Department of Health

Element 1 involves establishing an organisational governance framework for the project, including scope, project plan, risk management plan and communication strategy.


  • Identify organisational drivers for change.
  • Establish project timeframes.
  • Engage appropriate stakeholders.
  • Develop multi-layered communication.
  • Develop a risk management plan.


Element 1 activities take place in the months one and two of the recommended nine-month timeline for the project.


Element 1 uses all three of the overarching principles: consultation, organisational priorities and change management.

  • Set up a steering committee to:

    • consider the priorities of the health system and the organisation
    • monitor project activities against plans
    • identify opportunities and challenges within the organisation.

    Steering committee membership

    Your executive sponsor will provide direction for the composition of the steering committee.

    Suitable members may include:

    • senior managers in a position to bring about/approve change
    • senior representative/s from each site within the organisation
    • project champions
    • internal stakeholders
    • external stakeholders if applicable (for example representatives from primary care partnerships, Medicare locals, local registered training organisations).

    Activity outputs

    • Steering committee members confirmed.
    • Terms of reference established and documented.
    • Steering committee meetings scheduled for the duration of the project.
  • Identify drivers for change to motivate stakeholders and ensure the vision and purpose of the Victorian Assistant Workforce Model (VAWM) are right for the organisation.

    Drivers for change

    Drivers for change include:

    • external drivers, for example aging population, increased demand on healthcare
    • internal drivers, for example wait-list demand, difficulty managing patient/client caseloads, job satisfaction.

    Use discussion with stakeholders to identify drivers for change.

    Understanding your organisation’s internal drivers will help you develop goals that resonate with stakeholders.

    The evidence suggests that with appropriate training and support, assistants working within sound models of practice can improve:

    • service delivery and allow a refocus on areas of need
    • workforce flexibility and team efficiencies
    • client outcomes.

    Organisational priorities

    Understanding the organisational priorities will help to link the VAWM to the organisation’s vision.

    It may also assist in targeting the areas of most need.

    Organisational goals for VAWM implementation

    Developing specific organisational goals ensures the organisation will benefit from the VAWM implementation.

    Measurable goals allow you to determine if the project’s aims were achieved, and will provide the project team a way to track progress.


    • Use the SMART goal framework to develop organisational goals for the VAWM.
    • If your organisation has an organisational priorities document, use it for reference.
    • Health Workforce Australia’s document The assistants and support workers: workforce flexibility to boost productivity: full report[1] draws on peer-reviewed evidence, grey literature and stakeholder consultation to establish how assistant roles can assist healthcare and teamwork and contribute to wider workforce reform to boost productivity. Use this report to provide clear evidence that assistants can enhance service delivery, workforce flexibility and team efficiency, and client outcomes.
    • Align the aims of the project with the organisational priorities to engage the executive or management (see Element 2).
    • Staff motivation is improved when the VAWM is clearly linked to organisational priorities.
    • Improve engagement and motivation by outlining the broader context for change and why it is important to achieve a successful outcome.
    • Revisit the goals throughout the project to make sure you stay on track.

    Activity outputs

    • Project aims align with organisational priorities.
    • Organisational drivers for change identified.
    • Organisational goals agreed by steering committee.
    • Organisational priorities, drivers for change and organisational goals for VAWM implementation are included in staff engagement activities (Element 2).


    1. Health Workforce Australia 2014, The assistants and support workers: workforce flexibility to boost productivity – full report, Health Workforce, Department of Health, Canberra.

  • A defined scope for the project will assist the project team and executive sponsor/s to work towards shared goals within an agreed timeframe and budget.

    The scope will be determined by your organisation’s strategic plans and priorities.

    It could be as broad as including all allied health services across an organisation, or as narrow as targeting one allied health discipline on one site.


    Defining the scope includes:

    • aims, goals and objectives for the project
    • determining how the aims link to existing organisational priorities
    • services, programs and allied health disciplines within the organisation included in implementation of the VAWM
    • agreeing on a timeframe.

    Activity outputs

    • Project scope documented and endorsed by steering committee and executive sponsor.
  • The project plan is a working document that includes the scope and all activities.

    It includes the dates and timeframes for each element activity, and allocates resources to each activity.

    Use the project plan to report against progress. See the downloads section for templates for the progress report and Victorian Assistant Workforce Model (VAWM) project plan Gantt chart.


    • Review the VAWM aims and organisational goals regularly to ensure the project remains within scope and on track. This is particularly important if there are staff changes during implementation.
    • Undertake regular progress reports at an agreed frequency. These will be useful resources when completing the final report (Element 6).
    • If project staff take leave during the implementation, include this in the project plan so element activities can continue to be resourced.

    Activity outputs

    • Project activities identified for the entire VAWM implementation.
    • Project plan and Gantt chart includes project activities, with a start and end date for each activity.
  • Undertake an analysis of your target audience to identify stakeholders or individuals who will be affected by the implementation of the project.

    Identifying stakeholders is the first step in developing a communication strategy for the project.

    Communication strategy

    The communication strategy outlines the communication processes that will be most effective for each identified stakeholder. It also documents who is responsible for delivering these actions. It is a working document that you will monitor and update regularly.

    See the download section on this page for further guidance on completing a stakeholder analysis and developing a communication strategy.

    Element 2 also discusses stakeholders and communication strategy considerations.

    Activity outputs

    • Stakeholder analysis completed.
    • Communication strategy documented.
    • Communication strategy is updated regularly.
  • Risks to the project include any unforeseen event or activity that could impact progress in a negative (threats) or positive (opportunities) way.

    Undertake a risk assessment and analysis to identify risks and inform risk mitigation strategies.

    Risk management plan

    The risk management plan is a working document that identifies:

    • potential risks to the project and the organisation
    • a risk rating for each risk
    • preventive measures (planned actions) if the risk occurs
    • who will be responsible for preventive measures
    • the timeframe for implementing preventive measures.

    The risk management plan requires continuous monitoring and updating as new risks are identified, or as existing risks are re-assessed and risk responses adjusted.

    Your organisation will have risk management processes that can guide you in developing and documenting a risk management plan.

    See the download section on this page for an example of a risk management plan.


    As part of the risk management plan, you should prepare people for change and encourage high staff engagement.

    Measures to reduce the risk of low staff engagement may include:

    • Provide a clear picture. Ensuring stakeholders understand the drivers, aims and implementation will facilitate discussion and transparency.
    • Use the support of project champions to communicate the aims of the project to their colleagues.
    • Provide case studies that describe successful outcomes.
    • Build a sense of ownership. The VAWM uses a bottom-up approach to facilitate change. Involving AHPs and AHAs in the identification of AHA tasks will directly influence the outcomes of the project.
    • Identify influential stakeholders (not always the obvious people) and engage them to think in line with the VAWM. Invest extra time in building these relationships and persuading key people of the value of change.

    Activity outputs

    • Risk management plan documented.
    • Risk management plan updated throughout project implementation.

Reviewed 06 June 2023

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