Stage 4: Prepare your Calendar
Scheduling is crucial for the management of the program. Calculating the number of required hours and days is important for preparing the calendar. This will help identify the duration of the program, the number of hours that the team will have to account for, as well as the number of hours the participants will have to account for.
For instance, in case 30-minute group calls are being conducted for 8 different groups, the team would have to account for 240 minutes i.e. 4 hours (30*8) while the participants would have to account for 30 minutes.
Finalising Dates and Times
Finalising the dates of the Project, post the calculation of the days and times, is an important step for setting the structure. Key considerations for this include:
1. Age group:
The age group of the participants will help determine the time period within which the program should take place. For example, for college students, the holiday period would be more suitable for the program. However, given that college students also intern in the holidays, the evenings would be more preferable for timings.
2. Days of the week:
Keeping in mind that participants may prefer having weekends free, sessions should be scheduled on weekdays, perhaps including Saturdays.
3. Gaps between sessions:
While there may be weeks where sessions are on back-to-back days, it is important to account for breaks to facilitate attendance, attention and focus of the participants.
4. Fixed vs adjustable times:
While timings in the calendar are fixed, there are instances when either the timings, or the schedule should be modified, keeping in mind the availability of the participants.
For instance, in case groups are being created for ‘A’ and ‘I’ sessions, it would be crucial to try and ensure the participation of all group members. Therefore, it would be important to check with the group members for their availability on the relevant date and time and adjustments should be considered in case one or more of the group members aren’t available.
Depth and Detail
The calendar should act as a one stop for participants to exactly understand the process they will have to go through, the sessions they will have to attend, and the information that will be covered in the session.
The calendar should therefore be comprehensive and should include the date, time, the name of the session, as well as format of the session.
A template for a calendar is provided here.