Identify deliverables and timelines
Clarify expectations about what the taskforce will deliver and by when.
- Committing to deliverables or timeframes that are not achievable with the resources available
- Investing in deliverables that are not needed to meet the overall objective, resulting in wasted time and effort
- Not defining and articulating a clear objective for the taskforce, leading to confusion about roles and responsibilities, a lack of direction for team members and unmet expectations from stakeholders.
Tips for success
- Use your problem definition to determine your deliverables, so that the work of the taskforce is driving towards a targeted resolution for the identified problem
- Identify your expected "end date" and work backward from there, mapping out what needs to be done along the way to achieve your objective in that timeframe
- Use your clearly defined scope as the basis of your terms of reference, so that the work of the taskforce is articulated and understood by key stakeholders
- Identify your governance arrangements and ensure these are factored in to your scope
- If the deadlines are unclear, create some informal deadlines for the team to work towards and use them to drive the process forward.
Determine your key deliverables
Your deliverables are the products, actions or advice the taskforce needs to deliver in order to achieve its objectives. Think about what's needed to meet these objectives and break it down into tangible actions. Here's an example:
- A cross-agency taskforce has been established to review the problem of obesity and make recommendations for how it should be addressed.
- Through preliminary research and consultation, the problem question has been defined as: "How can the Commonwealth reduce the growth rate in morbid obesity and prevent an escalation in related medical costs?"
- A report with recommendations is the key deliverable.
- To deliver the report, the taskforce will need to undertake a literature review, run a public engagement process with roundtables with experts and peak bodies, develop an issues paper and consult with key stakeholders in the development of the final report.
For each deliverable identified, it's important to consider what is specifically required, who the key audience is, what the key deadlines are, and what resources are required to deliver it. If this process shows the deliverable is not necessary to achieve the objective, or beyond the time or resources allocated to the taskforce, it should be considered out of scope. The deliverable plan included in the scoping deck template will help with this process.
Develop a timeline
A high-level timeline is an incredibly useful product to develop early on in the taskforce set up phase – it will articulate exactly what is going to be delivered and when, helping you identify the resources you need to make that happen.
The most effective way to develop a timeline is to work backwards from the deadline for your final deliverable to now (or when the taskforce is officially slated to commence). Fill in all other deliverables, then start plotting out other major milestones, such as key meetings, major events, drafting periods, approval processes and stakeholder consultation. The timeline template in the scoping deck provides a base for you to work from.
This process will also start to shape the work required of the taskforce – workstreams will start to become clear which will identify potential team structures you can establish to meet each deliverable. The timeline will highlight periods of heightened output, which may require changes in staffing mix and team structure throughout the taskforce process, and is also a useful product take into discussions with key decision-makers so they're aware of what will be delivered and when.