Activity: Understanding and Scoping the Project

This activity will help you articulate both the needs of the library as well as the needs of both members of the mentoring relationship. It is also a good first step in determining the scope of the project.


By working with stakeholders to identify real world work problems, the mentor can shape and push forward a project that will not only have impact for the mentoring pair, but also for the larger institution and profession.


20 minutes per stakeholder conversation


Notepad (optional)




  1. We suggest that the mentor solicit ideas from stakeholders within her unit or library to help answer the questions in the exercise to find at least 3 projects.  
  2. Use the 5 W’s and One H to define the scope of a real world project:
    • Who:  Who are the stakeholders?  Who is affected by this project?  Who do you need to talk with to complete the project successfully?  Will you be able to connect with those people in a significant way?
    • What:  What is the project?  Have the goals of the project been articulated, and if not, what are they?  Are there deliverables?  What is the impact of this project on the library? What do we hope to learn from this project?  What are the assumptions being made? What are the known barriers? What is out of scope for this project? What happens after the project ends?
    • Where:  Will this work happen at the library?  Is dedicated space needed? Can the mentee work on their own? Where will the shared work of this project “live” (either digitally or otherwise)?
    • When:  What is the timeline of the project and its deliverables?  Can the project realistically be completed with this timeline?  Why or why not?  If the timeline needs to be adjusted along the way, how is that accomplished? We suggest answering this question after the Who, What, and Where questions are answered.
    • Why:  Why is this project important to the library?  To the mentor?  To the mentee? To the profession? To the learner/scholar? What is the motivation for doing this project? 
    • How:  How much will this all cost?  Are there other resources needed? How will each part of the project be finished? How will we ensure that our deliverables are equitable, accessible, inclusive? How does this project meet the mentee’s professional development goals?


We recommend completing the activities in section 3.2 (Identifying Your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats and Personal Mission Statements) before sharing the three project ideas with the mentee in order to create a good match between the person and the project.


Download the instructions for this activity.