Collaborative Coffee Readiness Program

After 18 years of battling campus line ups, I finally bought a coffee maker for my department. If you work for an institution of higher education and are considering a similar bold venture, please feel free to adapt my Project Charter and Terms of Reference for your own Collaborative Coffee Readiness Program.

Sample Project Charter and Terms of Reference

Executive Summary

As part of an ongoing commitment to employee engagement, the ad-hoc organizing sub-working committee task force on employee engagement has recently launched a Collaborative Coffee Readiness Program (CCRP). The purpose of the program is to leverage personal productivity and overall well-being through the strategic deployment of caffeine. The terms of the pilot project were developed through the use of a SWOT analysis, a longitudinal examination of data on in-house consumption patterns, numerous consultations with relevant stakeholders, and several rounds of usability tasting.  

Background and Scope 

Several recent studies (Anderson et al 2018; McLellan, Caldwell and Lieberman, 2016) have found a strong correlation between the availability of caffeine and employee productivity. In order to best leverage the deep expertise of project participants in an increasingly complex beverage landscape, a coffee production station has been procured and is now installed in the department kitchen.

Project Goals / Deliverables

  • Increase in cognitive functioning and well being of employees in the department
  • Realization of measurable efficiencies in coffee procurement on the campus
  • Improved mechanisms for harnessing collective creative output in the pursuit of BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals)1


Six weeks or until the coffee production unit malfunctions and/or explodes. Full implementation to follow.


Initial funding for infrastructure has been provided through a Ryan Insight grant. Ongoing operational costs will be evaluated during the pilot phase, and will be incorporated into recommendations for a sustainable permanent model for collaborative coffee production.


Ongoing assessment of the pilot will be undertaken in accordance with the campus-wide Coffee Readiness Assessment Principles (CRAP).

Roles and Responsibilities 

Steering Group

A steering group has been established to provide strategic leadership and vision for the project. The steering group will meet weekly, preferably over buttery croissants, to evaluate progress on deliverables, and to identify improvements in workflows and in the assessment framework. 

During the initial phase of implementation, the steering group shall be responsible for coffee and cream procurement. As part of the assessment framework, a cost and workflow analysis will be conducted in order to make recommendations for a long term sustainable approach to collaborative coffee production.

Project Participants

Collaborative Coffee Readiness Program participants shall:

  1. Upon arrival to work, conduct a personal needs assessment to evaluate caffeine intake requirements. If caffeine is required, proceed immediately to the coffee production centre.
  2. If unit contains coffee, pour into cup. Add cream and sugar as needed. Return to your office location.
  3. If unit contains no coffee, make it. Wait approximately 8 minutes for brewing to complete, then proceed as per step 2. Make a mental note that you are now responsible for clean up of the coffee production unit’s filter and carafe. 
  4. Before leaving for the day, visit kitchenette to clean up unit’s filter and carafe, as per the instructions provided in step 3. 

Additional operational protocols

To ensure a smooth implementation of the pilot project, the steering committee recommends all participants adhere to the following operational norms:

  1. The first batch of coffee be prepared no earlier than 9:00 in order to maximize freshness. A 10-12 cup brew is recommended (1 tbsp of coffee per cup).
  2. Auto turnoff has been set for 3 hours from brew time in order to minimize fire risk.
  3. All participants are responsible for washing and putting away their own cups.
  4. The coffee production unit has capacity to accommodate flavoured coffee, but discretion should be exercised in order to reduce the risk of nausea and retching from other project participants.

Works Cited

Anderson, J. R., Hagerdorn, P. L., Gunstad, J., & Spitznagel, M. B. (2018). Using coffee to compensate for poor sleep: Impact on vigilance and implications for workplace performance. Applied Ergonomics, 70(Complete), 142-147.

McLellan, T. M., Caldwell, J. A., & Lieberman, H. R. (2016). A review of caffeine’s effects on cognitive, physical and occupational performance. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 71(Complete), 294-312. doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2016.09.001