As the world adapted to a new degree of remote and digital working this year, there were some facets of the job that proved more difficult to accomplish virtually than others, namely virtual experiments. However, when executed correctly and with the right remote tech tools, virtual experiments are a successful alternative to on-site lab experiments.
When you plan out experiments ahead of time, you’ll save time, money, and stress. Teams that are working from various locations will need additional tools and resources to stay organized and on track to hit milestones.
To help you create an experiment plan for the remote world, we’ve created a template to help you plan communication, milestones, documentation, and more.
Here’s how to plan out an experiment with virtual or hybrid (both remote and in-person) teams.
Who will be involved in this experiment? Think about all stakeholders from in-lab researchers to data analysts and those involved in booking lab space, ordering supplies, and procuring equipment. You can factor in vendors and third party suppliers as well.
Plan out your experiment on a timeline, whether it’s hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly. You can incorporate milestones or smaller check ins throughout depending on the nature of the experiment.
If you’ll be collecting data in the lab, create a schedule and way to track data. This might mean creating a dashboard that feeds in data and is easy for the entire team to quickly check in on, or a detailed shared spreadsheet. Include quality control checkpoints in your experiment timeline to make sure data is being collected and stored properly.
Figure out what equipment and supplies you’ll need ahead of time. Just because you don’t need it for several months doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think about it until then. Planning out and procuring supplies ahead of time will decrease setbacks in research.
It’s important for your team to be on the same page and using the same tools. By transitioning to cloud-based collaborative software, your team both virtual and in-person can stay up to date on experiment progress and data.
Here are our favorite remote collaboration tools for lab teams:
- Basecamp: project management
- Slack: communication/messaging
- Flock: team communication
- ZAGENO: supply management
Virtual Experiment Planning Template
Milestone 1 [Date]
|Data collection needs/methods||
Outline how data will be collected, monitored, shared, and analyzed
Determine what equipment is needed and how it will be procured
Plan out supplies needed and when they will be needed
What tools will be used and how will stakeholders be given access to these tools? Include project management software and other collaborative tools
Use this template to strategically plan and optimize your experiments with hybrid or virtual teams. Planning ahead will help your lab save time and money and help your team stay motivated and organized.