Garden communities toolkit

Project management

Strong project management is needed to deliver a complex garden community on time and to ensure it delivers on expectations.

Understanding the scope of your project

Make sure there’s a vision and set of objectives in place to form the basis of what is to be delivered.

  • important milestones and the critical path to achieve objectives

  • main partners and stakeholders which need to be involved

  • the extent of corporate and political buy-in within the relevant local authority(ies) needed to make the project happen.

  • the resources needed to help shape and secure project delivery

  • identify champions for the garden community project within the relevant participant organisations

Local authority support and resource

A garden community project can have an impact on all areas of council services, and benefits from local leadership.

To encourage corporate leadership and input to the project:

  • embed the garden community project in the council’s corporate plan

  • ensure the governance and decision-making structure has an appropriate range and seniority of corporate representation embedded in it

  • produce regular and informative progress reports for the main decision makers

  • create topic-specific working groups that include representatives from relevant internal teams to manage input

  • communicate internally about project progress

  • establish a clear engagement plan and programme to identify when internal inputs may be required, to help others plan resources

  • ensure the vision is shared corporately to enable a consistent approach

  • communicate with the internal news and communications team on news items related to progress with the garden community project

Options for resourcing the management of a garden community project include:

  • establishing a new dedicated team
  • utilising existing resources in a virtual team
  • hiring consultants
  • pooling resources with project partners

Define the project aims and objectives

To fully understand your aims and objective, you should consider the following:

  • the main delivery objectives and outcomes for the garden community

  • when a start on site is required

  • what the critical milestones to enable a start on site are

  • who the main partners in delivery of the garden community are

Define the scope of your project

To successful define the scope of the of your garden community project, you should understand the following:

  • what activities/ deliverables are needed to meet the project objectives and by when (milestones)

  • the work streams are needed to deliver these

  • establish the priorities and quick wins

  • identify the interdependencies between the activities and deliverables and who is responsible for delivering them

  • who comprises the project team and what are their roles

  • what funding is available to help implement the project plan

Draft the project plan

Set out the high-level programme for the project supplemented by more detailed project plans for individual workstreams or phases.

Use the following points to think about your project plan

  • the best format to use to record and update the project plan

  • the mainworkstreams, activities, deadlines, responsible persons and highlight any interdependencies.

  • decision making points, highlighting who is responsible for making the decisions.

  • test plan with the project team and amend accordingly

  • prepare a risk register

A project plan will typically include:

  • your garden community name

  • who the main delivery partners are

  • date for project plan and version number

  • key milestones

  • activities and workstreams broken down under thematic headings

  • clear direction on persons or team responsible

  • a start and end date for each task

  • clarity on dependencies between activities

  • clarity on decision making process and routes/timelines for important decisions

How to manage the project plan

To manage a successful garden community project, you need to consider the following.

  • share the project plan, activities and deadlines with all responsible parties.

  • check if the workstreams and activities have been completedwithin the specified timeline 

  • identify potential for any slippage – also  check if additional extra resource is required to address this.

  • review if deadlines/ tasks/ responsibilities need to change

  • if the governance structure in place facilitates delivery of the project plan

  •  ensure your project plan progress being monitored in the right forum

  • have regular progress and review meetings

Presenting your project plan

A project plan can be an MS Word document or presented on a Gantt chart.

See how to make a project plan Gantt chart using Microsoft Excel

Other software tools that are available include:

Planning performance agreements (PPAs)

A planning performance agreement (PPA) is a  tool used in planning between the public and private sectors.

They’re useful to use in conjunction with project plans relating to garden community projects.

PPAs can capture the timescale, project team arrangements, overall objectives, what happens if disputes occur, and how the private sector can provide funding to the public sector to help resource planning work related to a development proposal.

Further information