Project monitoring and reporting

Project monitoring and reporting
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5.1 What is Project monitoring and reporting' all about? 5.2 How are you monitoring progress? 5.3 Creating a framework for project leadership and monitoring 5.4 Best practice in communications for o 5.4.1 establishing and maintaining a conducive environment for effective and productive interactions o 5.4.2 calendar plan of project review meetings o 5.4.3 frequency and timing of project review meetings o 5.4.4 meeting attendance - Co-Principal Investigators and advisory experts o 5.4.5 content and style of agenda o 5.4.6 communicating results from project reviews o 5.4.7 communication across time zones o 5.4.8 choosing an appropriate communication medium o 5.4.9 when using email o 5.4.10 responding to phone calls and email 5.5 Culture and environment 5.6 GCP reporting requirements: What, how and who? o 5.6.1 Project technical and financial reports o 5.6.2 Data policy o 5.6.3 Intellectual property (Asset Inventory System) o 5.6.4 Project Delivery Plans (DPKit) o 5.6.5 Who is accountable for compiling and submitting the progress reports and for the quality of the content? o 5.6.6 What are the required quality standards for approval? o 5.6.7 What are the most common problems that require reports to be resubmitted? o 5.6.8 Who approves the reports? o 5.6.9 Who uses the reports? 5.7 Project termination o 5.7.1 When do projects terminate? o 5.7.2 Who is responsible for this decision? o 5.7.3 Why are projects terminated or funding stopped?

5.1 What is µProject monitoring and reporting' all about?
This section explains GCP requirements for monitoring the progress of projects. This includes both technical and financial monitoring, as well as the formal reporting requirements. It provides guidance on best practice for:
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Planning and conducting project review meetings Preparing quality written reports for GCP and the standards expected

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or it can turn it into a demotivating. it is recommended that at the project launch meeting (see 2007 examples for competitive projects and for a focus project). Core elements suggested for the discussion include: . This can however lead to problems. and a monitoring plan mutually agreed upon. safety and environmental considerations Problem solving Reviewing issues on freedom to operate and on protection of inventions Discussing and finalising GCP reports Identifying publication opportunities. or at the first teleconference. A range of styles and approaches can be used but each must include the following core activities: y y y y y y y y y y y y Idea generation Reviewing new data findings and conclusions Tracking progress of the research against the project plan and allocated budget Anticipating risks and formulating mitigation plans/actions Sharing best research practice Stewardship of the project with due regard to critical health. preferred culture and best ways of working together Ensuring and maintaining commitment to the project 5.4. highlights the benefits of discussing the preferred culture and communication methods within collaborations. productive and fun experience.4 Best practice in communications for« 5. the approval process and common reasons why reports may need to be re-submitted. It can help to make collaboration a fulfilling.1 «establishing and maintaining a conducive environment for effective and productive interactions Communication is one of the major factors that can make or break successful delivery of research product goals. in order to review progress together and report back to GCP. 5. energy-draining obligation. agreeing on authorship and approval of papers Reaching agreement on communication principles.2 How are you monitoring progress? The types of questions you need to ask yourself are y y y y y y y y How frequently should project review meetings be held? What are the optimal dates and times of the day for project meetings? What are the best and available methods of communication? How far ahead should dates for reviews be arranged? What agenda style should be used? What should be included on the agenda? How do you gain commitment from everyone to attend and contribute? What type of culture/environment do you want to encourage in your collaboration? 5. and recommends that members review and agree best practices together at the beginning of the project.y y contains information on who uses the reports.3 Creating a framework for project leadership and monitoring It is the Principal Investigator's responsibility to create a framework and work structure for the collaborating team. To help this process. the need for formalising and reaching agreement on communication is underestimated or overlooked. the Principal Investigator initiates a discussion with all the all Co-Principal Investigators on core elements of communication. Research collaborators should be in regular communication with each other through the year and cooperate as a team. Sometimes in projects where collaborators are acquainted with each other.

