of project management techniques and tools; Allows for wider public access to and long-term preservation of research information/findings; Manages problems and conflict.
  3. Defines large research projects, draws up long-term plans for research; Uses range of project management strategies; Clarifies priorities; sets expectations,keeps project on track.
  4. – 5. Effectively manages multiple research projects and both the research agenda and bureaucracy for various projects; Able to take unpopular but evidence-based appropriate decisions.

Note that this descriptor is also closely related to B2.1 Preparation and prioritisation.

As PGRs, we are looking to develop our project planning and delivery through phases 1 and 2, but in this descriptor that already encompasses a lot!

Ultimately, don’t forget:  Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.

How have you applied project management techniques to your research?  Which aspects of project planning would you like to know more about?

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Helen Kara

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