When I’m writing a grant or a tender, I find that doing the project plan first with timelines helps me to think things through. Before I jump into the writing, I map it out in Microsoft Projects. I think about who’s involved, what’s involved, what’s the budget. Going through that process in advance helps me refine. If you write first, your ideas could grow and get out of scope. If you do a quick project plan and a budget, you keep it really focused.
When you do the scope and budget in advance, a couple of things become revealing. You think about the people who need to be involved. Do they have the availability? That might influence your timeline. If this has to be completed in six months, but the right person isn’t available, then you have to look for another person or ask yourself if it’s something we can even do.
In general, there are a lot of people with great ideas, and not a lot of people who are good at executing and following through and completing the tasks. That’s the hard part. It’s not the idea. It’s the execution. Organizing and planning before you start to write gives you the ability to execute and know that what you’re doing is realistic.
I also talk to other employees and ask their thoughts before I start to write. If you start the writing process first, you’re often scramble later to adjust your timeline or track down people and suddenly someone’s gone on vacation and the project is due. That’s why you need to talk to people right up front. The writing’s the easiest part. Once you’ve talked to people, it will come out in your writing. You’ll feel confident that you’ve got a good plan in place.