ideally 9-12 months in advance and especially if reviews need to be face-to-face.4. It is common to underestimate the pressure and burden on colleagues to try to arrange or rearrange meetings with less than six months notice. Some project teams may prefer more frequent but shorter monthly teleconferences. if crisis management is required. Best practice includes arranging future meetings on a rolling basis. . 5. usually people are prepared to reprioritise their work plans. The Principal Investigator for each project should establish some guidelines for attendance based on the needs of the project and the individual contributors.y y y y y y y y Frequency. The accountabilities of each person and what they are expected to contribute are an important part of the governance structure of the project and have a significant effect on the project's ability to deliver its goals. Key factors when deciding on frequency and timing of project review meetings include: y y y y y y y How well people know each other Timing of availability of new data Key research decision points Timing of difficult technical aspects .4.Co-Principal Investigators and advisory experts People vary in their wish and need to attend project review meetings.4 «Meeting attendance . These could be on account of new people joining the collaboration. More information on the roles of the Principal Investigator and Co-Principal Investigator can be found here. Guidance on how to structure a complex research project for effective decision-making can be found here.4. experience shows that they need to be reviewed from time to time to adapt to changing circumstances. These accountabilities and expectations need to be established and should be recorded as part of the Delivery Plan Kit (DPKit).2 «Calendar plan of project review meetings Most people have multiple commitments and it is essential that a timeline be agreed upon. timing and calendar plan of project review meetings Attendance .sign-off for reports Budget cycle and deadlines of member research institutes 5. Clearly.need for problem solving Arrival of new project members GCP reporting obligations . or the shape and direction of the project changing in some way. only to find that their preferred dates in the first quarter are already taken.Co-Principal investigators and advisory experts Content and style of agenda Communicating results from project reviews Communicating across time zones Choosing an appropriate communication medium When using email Responding to phone calls and email Once these elements have been agreed. 5. Some teams only start to plan for the following calendar year at the end of the current year.3 «Frequency and timing of project review meetings In most cases a minimum of 3-4 collective discussions are required.

advance circulation of the agenda and clarity on the contributions expected from team members to the agenda items can considerably boost both attendance and engaged participation. the commitment people are making and trying to rotate times to avoid the same people always having to work at anti-social hours. well-structured agendas with clarity on the following items make a positive difference: y y y y y Person responsible for leading each topic Time allocation Objective of the topic . Best practice involves distributing the agenda at least two weeks before major meetings so that everyone has time to prepare. it is recommended that due consideration be given to individuals' biorhythms. Typically. working hours and social commitments. based on team members' time commitments after the meeting.6 «Communicating results from project reviews Rapid feedback to all members of the project soon after the completion of project review meeting is important. and sensitive to. It is typically more important to have rapid confirmation of topics covered and decisions taken.4. than lengthy comprehensive minutes that take weeks to be prepare.7 «Communicating across time zones Given GCP projects are often global and routinely involve scientists in different time zones. It is usually difficult to both chair a meeting and also record good minutes. Early planning of project meetings. One option is for Principal Investigators to arrange with a Co-Principal Investigator to take notes and write a first draft for sign-off. In some cases. this will not be possible and will involve requests for flexible working out of hours. Good practice is issuing conclusions and actions within a week. This is an obligation and a condition for receiving GCP funding. Agendas can be used in a very productive way to achieve this and to create and/or enhance understanding and teamwork. 5. 5. This role could be rotational. This is particularly when new ideas are being sought or when lateral thinking around a particular problem is necessary. Best practice is to be cognisant of.It is important that core contributors make a commitment to attend project review meetings. the Principal Investigator needs to commit on when this feedback/results from the meeting will be communicated. 5.5 «Content and style of agenda Maximum mileage should be obtained when the project team gathers for project review. and to have blocked this time in the diary as part of the preparation for the meeting.4. there will be times where a free-format is required and brainstorming is a better approach.decision or for information Output sought Preparation required for the discussion (inclusion of background information) While the structure above will serve for most meetings as best practice. The main thing is to realise that creating good agendas is not a bureaucratic administrative process but rather an opportunity and tool to surface the best inputs from everyone. Co-Principal Investigators should assist the Principal Investigator by alerting him/her to items for inclusion and being available to discuss the best way to run the meeting. This can be in the form of a set of action minutes.4.8 «Choosing an appropriate communication medium . 5.4. It is worth trying to find an optimum time in the day for teleconferencing which is conducive for all to attend. At the meeting.

Most research collaborators are based in different countries. it is important to establish the preferred (ie. maximum size of documents to be sent. you will find good resources on the Internet on email etiquette such as this link. For example. this could be an agreement to respond to any requests within two working days of receipt. visual communication has greater impact on productivity and therefore ensuring there are sufficient funds in the budget for enough face-to-face contact is important. most effective and most practical) communication options for the team. Best practice is where teams discuss this topic and make a personal commitment to respond to colleagues within a specific time period. It is recommended that a modus operandi be agreed on how to use email within the project team. At the project launch meeting for a new project. Generally. Some people prefer emailing whilst others find phoning quicker and more interactive.4. From a practical point of view. However. We tend to all have different responsiveness. 5. attitudes and . It could also be activating an automatic email reply should you be unavailable due to travel or holidays. This could also involve a commitment to sharing the contact telephone numbers and emails of support staff that are able to make contact with you. and an answer being provided. See also µWhat style of decision-making does GCP advocate?' and µHow are decisions taken in research project teams?' 5. Key methods are expected to be: y y y y y y Email Online communication Telephone Teleconferencing Video-conferencing Face-to-face meetings. This includes aspects such as who gets copied on information. Typically. the complexity of the request and personal preferences on communication. inexpensive options such as a small webcam (desktop camera) for online communication can be very effective. all collaborations have an atmosphere within them that reflects the leadership style. etc. This means that the person would supply an answer or more realistically in many cases confirm when an answer could be expected. eg budget for phone calls.5 Culture and environment The culture and environment within collaboration is often a topic that is not discussed amongst its members.4. frequency of access to email. 5. depending on our other commitments. should an emergency occur. The opportunities for face-to-face contact are usually limited and telephone or electronic contact is the primary vehicle for communication. and plan accordingly for practical feasibility to reply. It is important for research project teams to understand each other's working preferences.9 «when using email Email is a fantastic communication tool but also a major source of stress for most people. The CGIAR Gender and Diversity Programme (G&D) also provides tips for effective email.10 «responding to phone calls and email An aspect of communication that can greatly enhance team spirit but which can also cause major frustration and annoyance is the time taken between one person contacting another with a question or request.

