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12 minute read
How to Create a Project Management Plan (Step by Step)
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Here’s how to create a project management plan, even if you have zero experience doing so.
Whether you’re a newly hired project manager or one who’s been slaying the game for years, having the right plan in place is essential to the success of your project. After all, when you have everything outlined and neatly organized, you’ll score a much better chance of managing a project that runs smoothly from start to finish.
Bad news: It’s this step, actually creating the plan, that trips many managers up. Fortunately, with the help of today’s article, you won’t fall into that trap. I’ll show you everything you need to know about how to create a project management plan so you have a roadmap to run with.
We’ll cover how to:
Step 1: Identify the goal of the project
Step 2: map out the scope, step 3: develop an outline or plan, step 4: share this initial idea with your team, step 5: finalize your plan.
- Step 6: Use a Gantt chart to keep things organized
Step 7: Distribute your project management plan
Step 8: hold a project post mortem.
So let’s jump right in.
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How to create a project management plan
Follow these eight steps to build a solid project management plan from the ground up:
To build anything of substance, the first step you’ll want to tackle is creating the right foundation.
Ask yourself these questions to lay the groundwork:
- Why are you creating this project?
- What’s the goal of it?
- How will this affect your stakeholders?
- What about your team?
And to help you answer those, make sure you do the following:
Research and homework
- You may already have a good idea of why you’re creating this project, but it’s essential to back this up with research.
- How is your company doing things right now? What’s working? What doesn’t work?
- Are there enough resources available? What else is needed?
- Figure out the real the problem at hand and gain a deep understanding of the current mechanics before you try to improve them.
Meet with your team for feedback
- Meet with anyone who could be involved in this project during this stage. Before narrowing things down, be sure to speak with any employees who will be involved in this project.
- You need to see things from their perspective so you have all your ducks in a row when it comes time to introduce the plan to your stakeholders.
- Once that’s taken care of, you can then meet your stakeholders with confidence.
Figure out who is a stakeholder
- Sure, you may have a Board of Directors or some other stakeholders involved, but don’t forget, those aren’t the only people to consider.
- Your customers and employees may also be stakeholders in this project.
- In short, anyone who could be affected by these changes is a stakeholder and must be considered as such.
- After you nail down your “why” and meet with both your team and all prominent stakeholders, you’re ready to set your priorities and goals.
- Before you dive into your goals, consider your priorities first. What is more important here? What can take a backseat?
- Identify your priorities before moving on to finalizing your goals.
Set clear goals
- Once you’ve tackled all of that, you’re ready to set specific, measurable goals.
- These goals serve as the foundation of your project management plan so it’s crucial that you spend enough time figuring them out before moving on to the rest of our steps.
You’ll need to answer:
- What are you hoping to achieve here?
- How will you measure that?
- What’s considered a success?
With that important information nailed down, you can then map out your project’s scope.
If you were to compare your project management plan to building a house, your first step is the concrete foundation.
This next step is the blueprint for how things will get done and what your project will look like once it’s in motion.
So answer these next questions before proceeding:
What is your budget?
- Before you create an elaborate project scope that’s out of reach, you need to consider your budget first. And I’m not only referring to your financial investment here.
- You must also take into account your other valuable resources, such as time and manpower. How much of these can you afford to use?
- Outline your budget in terms of financial investment, time, and resources needed. Only then will you be able to create a realistic project scope, which is also your next step.
What is your project scope?
- As with setting goals, it’s important to stretch your project to the right limits. You don’t want to go so far that your team can’t reach its targets, yet you also don’t want to create a project that doesn’t accomplish much.
- To help strike the right balance, create a project scope that is crystal clear and outlines all of the details — both big and small.
- Your project scope should also include your deliverables and the deliverable schedule .
- For more on keeping your project's scope within bounds, check out our definitive guide to scope creep .
What are your deliverables?
- Everyone on your team should know what needs to be delivered and when. By spelling this out in your project scope, you’ll do just that.
