Design and implementation of project management in Social Work practice

“The International Day of Social Work and Nursing 2013”

Project Report, 2013

10 Pages, Grade: 1,3


Index of contents

1. Introduction

2. Project management as it relates to Social Work

3. Designing and carrying out the project

4. Reflecting on the project process

5. Evaluation and reflection on my learnings

1. Introduction

The profession of Social Work is permanently evolving and its employees have to face and overcome new challenges on a daily basis. Changing environmental conditions, new needs and social problems of the clientele as well as economic competition and the reduction of fi- nancial resources have lead to the fact that goals, contents and methods have to be rearranged. Furthermore the process of professionalization demands an increase of empirical knowledge in the daily practice of Social Workers, making it necessary to replace ideological convictions with empiricism.

2. Project management as it relates to Social Work

These new risks and uncertainties result in the challenge that organizations of Social Work have to adapt themselves to a rising pressure for innovation (see Lerche/Wollmer/Engel 2004: 14 - 17; Nüß 2005: 167). The innovative potential, which has been generated by the preceding generation of Social Workers, has now depleted and confronts today´s representatives with a lack of modernization. The current generation is now facing the task of bridging this gap to incite a change of methods (see Lerche/Wollmer/Engel 2004: 14 - 17). In order to meet this new challenge numerous Social Work organizations offer project work besides their regular spectrum because project work is always useful if, next to the everyday business, additional tasks have to be completed (see Krewer/Fernández 2912: 52). But projects should not be seen as a way for seeking alternative financial sources (e.g. the ”Bund-Länder-Programm ´Soziale Stadt´“) or a reaction on environmental conditions only. In addition, projects imply the chance to activate learning processes and innovations within the organizations and enable So- cial Workers to respond efficiently to altered social structures (see Nüß 2005: 168). The term ”project“ comes from the Latin verb ”proicere“, which means as much as ”before an action” or ”something that comes before something else in time”. Accordingly a project is always novel and unique in form of its results and focused on the future (see Nüß 2005: 168; Krewer/ Fernández 2012: 53). On the basis of the DIN-Norm (Deutsches Institut für Normung) a pro- ject is defined as: ”ein zeitlich begrenztes Vorhaben mit einem klar formulierten Ziel und ei- nem festgelegten Anfangs- und Endzeitpunkt sowie begrenzten Ressourcen. Es ist gekenn- zeichnet durch Einmaligkeit, Komplexität und einen innovativen Charakter - d.h. es handelt sich nicht um eine Routineangelegenheit und grenzt sich gegenüber dem ´Alltagsgeschäft`ab“ (see Nüß 2005: 169).

But while professional project management has been used in the technical and economical sector as a basic instrument for years, equal developments in the spectrum of methods were not achieved in Social Work yet. Even though the profession of Social Work has great poten- tial relating to the so-called ”soft factors” like communication and team skills as well as conflict-resolution resources or the mastering of creative methods - e.g. Brainstorming or Mind-Mapping (see Michel-Schwartze 2009: 294; Nüß 2005: 169). At the University of Ap- plied Sciences Frankfurt am Main various lectures on methods of project management are be- ing taught as part of the undergraduate Bachelor-program (e.g. module 16.4, module 20, module 17.3). We as future Social Workers have to face changing environmental conditions, financial resources and other problem areas on a daily basis. Keeping this in mind, it is my opinion that methodological teaching in terms of professional project management should be added to the Bachelor of Social Work curriculum.

3. Designing and carrying out the project

During the Module 16.4 ”International Social Work“ it was my project to take part in the or- ganization and coordination of the ”International Day of Social Work and Nursing 2013”. The celebration of a joint day of Social Work and Nursing at the University of Applied Sciences Frankfurt, which originated in 2011. Both courses are offered at the Department of Social Work and Health and since Social Workers and Nurses share common conditions as well as common clients in their professional fields, they can accordingly learn a great deal from each other. The two main goals of the international day were to provide information for people who are not involved in the field, and to create a possibility of exchange for professional Social Workers and Nurses who work all over the world in various areas. Our vision was to bring these professions closer together because exchange and interchange between them is neces- sary to deal with future global issues such as social injustice or the UN „Millennium Goals“. The theme of the International Day of Social Work and Nursing 2013 was ”getting the big picture: international perspectives“. According to that we wanted to put the focus on student speakers and their international experiences. By doing so we tried to meet students on a low- threshold level and encourage them to think about their personal international perspectives and consider undertaking similar activities. Before we actually started the project preparation it was necessary to analyze needs within the current situation, and consequently to define goals and think about their benefits in comparison to the actual state. The essential question was: What difference could we make? What would be the consequences for the university and its students if international programs like this would not be included in the Bachelor studies? First of all there would be less information about international perspectives of Social Work and Nursing and therefore probably less students participating in exchanges or semesters abroad. Even more important is the fact that students who cannot take part in exchange pro- grams would have no connection to this field of their profession. Projects like the Interna- tional Day of Social Work and Nursing as part of the long term program „internationalization at home“, which the University of Applied Sciences Frankfurt initiated, are attempts to bridge this gap between students who can and students who cannot take part in international pro- grams. Our goals and visions, as I wrote before, were to get Social Workers and Nurses closer together, put the professions into a bigger picture by dealing with global topics and encourage students to think about their international perspectives. To break down these visions into little steps we created a milestone plan to make our goals achievable. Milestones are both useful and important in maintaining an overview and control intermediate data during the course of the project (see Krewer/Fernández 2012: 63). Naturally, milestones undergo frequent changes during the process of preparation which, if expected beforehand, is not a major problem. The shortage of space forces me to give only a short overview of our final milestone plan:


Excerpt out of 10 pages


Design and implementation of project management in Social Work practice
“The International Day of Social Work and Nursing 2013”
University of Applied Sciences Frankfurt am Main
International Social Work
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
394 KB
Social Work, Soziale Arbeit, Projektmanagement, Projekte, Internationales
Quote paper
Christopher Hahn (Author), 2013, Design and implementation of project management in Social Work practice, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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