reporting schedule and reporting responsibilities. the Subprogramme Leader and GCP Director that determine the prevailing culture. particularly because collaborations are usually comprised of many nationalities that have different working norms. [back to top] 5. you will find details on GCP's project review policy. Typically. If people's own values are aligned with the practices in the collaboration. On completion of a project the submission of a final report is also required (template). how and who? At the links below. Best practice is where collaborating project teams recognise that culture is important and spend some time at the start of their project agreeing on their preferred working norms and behaviours. It is worth trying to aim for a set of practices and behaviours that will help the project deliver its goals. the Co-Principal Investigator(s). There are two other aspects that require information to be provided annually as part of the formal reporting requirements. rather than words used during presentations or in meetings. particularly for more introverted individuals Avoiding over-monitoring Supportive actions to help problem solving Not apportioning blame or seeking scape-goats' Honesty Delivering on commitments in terms of activities and actions agreed Recognising people's contributions and attributing good ideas to their owners. [back to top] 5. Templates for both technical and financial reporting are also provided. it is the actions of the Principal Investigator. [back to top] .1 Project technical and financial reports An annual technical update report is required by the 15 October (template) and an annual budget expenditure report is required for the calendar year (January-December) by the following 15 February (template). Please also see GCP's data policy.behaviour of their members.6. Experience shows that using behaviours that contribute in the following ways are generally likely to be more successful: y y y y y y y y y y y Respecting people's nationalities and competencies Sharing information and ideas Being consultative and seeking views before decisions are taken Prompt decision-making when needed Giving people time to form their opinions before expecting answers. as well as data templates.6 GCP reporting requirements: What. it typically stands a much greater chance of delivery and results in a positive experience for all. Usually members will be able to describe and have opinions on the culture in their team even though the group culture may not be openly discussed in open fora.

and not expect the PI to have to rewrite their contributions. and runs counter to the spirit of teamwork in scientific collaboration.000 per year (see our rationale for Delivery Plans). More [back to top] 5. Co-Principal Investigators are accountable for the quality and scientific integrity of the data and conclusions provided to the Principal Investigator. Deadlines must be met. This includes background IP and preexisting IP that has or will be used as part of the project and IP generated as a result of GCP funding. Each of the headers must be completed.6. [back to top] 5. [back to top] 5.2 Data policy All data generated in GCP-funded or partially GCP-funded projects will be made publicly available. eg. More on GCP's data policy 5. Just cutting and pasting large numbers of pages targeted at another audience puts a large burden on already very busy PIs. . This involves: y y y y y y Advising Co-Principal Investigators about the timeline for the report production Explaining what is expected from each of the Co-Principal Investigators Compiling the information into a coherent and easily understandable brief report using the headings provided in the templates Ensuring the quality of the data and the conclusions made are scientifically justified.6. appropriate statistics used Ensuring there is a consistent style and that the quality and flow of the English meets international publication standards Safeguarding ownership of the report by Co-Principal Investigators to ensure that editing retains the scientific integrity of the contributions.6 What are the required quality standards for approval? y y y The templates and headings provided must be used.5 Who is accountable for compiling and submitting the progress reports and for the quality of the content? The Principal Investigator is responsible for obtaining contributions from each of the Co-Principal Investigators and meeting the deadlines for submission to GCP.6.6.3 Intellectual property (Asset Inventory System) PIs are required to report the annual status of Intellectual Property (IP).6.5. They should provide the information in a form that is easily assimilated into the templates.4 Project Delivery Plans (DPKit) Delivery Plans are required for all competitive and commissioned projects with a budget exceeding USD200.