- Not only does this deliverables list create a workflow everyone can follow, it also helps keep everyone on track.
- You’ll also show stakeholders or clients what they can expect, which naturally builds accountability into your project management plan.
- So when you account for all the deliverables you’re responsible for, your next task is to plot out your deliverable schedule.
What is your deliverable schedule?
- It’s crucial that you don’t over promise during this step. Do that and your team will be left scrambling throughout the project and your deliverables will suffer in quality.
- A better approach is to use the research you conducted in step 1 to hone in on a realistic delivery schedule.
- If your research uncovered that the task takes 2 weeks to complete, it’s not a good idea to only give your team a few days and hope everything somehow falls into place within a shorter time frame.
- It’s also smart to add a buffer to any areas you’re not sure of, just to be safe. This gives your project and your team the breathing room needed to get the job done correctly.
- If you’re worried that your stakeholders will be concerned about the amount of time needed, reassure them that to do the job right the first time, it needs to take that much time. Otherwise you’ll be stuck re-working things for months to come.
- Now that you have all of this sketched out, you’re ready to create the first draft of your project plan.
Your next step is to create an outline and plan of action based on everything you’ve learned so far.
While this is only a first draft at this point, it pays to finalize as much as you can (as if it were the real thing) so you can avoid multiple rounds of revisions.
In this outline, include the project’s:
- Deliverable schedule
You should also include a page about your research to highlight your biggest key findings and discuss how they inspired your project management plan.
Polish up your document, add some branding elements, and you’ll be ready to share it with your team.
Before you get too excited and send your document to every one of your stakeholders, you need to finalize it with your team beforehand.
This step is one that many project managers overlook for time’s sake — and it’s a crucial and costly mistake.
When there’s a disconnect between the initial plan and how the work is implemented, you’re going to face several snags along the way.
You’re better off finalizing this draft plan with your team before it gets to the approval stage.
This ensures that your project will run as smoothly as your dreams.
So in this stage, hold a kickoff meeting to:
- Explain the ins and outs of the project
- Let your team know what’s expected of them and when
- Work out any kinks that may come up
It’s especially important to pay attention to that last point.
No matter how hard you try to cover all of your bases, hiccups will inevitably surface in any project.
But with proper planning, you’ll minimize problems as much as humanly possible. I’ll touch more on this next.
Using the feedback from your team, you’re ready to finalize your plan.
This official plan will be the one you’ll send to stakeholders so it’s important to take your time here.
You should also add a section about any issues that may come up, including how you plan to handle them.
While it may seem counterintuitive to highlight possible hiccups to your stakeholders, you’ll be showing them that you’re taking a proactive, instead of reactive, approach. This foresight is always appreciated.
It’s also ideal to assign roles during this phase of the project plan so stakeholders know how to get in touch with your points of contact during each step.
The best way to display this type of information, both internally and externally for stakeholders, is through a Gantt chart.
Step 6: Use a Gantt chart to keep things organized
If you have Excel, you can use this free Gantt Chart template to create a timeline of deliverables.
This helpful tracker ensures that both your team and stakeholders know what to expect and when.
As the project unfolds, keep this updated throughout the day so anyone can see where your project presently stands.
Once you’ve finished creating your project management plan and created a timeline using a Gantt chart, you can finally share your plan with everyone.
When your plan is ready to send out to stakeholders and everyone else on your team, you’ll be able to answer questions and start putting your plan into motion.
To stay on track, plot out the big milestones first and then how you plan to achieve each one using smaller targets, such as daily, weekly, or monthly goals.
After that, you’re simply managing deliverables and your team. Easy peasy.
Now, before you use this template again on your next project, conduct a project post mortem as I’ll show you next.
This is similar to a kickoff meeting except that it happens after a project has finished.
I spoke in depth about the topic in this guide so I’ll keep things brief here. If you need more help, check out that guide when you’re done reading this one.
