A requirement we have put on ECSS projects is the development of workplans. The intent of the workplan is to document the expected and completed work with deliverables, milestones, and expected levels of effort; so that there is a way to assess progress during and success after the project ends.
First, the hope is that the workplans can be developed on average in about 2-3 weeks. Clearly, there will be exceptions because of travel or holidays. Along these lines, some staff may have had difficulty getting the PIs to respond; that certainly can happen. Going forward, we will include alternate contacts if we have them (like grad students or co-PIs.) If you have trouble getting the PI or alternates to respond, please let the appropriate L3 manager or any other of the ECSS management know.
As for difficulty in developing the workplans, some are worried that putting a deliverable or milestones with target quarter dates may commit them to something they are not sure can be attained, but the workplans can be modified within reason as the project progresses, so this should not be a concern.
Similarly, some are worried that incorrectly estimating their effort levels will be a problem but that is not the case. We just want an estimate up front, and this can be updated each quarter if needed.
We've provided a lot of comments in the template itself regarding % effort and expected completion quarters and such. We have also given comments regarding quantitative measures in milestones, project group participation, and ensuring all deliverables are addressed by at least one milestone. It is expected that the workplan will be fluid and these items can be changed. We just have to report on it.