This excerpt is from chapter 3 of the free eBook: How to Create a Project Toolkit for Your Local Chapters.
Once you have determined the subject of the toolkit, you need to gather your stakeholders. In my experience toolkits are most successful when they are developed by a representative group. So for the chapter media toolkit example, I would include someone from the association’s public relations team, a few members with expertise in securing positive press coverage, plus chapter member leaders and staff that will be using the kit. Also keep in mind that if your chapters vary greatly in size you need to recruit volunteers from various budget bands to ensure their perspective is included.
With your development team in place, you should then agree on a regular meeting schedule. The goals of the first few meetings should include:
- Identifying each person’s areas of expertise and passion;
- Brainstorming the mission and vision for the toolkit; and
- Agreeing on a timeline for the toolkit’s creation.
I generally find that as the group discusses the ideal components of the toolkit, individuals begin to raise their hands to volunteer. As a result, the creation plan is built through these initial discussions. Additionally, if the group identifies something that they want in the toolkit but none of them are able to provide, you find out early enough in the process to recruit the necessary expert and include them in such a way that they do not feel like an afterthought.
Now equipped with a plan, a timeline, and the right people, they can begin creating the toolkit. I strongly recommend that your group meet at least once a month, or more often, depending upon your development timeline. This keeps everyone engaged and provides deadlines.
Likewise, at the end of each meeting, summarize the next steps verbally, then send an email to the group with those next steps and who has claimed responsibility for each. The latter is key because people are busy and will appreciate having a document to refer to. Depending on the members, I may even send calendar appointments for project milestones to the responsible person, e.g. an appointment to John Smith reminding him he promised to send the group template press releases by Oct. 10. Go the extra step and include all the members’ email addresses in the appointment.
Remember that as the project manager you are asking people for their time and expertise, so do everything you can to make the process as easy for them as possible. While such measures might seem trivial, they are appreciated and increase the likelihood that this experience is a pleasant one for all involved.