With a project post mortem, your goal is to find out how your project went from start to finish, including any bumps in the road you experienced.
- Did you run on schedule?
- If there were any milestones missed, what caused the delay? Can that be prevented for the next one?
- Are there any other issues you ran into?
You should also compare how your results fared with your initial plan.
By taking this time to reflect, you’ll all but guarantee that your next project doesn’t fall victim to the same mistakes.
You also want to highlight what went well and give your team the kudos they deserve for a job well done.
This will help keep the positive momentum moving right into your next project.
Jot down everything you discover here so you can use this intel to improve your next project management plan.
Create your project management plan now
Don’t let the thought of creating a project management plan from scratch stress you out.
Follow these 8 steps and you’ll have everything you need to make your project a success starting today!
Want to brush up on your project management skills? Check out the Project Management Basics and Project Management for Team Members courses to get a solid foundation in how to better manage your projects.
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Crafting fluff-free content is Devan’s jam. When she’s not writing for GoSkills, you’ll find her outside reading, soaking up the sun, or hiking her next adventure.
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How to Write a Comprehensive Project Management Plan [+ Examples]
By Midori Nediger , Jul 10, 2020
Have you ever been part of a project that didn’t go as planned?
It doesn’t feel good.
Wasted time, wasted resources. It’s pretty frustrating for everyone involved.
That’s why it’s so important to create a comprehensive project management plan before your project gets off the ground.
In this guide, we’ll explore how to create and design a successful project management plan.
We’ll also showcase easy-to-customize templates you can create today in our Project Management Plan Maker .
START CREATING FOR FREE
What is a project management plan?
A project management plan is a formal document that defines how a project is going to be carried out. It outlines the scope, goals, budget, timeline, and deliverables of a project, and it’s essential for keeping a project on track.
You write a project plan during the project planning stage of the project life cycle , and it must be approved by stakeholders before a project can move on the execution stage.
If some of these terms are new to you, you can get up to speed with this post on project management terms .
This means your project plan must be engaging, organized, and thorough enough to gain the support of your stakeholders.
CREATE THIS PLAN TEMPLATE
Further Reading : New to project management? Read our blog post on the 4 stages of the project life cycle .
What are the parts of a project management plan?
Before you start assembling your own plan, you should be familiar with the main components of a typical project plan .
A project management plan should include the following sections:
- Executive Summary: A short description of the contents of the report
- Project Scope & Deliverables: An outline of the boundaries of the project, and a description of how the project will be broken down into measurable deliverables
- Project Schedule: A high-level view of project tasks and milestones ( Gantt charts are handy for this)
- Project Resources: The budget, personnel, and other resources required to meet project goals
- Risk and Issue Management Plan: A list of factors that could derail the project and a plan for how issues will be identified, addressed, and controlled
- Communication Management Plan: A plan for how team and stakeholder communication will be handled over the course of the project
Basically, a project plan should tell stakeholders what needs to get done, how it will get done, and when it will get done.
That said, one size doesn’t fit all. Every project management plan must be tailored to the specific industry and circumstances of the project. You can use a project management app for smoother project planning.
For example, this marketing plan looks client facing. It is tailored to sell the client on the agency:
Whereas this commercial development plan focuses on specific objectives and a detailed timeline:
With those basics out of the way, let’s get into some tips for creating a project management plan that’s as engaging as it is professional.
Further Reading : If you’re looking to create a proposal, read our in-depth business proposal guide. Then try our job proposal templates or business proposal templates .
How do you write a project plan?
1. highlight the key elements of your project plan in an executive summary .
An executive summary is a brief description of the key contents of a project plan .
I t’s usually the first thing stakeholders will read, and it should act like a Cliff’s-notes version of the whole plan.
It might touch on a project’s value proposition, goals, deliverables, and important milestones, but it has to be concise (it is a summary, after all). First, make sure you develop a proof of concept .
