Communicating your project results to key stakeholders – through case studies, forums, reports and other methods determined in your project plan – is vital as part of the feedback process.
A good case study, for example, encapsulates and articulates the key goals, outcomes and learnings of the project for both stakeholders and other interested parties to review.
For the purposes of project planning, we take a case study to mean an overview or précis of the goals, target audiences, method and outcomes – including details of what worked and what didn’t. It is not a write up of how great your project was. It’s an honest, but brief, appraisal of your completed project – with the intention that others can benefit from your experience.
And a good case study has the benefit of promoting your expertise and appraisal, and the abilities of your organisation, to other stakeholders and groups that may wish to use it.
We’ve put together a list of hints and tips to help you quickly and easily prepare a great case study (and then include it on Educology for us all to learn more!).
- Determine what you want to achieve. Are you contributing to furthering knowledge about this project so others can benefit and maybe adapt your project, are you preparing an overview for key stakeholders and reporting purposes, or are you hoping to secure further projects and leads. The document may do all these things in one.
- Have all the information at hand. The original project plan, reports and feedback from the debrief sessions will all be required.
- Write the case study. Ideally, you’d keep it to 1500-3000 words. If you want it to be a learning document, you might be better off writing a how to guide.
- Use a rough guide to get the template into shape. At Educology, we use the following template to prepare case studies that create an initial learning document by using the following headings.
- Overview. Briefly outline the project (the problem) and list the goals, objectives, key outcomes and key learnings (the solution). If people want more, then that’s what the next sections are for. But this is a good starting point for a case book of projects you’ve worked on and what you’ve achieved. Report the status of your project here too.
- The Project. This is a descriptive section. More details here about what happened and when, plus the actions and methodology. What were the key components required to get your project off the ground.
- Results. Outcomes and benefits, including items that you hadn’t expected.
- Lessons. What was learned from the project – positives and negatives. What has been done to address these issues so far, and how has this impacted the project ongoing.
- More. List any references, websites, guides or materials that can be accessed to find out more about the project – including your contact details.
- Edit your text and make the document look good. It’s an information piece and a selling tool, so present your best. Make sure your organisation is credited appropriately, and that you have permission to use any images/contacts in the case study.
- Let people know you have prepared a case study. Send it to your key stakeholders, place it online, and post it to Educology so that it can get a wide audience.