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Initial Project Plan

The final year project is a substantial part of your degree. It can have a major effect on the degree class you are awarded and even whether or not you pass the degree. The initial project plan is to make sure you understand what your project requires you to do and how you are going to finish it successfully. You must submit an initial project plan at the beginning of your project.

The initial plan is marked by your supervisor and moderator independently. Before you submit the final version you should discuss the plan with your supervisor to make sure both of you agree on what your project entails.

We suggest that you write an initial version of your project plan and arrange meetings with your supervisor to discuss it and revise the plan. If you are not sure what to write in the plan, please discuss this with your supervisor before you write the draft.

You can find the deadline for submitting your initial plan on PATS under your project details. Note that there is little time to complete the plan, so make sure you start early and arrange the supervisor meetings well in advance. For information about how to submit your initial plan via PATS please see the Submission Guide.

Finally, note that this is an initial plan, and you can, and most likely should, adjust the plan as you progress. Note, however, that with the initial plan you are prescribing what you intend to deliver at the various stages of the project as explained below.

Ethics

For the initial plan you should consider, after discussion with your supervisor, whether the project will require research that needs ethical approval. See School guidance on research ethics for further details. If it is necessary include the required steps in your work plan and briefly discuss the issues in the initial plan document.

Structure and Contents

Your initial plan should be at most 2,000 words, excluding any figures and tales. It should contain the following information:

Project Title

The title of the initial plan document should be “Initial Plan” followed by the title of your project. List yourself as author and also list your supervisor with their roles. Please also list the module number and module title you are taking and credits due for this module.

Project Description

The first section of the document should be a brief description of your project outlining the problem you are trying to solve, its context, and overall aims. You can adapt the proposal used to select your project. Half a page to one page should be sufficient for this.

Project Aims and Objectives

The second section of the document should be a list of more detailed aims and objectives for your project. These are statements of what you set out to achieve with your project. Try to be as specific as possible at this stage, but avoid getting into too many details that may change later. It's only the main results and components of your project you should list. A bullet point list with at most one level of sub-points is usually sufficient.

Work Plan

The last section of your initial plan should consist of a time plan stating what you are working on when. This should include clear milestones of what you expect to achieve by which date and also show how you intent to achieve these milestones.

Make sure you clearly describe what you intend to include in the deliverables required for your project type, i.e. state what you will produce for the interim and final report, as applicable for your project module. Link the deliverables to your time plan, such that you actually plan to deliver them when they are due.

Your time plan should further have at least two scheduled review meetings with your supervisor. You should typically see your supervisor once a week for a shorter time or once every two weeks for a longer time. The details of these arrangements are for you to agree with your supervisor. However, in your time plan you should mark out special meetings with your supervisor where you are reviewing your progress since the last such meeting (or from the beginning) and adjust your plan for the project based on the outcome of this meeting. These review meetings are mandatory and are considered as part of the mark of the reports (see marking criteria there).

You are free to choose the work plan format that you think is best suited for your project and working style. This may be a Gantt chart, but sometimes it may also be sufficient to simply list in sequence what you are working on with a time-scale and milestones/deliverables. Usually a weekly scale for the work plan is a good choice. Take note of the deadlines for the deliverables as listed in your PATS project description when you develop the work plan and also consider any other commitments and busy times such as the exam periods.

Planning for Multiple Reports

This section is only relevant if you have to produce an interim and a final report for your project. Note that the final report should not repeat content of the interim report. They should rather be two reports that overall make up your project report.

What to include in the two reports depends on the nature of your project. Your interim report should provide the results of the first stage of the project, representing about 25% of the total project work. This would usually be the results of the background study and a detailed analysis of the problem with a description of an approach of how to address the problem. For some projects, e.g., it may also contain an initial version of a final deliverable or some other building block of the overall project. It is not necessarily everything you have done by its due date (this depends on your time plan and other commitments), but is rather a first deliverable of your project due by the end of autumn term.

The final report contains the overall project findings and achievements and the complete set of deliverables developed for the project to account for 75% of the project. The report should not repeat the contents of the interim report, but may refer to it and expand on it.

Your project plan effectively defines what should go into which report. Hence, you should carefully discuss this with your supervisor to make sure there is enough for 25% in the interim report and you neither try to do too much or too little for the interim report.

Marking Criteria

Your supervisor and moderator will mark your plan according to the following criteria:

  • Title and project description accurately represent the project and are suitable for the module you are are taking;
  • Aims and objectives are clear, sufficiently detailed and provide a suitable challenge for your project;
  • Time plan is feasible, sufficiently specific to the project, and has a clear timeline and milestones;
    • Deliverables for the reports required for your project are suitable and clearly specified;
    • Approximate dates for at least two review meetings are given;
    • The amount of work is suitable for the credits and level of the module;
  • The report is well written and clearly structured;

on the following scale:

  • 0 marks: No suitable plan has been submitted.
  • 1 mark: Only a partial plan with major deficiencies/omissions has been submitted.
  • 2 marks: A plan with a project description, aims and objectives, and time plan has been submitted…
  • 3 marks: …which is feasible to execute within the constraints of the project…
  • 4 marks: …and has sufficient project-specific details and clear milestones…
  • 5 marks: …and shows originality and professionalism and/or scholarship.

Supervisor and moderator will leave comments about your plan explaining any concerns they may have and their expectations regarding the aims and objectives and deliverables. Make sure you consider these when executing the project.

initial_plan.txt · Last modified: 2015/09/29 16:13 by scmfcl