Project workplans are an invaluable piece of our project management process for our market research firm serving Rochester, NY. Outside of the kickoff meeting and agenda, it is the first document and deliverable the client receives after a market research project launches. Yet, we see far too many firms not using project workplans in market research and other industries.
With our work experience, clearly defined goals = clearly defined outcomes.
The benefits of project workplans in market research are clear. They help with organization and planning for one. Secondly, they encourage transparency. Here are the dates we plan to have this done by that we are now held to. Thirdly, it's a document that promotes communication throughout the project to keep everyone on-task and updated.
Here are 4 components of a project workplan from our market research firm serving Rochester and Western NY.
We create project workplans for all of our market research projects with clients. We abide by them, update them, and use them to guide a step-by-step exclusive process at Drive Research.
Component 1: Header
You can file this one under "no brainer". The header on your project workplan should include the client logo or market research firm logo, project name, and date (at the very least). The date is updated each time you exchange the project workplan between market research firm and client. We recommend doing this at least once a week. Although at the pace Drive Research works, sometimes a week passes and the project is already completed making the exchange of a project workplan difficult.
Component 2: Percent to Completion
The fact that you've completed the project kickoff, sent the project workplan, and drafted the survey means nothing from the context of the overall timeframe of the project. Does this mean you are 10% complete, 25% complete, or 50% complete? The project workplan should indicate this for the client and put all of the tasks completed and those still outstanding in context.
Component 3: Task Details and Dates
This is the core section and component of the market research firm workplan. Here the workplan lists of key tasks, responsible parties, and delivery dates of when these need to be done to keep the project moving as scheduled. Here is an example of some tasks and descriptions from a project workplan created by Drive Research:
- Kickoff Meeting
- Driver’s Manual Workplan to Client
- Draft of Online Survey to Client
- Introductory Email Sent to Client
- All Survey Revisions Sent to Drive Research
- Sign-off on Survey Document from Client
- Finalize Customer List in CSV File and Send to Drive Research
- Programming and Internal Testing of Online Survey
- Send Introductory Email
- Finalize Survey for Launch
- Begin Full Launch of Fieldwork
- Begin Phone Call Reminders
- Close Fieldwork on Survey
- Draft Report to Client
- Debrief on Results
- Thank You Email Finalized and Sent
All of these tasks should be accompanied by a deliverable date and responsible party if not detailed in the description. This is an example of a Voice of Customer (VoC) or Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) market research project.
Component 4: Other Notes
The last component of the project workplan should be an area to add additional notes or questions for the market research project. These notes can address why the survey review process was delayed, why the customer list delivery is 2 weeks behind schedule, or why the report debrief was rescheduled for early next month instead of next week. This notes section allows additional flexibility to add any project relevant details which may add explanation to the status or task line items.