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Project Management Software for Annual Planning

Do any other units use any project tracking or project management tools to plan the year, assign tasks, ensure things are started with sufficient lead time, etc.?

We’re about to have a few folks cycle out as their boys cross over this spring, and we’ve been capturing historical activities to ensure we start things on time next year. Previously we’ve just had a list of “remember to do this” in the notes in ScoutBook for each committee meeting, but I’m finding there’s a LOT undocumented knowledge and I want to get it all in one place. Several of our annual activities require 2-3 months of lead time to ensure sites are booked, supplies are ordered, and so on, and we’d like to be on top of those. I have looked at Asana, Teamweek, Jira, etc. but before I jump in to any of them, I was curious if other units have tried this approach.

We found that simple is repeatable. There’s lots of project management software, but not every potential adult leader can use it. I think you’ll find that old-school clunky lists are going to be your best bet.

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One approach using the existing infrastructure in Scoutbook could be:

  1. Have the outgoing folks document the most critical (or longest lead-time) events in a post to your unit forum on discussions.scouting.org, including all of the details that they think people need to know. One thread per event, so you can update as time passes and you don’t have to navigate around posts for various different events.
  2. Create a “dummy” subunit (den since it sounds like y’all are a pack) with all of the leaders added as subunit admins.
  3. When you do your annual plan, add the event(s) to the unit calendar, but also add duplicate event(s) at the same time and date to the dummy subunit calendar. Put all of the details (including a link to the unit forum thread related to the event planning) and invite all of the leaders to the “dummy” event. Set up a couple of reminders for the dummy event, with the first one at the “start” of the lead time for the long lead items (e.g. facility reservations), add additional reminders for the intermediate-lead items (purchasing supplies, etc), and a final reminder for the short-lead items (like ordering food based on head count).

That way, your unit doesn’t have to acquire/learn an additional piece of software.

Alternatively, if you already have cloud storage somewhere, you can switch “unit forum” in the first step to “cloud storage”, and point the links to the cloud documents.

We keep two running lists:

  1. List of ideas for activities that come from the boys in the troop through their patrol leaders up to the PLC.
  2. List of activities we did in the past, and whether they were successful or not, and why. This one also has info about lead times, etc. Things like “Need to book a cabin for the winter campout by Oct 1st, before the campground fills up”, or “Don’t forget about Scouting for Food in November”…

Also, I sync the troop calendars to my Google calendar, and send that out as a PDF to the less computer-comfortable people on the committee and in the troop – those folks won’t go out and look up the Scoutbook calendar without a big push.

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We don’t do this currently, but I have had the same thought. I think Asana or Basecamp would be great.

I do the same with a PDF from outlook. Look how cool the godaddy calendar feed option is too: https://troop1401.org/calendar.

We run an annual plan each year and capture it in our Troopmaster calendar (I’m sure Packmaster can do the same). So our activity history is available from the beginning of the troop. We keep a file for activities with attendance, menus, activity info, etc. and with steady and overlapping leadership, the historical “what to do” for activities is pretty easy to maintain. In reality a lot of events get recycled over the years (Scouting for Food, New Scout Camp-out, Summer Camp, Winter Camp, etc.). Sharing the planning burden by having adults volunteer as “Activity Coordinators” during the annual planning and communicating progress during meeting helps.

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