Program Methods and Program Design: A Plan of Action

Grant Application Training

Program Methods and Program Design:
A Plan of Action

The program design refers to how the project is expected to work and solve the stated problem. Sketch out the following:

  • The activities to occur along with the related resources and staff needed to operate the project (inputs).
  • A flow chart of the organizational features of the project. Describe
    how the parts interrelate, where personnel will be needed, and what
    they are expected to do. Identify the kinds of facilities,
    transportation, and support services required (throughputs).
  • Explain what will be achieved through 1 and 2 above (outputs); i.e., plan for measurable results.

Project staff may be required to produce evidence of program
performance through an examination of stated objectives during either a
site visit by the Federal grantor agency and or grant reviews, which may
involve peer review committees.

It may be useful to devise a diagram of the program design. For
example, draw a three-column block. Each column is headed by one of the
parts (inputs, throughputs and outputs), and on the left (next to the
first column) specific program features should be identified (i.e.,
implementation, staffing, procurement, and systems development). In the
grid, specify something about the program design, for example, assume
the first column is labeled inputs and the first row is labeled staff.
On the grid one might specify under inputs five nurses to operate a
child care unit.

The throughput might be to maintain charts, counsel the children, and
set up a daily routine; outputs might be to discharge 25 healthy
children per week. This type of procedure will help to conceptualize
both the scope and detail of the project.

Wherever possible, justify in the narrative the course of action
taken. The most economical method should be used that does not
compromise or sacrifice project quality. The financial expenses
associated with performance of the project will later become points of
negotiation with the Federal program staff. If everything is not
carefully justified in writing in the proposal, after negotiation with
the Federal grantor agencies, the approved project may resemble less of
the original concept. Carefully consider the pressures of the proposed
implementation, that is, the time and money needed to acquire each part
of the plan.

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