Project Management: Roles & Responsibilities

 

What is my involvement in managing staff on my study? Researchers coordinate with IPA country management on oversight and management of IPA project staff. You should communicate with the staff regularly and remain available for prompt technical support and guidance. We also ask that researchers travel to the field as appropriate, or at least once per active year.

So who else manages the staff on my study?  The IPA country management team is the direct line manager of all IPA project staff, providing oversight to ensure that the project’s objectives are met, informing HR of any requested changes to title, compensation, and/or benefits, carrying out an annual performance review process, and providing guidance to project management staff on overseeing surveyor and field management teams. The Global HR Dept approves all changes in employment policies or practices, provides support for challenging management situations, and initiates annual performance review process.

What is my involvement in data collection and analysis? Researchers design and approve overall data collection and management strategy and provide ongoing technical guidance and support to project staff. Researchers also conduct data analysis according to grant agreement deadlines, create the analysis plan, and approve and/or finalize the analysis. 

What can I expect of my research management staff for data collection and analysis? Project management staff support researchers in documenting the research design, provide guidance on in-country opportunities or issues (e.g. pilot research ideas), arrange focus groups and exploratory activities for formative research when relevant and possible, draft work plans and data collection and management strategy with support of the researchers and input from management, directly oversee project implementation of the proposed design, supervise data collection, manage a team of surveyors and data entry staff, and ensure quality control of research.

Why is there management time included for data collection and analysis? What does the country management team do? Country management ensure that all aspects of the project run smoothly and is of high quality. This includes staff adherence to IPA research protocols and the approved PI work plan. They also advise on the data collection plan and approve the final workplan to ensure that it adheres to contractual requirements and is feasible. The country management is often the primary point of contact for project partner meetings and troubleshooting joint timelines and plans. They are in constant communication with researchers around challenges faced in the field, attend surveyor trainings and observes fieldwork – usually, at the beginning of every survey period. For analysis, country management ensures that data analysis plans will provide answers to partner questions in a timely way, oversees the project team to help ensure deliverables are met, and supports in ensuring adequate staffing as appropriate. Research Managers and global research support can also assist with analysis via training and/or discussion of methods. 

What is my involvement in partner engagement? Researchers typically support in the development and maintenance of partner relationships and high-level conversations related to research design, implementation, and results sharing for the success of the project. We expect that researchers work together with country teams on communications with partners, setting and meeting expectations for updates and feedback at major project milestones (e.g. baseline reporting), and provide support during dissemination and any challenges with partners. 

What can I expect from the project staff and country management in partner engagement? Project staff manage the day-to-day working relationship with partners, especially as they relate to research design and data collection operations, keeping country management and researchers up to date on activities and the relationship. Project staff is also responsible for coordinating decisions, timelines, and deliverables schedules between researchers and country management, and they are responsible for producing partner reports and updates. Country management will oversee this work, builds and maintains relationships with partner organization leads, and may represent the researcher in key research design conversations to facilitate partner understanding, buy-in, and collaboration. 

What is my responsibility in financial management? In collaboration with country management, researchers ensure that the research and its project design match appropriately with guaranteed funding, provide feedback on the operational budget, and designate the budget holder. Researchers also provide high-level oversight of project budgets and works with country management when significant adjustments are needed to the project scope and/or budget, consulting with country management and global grants team when adjustments are needed to the award’s deliverable schedule.

What can I expect from my project staff for financial management? The project staff is responsible for day-to-day project budget management, converts the donor budget into an operational budget, monitors expenditure tracking, and ensures that expenditures are being spent in accordance with the project budget and donor rules and regulations. They are also responsible to alert their grants manager when adjustments (reconciliations) are required to journal entries, to provide the in-country Finance Staff with the appropriate financial codes for all project expenditures, and to follow all financial and procurement systems. The project staff also informs management as budget overruns become apparent and alerts them of any suspicious activities.

What is my responsibility for donor reporting? Researchers guide the narrative reports and are responsible for the content and quality of narrative reports. Researchers are also responsible to submit these in a timely fashion to the grants team and country management and to coordinate with the grants team and country management on donor interactions, recalling that all formal interactions must come from the appropriate grants manager.

What do project staff and country management do for donor reporting? Project staff provide for narrative reports, alerts management on completion of non-date tied programmatic milestones (i.e. completion of baseline survey) as stated in award agreements and provides support and input on donor financial reports. Country management then tracks deliverable-based milestones, and works together with the global grants team for oversight, review, and approval of both narrative and financial reports to ensure quality and accuracy.