Would you like to learn more about our process for working with clients (we tend to call them collaborators)? Are you new to working with an external consultant? Or would you like to find out a bit more about how we bring our organisational values and approach to work to life?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you are in the right place.
We thought it would be helpful to summarise a typical JRS Knowhow project from start to finish. We explain the process and explore why we do what we do.
Here is a summary of a collaborator’s journey with JRS Knowhow
- We like to have an introductory chat. We do this to better understand your ambitions, any ideas about what JRS Knowhow could do for you and the intended audience. We also discuss important things like deadlines, budgets and possible funder requirements. One of our values is inclusive communication. So, we are going to ask about any reasonable adjustments required, especially for an online meeting. Our introductory chat can be in a format that suits you, for example, over the phone, via Zoom, Teams, by email or even by post.
- Next, we will decide if we are the right fit to collaborate with you on your fabulous idea. If we don’t have the relevant technical expertise, lived experience, or we don’t have the required time available to meet your deadlines, then we may recommend someone else to deliver your project. This is important to us because expert knowledge and lived experience are one of our key values. We make principled decisions about what we do. And how we do it. Another key value is strategic innovation. So, if you suggest something that has already been created, we might let you know. Innovation isn’t about recreating wheels. It is about deciding what new wheels, new routes and imaginative travel solutions might make the journey more efficient.
- If we would like to collaboratively explore your idea with you, then we create a proposal or concept note. This might include a detailed list of activities, outcomes and an estimated budget. We like to keep things fun and engaging, so it won’t just be a spreadsheet, timeline, and CV for a consultant. If requested, we can mock-up our ideas in the desired multimedia format like a video trailer, interactive e-learning exercise, or digital workshop pack.
- We aim to build relationships of trust. We love to hear our collaborator’s feedback after the first draft of the proposal. We will iterate the plans and the budget to suit your suggestions. We also like to talk about intellectual property (IP) and payment schedules so we can find the right solutions for you. We also chat about which of the optional activities in the proposal you might like to pursue. These often relate to sharing project learning with a wider audience. Or they might include an option to ‘pay it forward’ and contribute to a smaller organisation’s learning journey where budget is a restriction.
- Then it is time to make our project official with paperwork. We normally draw up an official service level agreement or memorandum of understanding, depending on the project. We discuss what needs to be in it. Once it is agreed and counter-signed, we can get started on our learning journey!
- Our first official project meeting isn’t just about project management process. We offer set-up meetings because we like to learn more about how you work, your motivations and what makes you unique. We might ask for relevant documentation, so we can read ourselves up to speed with your strategy, wider targets, donor funded plans and monitoring frameworks. During the meeting we will also agree next steps, intermediary deadlines and ensure we each understand the timeline and inputs.
- We work flexibly. We can work with the project systems, tools, and communication platforms you prefer. Or we can also upskill you to use a new digital tool of your choice for the project management (if you like). You might like weekly email roundups about project progress or have daily stand-up meetings instead. You might love using Slack or prefer Teams to facilitate online conversations. You might be a fan of Trello, or, opt for a collaborative Sharepoint document to keep an eye on project plans. One thing you can be sure is that we will avoid platforms and digital tools that are not General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliant. We also opt for online tools that are committed to digital accessibility.
- We work collaboratively. This might involve spending time at the design or set-up phase finding the right solution through wider consultation or co-design. It might involve testing or creating the proposed solution in partnership with a wide range of people. We might even explore collaborative review of a project. We value our collaborator’s skills, experiences, and knowledge. We can learn from each other, and we can learn from our learners.
- When a project is completed, you will receive a customised consultancy report. Why? We don’t want you to lose sight of what you have achieved. We also want to make sure you know what and where all the deliverables are. The deliverables are designed for reuse. We summarise your project’s progress, outcomes, list resources discussed, and we might leave you with a few further questions or ideas. This can be helpful for donor reporting, or to strategise with in the future.
- Just because the project is finished doesn’t mean the conversation has to be. We love feedback. Really. Feeback helps us learn and do things differently in the future. Our project close will always be accompanied by a feedback process. This involves a reflective meeting with the project team. But it also importantly offers you the chance to feed back to a separate member of the JRS Knowhow team about what went well and what could be improved.
Now that you know the process, how do you make the most of the journey with JRS Knowhow? Ensure you have enough time to work with a consultant. This is crucial. A rushed project isn’t going to achieve your goals. Try and nominate a lead person to liaise with your JRS Knowhow consultant. This way we can report progress (and hopefully not pitfalls) clearly to you. Finally, keep asking questions. We love training and learning. And we love a challenge.
Contact us to chat about your next idea.