Insufficient information given to justify the expenses. If there are clear risks anticipated during the next period of work that could affect the quality of the work or the timetable. When GCP approves new commissioned project one-year grants.y y y y y y The report is written in English. [back to top] . This is done notionally as a time-saving effort.6.6. 20% is retained pending receipt of the final report. The consequence is that the content does not match the requirements. and not buried in big datasets or discussion. [back to top] 5.7 What are the most common problems that require reports to be resubmitted? The technical reports are meant to be brief updates really highlighting the material progress in the science. The conclusions are justified by the results obtained and speculative statements without some evidence base are kept to a minimum. Must be a succinct update on the progress of the research programme against its milestones and required products and/or outcomes. [back to top] 5. However. at a level of English competency that allows for publication in an internationally refereed scientific journal. Once the technical approval is given. A set of options and recommendations to prevent further delays should be made. If time delays occur. funding is granted for up to three years. with 100 percent of the annual funds disbursed in advance each year to cover the research costs. It also reflects poorly on the PI and Co-PIs commitment to meet the requests of the funder financially supporting their research and part of their professional careers. in the final project year. the report is then reviewed by the GCP Project Officer to ensure that the fiscal considerations are signed off. then these should also be highlighted with proposals on how to reduce or mitigate the risk. The tangible outputs should be conveyed on no more than one page. 80 percent of the initial payment is given to cover the research costs and 20 percent is retained until receipt of the final report. For competitive projects.8 Who approves the reports? Each technical report is submitted to the Subprogramme Leader who will review it in terms of the: y y y y y Progress against targets Quality and integrity of the scientific data Quality of the written English Ensuring the use of budget is aligned with the outcomes expected Suitability and opportunities for internal and external publication. then the reasons why are clearly explained. Core points of progress are not clear and are muddled in with pages of data and text. Sometimes reports are too long and rambling. The degree of success is transparent and clear. Common reasons for resubmission: y y y The report does not comply with the templates provided and some sections are incomplete Contributions are just a cut-and-paste from a document destined for another purpose or reporting requirement.

The reports also serve external communications on important discoveries.7. the Subprogramme Leader may grant a no-cost extension (ie.3 Why are projects terminated or funding stopped? [back to Project Termination] [back to top] 5. or determine whether a new project can be initiated by redirecting the funds. time extension for completing the project.6.7. there is a degree of uncertainty on exactly when a project should formally end: projects do not necessarily end when all the funds are exhausted. once the PI has consulted with their Co-Principal Investigators and project team members.7 Project termination y y y 5. In special circumstances.5.7. the Executive Board and other Stakeholders interested in GCP's research progress. all projects have fixed start and completion dates. It is recommended that the Principal Investigator review the progress of their project on a monthly basis throughout the project's life. GCP-funded projects are typically between one and three years.1 When do projects terminate? 5. the Subprogramme Leader will work closely with the PI to determine the best course of action. [back to top] 5. but without additional funds).2 Who is responsible for this decision? 5. In such a situation. and adjust the plan accordingly.2 Who is responsible for this decision? The Principal Investigator (PI) has a duty to review the project progress and workplan.9 Who uses the reports? The reports are used by GCP Management Team to report to the funders. and the templates for each are available at this link.7. [back to Project Termination] [back to top] 5.1 When do projects terminate? By definition.3 Why are projects terminated or funding stopped? .7. For all projects. final technical and financial reports are required. An important consideration is the opportunity cost of continuing a floundering project: taking the tough decision to terminate one project could lead to substantial gains for another project that is delivering. The exact end-date for a project is agreed between the Principal Investigator and the Subprogramme Leader. [back to Project Termination] [back to top] 5.7. For some projects.

with little or no success. In such cases. in particular cases. Technical problems that prohibit progress on the core goals. Subprogramme Leaders will investigate the cause of the problem with the PI. Another research group publishes work in a core area of interest. Funding would be frozen pending staff replacement. Sometimes a project fails to progress as expected. Such situations include the following: y y y y y Completion ahead of schedule: project goals have been met and the outputs and products have been handed over to users. If the problem cannot be resolved. for various reasons. especially given that the PI's institution planned on the total funding. However. A key researcher or the Principal Investigator leaves and by default the project cannot continue as planned until a replacement is found. Understandably. Failure to submit scheduled technical or financial reports: This is a serious omission and funding will be withheld until the reports are submitted. the project would usually be put on hold rather than terminated. it is difficult for a Principal Investigator to recommend project termination prior to the end of the funding period. terminating the project will be considered. termination really is the right recommendation. Termination is especially necessary when the Principal Investigator and Co-PIs deploy much technical effort and emotional capital into the project. demonstrating the PI's integrity and professionalism. [back to Project Termination] [back to top] «Proceed to Theme 6: Project phases and decision milestones» Give Feedback on this pa .There are a number of situations when a project may be terminated before the end date in the project proposal.