Step 3 - Planning (Coordination)

The planning phase will be the largest body of work in your collaborative endeavour. At this stage, you will have identified the areas that you would like to collaborate around and you will have identified and approached your collaboration partners. You should be confident at this stage that you have a valid and well reasoned rationale for the collaboration, so don’t be afraid to take that leap of faith! The amount of work and type of activities in this phase will vary, and will be largely dependent on the number of partners in your collaboration initiative and the degree of formality around the arrangement i.e. Coordination, alliance or integration.

Coordination Projects

Moving firstly to the planning phase for coordination type projects, there will be a reasonable amount of work to do in this phase regardless of whether your organisation is coordinating around information sharing, joint training events or any other loose arrangement. For example, one of the projects in the Collaborate to Innovate programme involved two organisations in the education space sharing internal policies, guidelines, standard operating procedures, templates and methods of working for a variety of different departments, from HR, to finance and I.T. The organisations in question also explored the potential for sharing membership lists, holding joint staff development events, joint research initiatives and dedicated meetings for counterparts in the respective organisations to discuss and share information relevant to their particular function. Through the efforts of these counterpart staff members, a great deal of information was shared, and this in turn  saved time, effort, resources and money. 
Although the above coordination example might seem relatively simple and straight forward, it does take planning and a degree of project management from the people involved. 
In practice, coordination type collaborations do not require as much planning as alliances or integrations as they are not as formal. However, it is good practice to ‘get into the habit’ of carrying out rigourous project planning and project management… you never know when you might need it!


A detailed project plan is crucial for the success of any collaborative project and should be completed within the planning stage. Below is a sample template, but feel free to tailor your project plan depending on the complexity of the project.

The below matrix is a useful tool to use when analysing risks. Hold a brainstorming session to generate a list of risks. Once this is done, plot them into the matrix below depending on the liklihood of them occuring and the impact or severity if they did occur. 

The stakeholder analysis matrix is a helpful way to analyse which stakeholders will be allies in the change initiative and which stakeholders may be somewhat resistant. As before, once the stakeholders are identified, plot them into the matrix depending on their level of influence and their perceived support level. This will assist you when developing the communications plan. 


Go to Coordination Step 4: Implementation ►