Guide for Project Design

This guide covers topics related to effective project planning and management.

In this guide, we compile best practices and guidance for designing research projects by including different aspects of project management and (iterative) development practices derived from academia and industry.

Before starting a project, researchers should define the scope of their research by describing the main questions they aim to address through their work. This also includes defining the project goals, possible outcomes, resources requirements, people involved (collaborators, users and target audience) and possible constraints that should be considered from the start. They can then describe the expected minimum viable product of their project, identify synergies with other projects (similarities as well as differences), the measure of success, and the overall impact they hope to achieve. After addressing these crucial questions, they can begin planning the operational aspects of their project to ensure the ethical integrity and usability of their outcome.

A group of people collaboratively developing a project plan by writing on a giant canvas with a giant pencil to signify its importance in our work

Fig. 50 The Turing Way project illustration by Scriberia. Used under a CC-BY 4.0 licence. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.3332807.

When designing a team-based project, it is important to think about all the skills required for the project and the resources needed to access those skills. The project design also includes aspects such as timeline, budget, risks, expectations, resources for project management and preregistration of research protocols. With these viewpoints, we welcome chapters defining the requirements in a project in terms of up-skilling, supporting and improving accessibility of different stakeholders.

We hope you will learn from different case studies for small, mid-size, and large projects spanning both short-term and long-term plans. If you are brave enough, your examples of failed projects will be incredibly valuable for understanding how to avoid making the same (totally understandable!) mistakes again.

Check out our contributing guidelines to get involved.