Co-Creating a Vision and Action Plan

Thorough project planning increases the odds of effective implementation. Detailed action plans can equal conflict prevention, not its total elimination, just prevention.

1. Merging Your Vision

The vision acts as both the foundation of and the place where you are heading or striving towards. Vision is a significant enough issue that if you have areas or aspects that you are far apart on, and after some time of thinking and talking you are not able to come up with a mutual picture or solution (through accommodation, compromise or collaboration), then you cannot proceed and should seriously consider not working on the project as partners. If you do not resolve vision issues before moving forward into implementation, they will come up time and time again.

That is why it is important at the start of the project to take the time to really flesh out and share each of your respective visions for the project and determine where they merge and where there needs to be more discussion because of differences. When you achieve a common vision, then it is time to move ahead together.

2. Fundamentals of Project Planning

A planning template or framework is helpful for both the action plan and the project budget. This ensures that you cover all the categories and details involved in developing an action plan.

Have criteria or a set of values and principles according to which you will design and implement the project.

When developing the projected budget for the project be realistic and rational. Locate the project in a time frame and include a dollar figure under “income” for the in-kind contributions of the partners and any others.

Determine whether the two or more partner organizations have enough resources – if you don’t, you will need to apply for funding. In a collaborative, multi-party project you will need to decide who will be the sponsoring / hosting (lead and/or financial administrator) organization and who will write the project proposal. See Additional Resources and Source Material for details.

First you will have to determine the minimum resources you will need to be able to undertake or start the project. The stage of waiting for funding after you have formed the partnership can be challenging. Until you hear from the potential funders you are unsure as to whether you will be able to move forward with the project and partnership in which you have already invested time and energy.

Timing can be one of the biggest challenges in a partnership project. Sometimes you can have everything else aligned and agreed upon or worked out but have different preferences or needs in terms of when the project should take place. Or, the partners have similar timing needs, but time frames of funders are not compatible (in-sync). This is something that will require open communication and negotiation. If it is really not good timing for one partner, then it is not good timing for the project. If one partner has a deadline, both partners should work hard to meet that deadline – they both “take it on” because it benefits the project.

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