In this example, an executive summary can be broken into columns to contrast the existing problem with the project solution:
CREATE THIS PRESENTATION TEMPLATE
The two-column format with clear headers help break up the information, making it extremely easy to read at a glance.
Here’s another example of a project management plan executive summary. This one visually highlights key takeaways with big fonts and helpful icons:
In this case, the highlighted facts and figures are particularly easy to scan (which is sure to make your stakeholders happy).
But your executive summary won’t always be so simple.
For larger projects, your executive summary will be longer and more detailed.
This project management plan template has a text-heavy executive summary, though the bold headers and differing background colors keep it from looking overwhelming:
It’s also a good idea to divide it up into sections, with a dedicated header for each section:
Regardless of how you organize your executive summary, it should give your stakeholders a preview of what’s to come in the rest of the project management plan.
2. Plot your project schedule visually with a Gantt chart
A carefully planned project schedule is key to the success of any project. Without one, your project will likely crumble into a mess of missed deadlines, poor team management, and scope creep.
Luckily, project planning tools like Gantt charts and project timelines make creating your project schedule easy. You can visually plot each project task, add major milestones, then look for any dependencies or conflicts that you haven’t accounted for.
For example, this Gantt chart template outlines high-level project activities over the course of an entire quarter, with tasks color-coded by team:
CREATE THIS CHART TEMPLATE
A high-level roadmap like the one above is probably sufficient for your project management plan. Every team will be able to refer back to this timeline throughout the project to make sure they’re on track.
But before project kickoff, you’ll need to dig in and break down project responsibilities by individual team member, like in this Gantt chart example:
In the later execution and monitoring phases of the project, you’ll thank yourself for creating a detailed visual roadmap that you can track and adjust as things change.
You can also use a project management tool to keep your team organized.
Further Reading: Our post featuring Gantt chart examples and more tips on how to use them for project management.
3. Clarify the structure of your project team with a team org chart
One of the hardest aspects of project planning is assembling a team and aligning them to the project vision.
And aligning your team is all about communication–communicating the project goals, communicating stakeholder requests, communicating the rationale behind big decisions…the list goes on.
This is where good project documentation is crucial! You need to create documents that your team and your stakeholders can access when they have questions or need guidance.
One easy thing to document visually is the structure of your team, with an organizational chart like this one:
In an organizational chart you should include some basic information like team hierarchy and team member contact information. That way your stakeholders have all of the information they need at their fingertips.
But in addition to that, you can indicate the high-level responsibilities of each team member and the channels of communication within the team (so your team knows exactly what they’re accountable for).
Here’s another simple organizational structure template that you can use as a starting point:
Create an organizational chart with our organizational chart maker .
4. organize project risk factors in a risk breakdown structure.
A big part of project planning is identifying the factors that are likely to derail your project, and coming up with plans and process to deal with those factors. This is generally referred to as risk management .
The first step in coming up with a risk management plan is to list all of the factors at play, which is where a risk breakdown structure comes in handy. A risk breakdown structure is a hierarchical representation of project risks, organized by category.
This risk breakdown structure template, for example, shows project risk broken down into technical risk, management risk, and external risk:
Once you’ve constructed your risk breakdown structure, you’ll be ready to do a deep dive into each risk (to assess and plan for any triggers and outcomes).
Streamline your workflow with business process management software .
5. plan ahead: create project status reports to communicate progress to stakeholders.
As I mentioned earlier, communication is fundamental in any project.
But even so, something that’s often overlooked by project managers is a communication management plan–a plan for how the project team is going to communicate with project stakeholders . Too often, project communication defaults to ad-hoc emails or last-minute meetings.
You can avoid this by planning ahead. Start with a project kickoff meeting and include a project status report template as part of your communication plan.
Here’s an example of a simple project status report that you might send to stakeholders on a weekly basis:
CREATE THIS REPORT TEMPLATE
This type of report is invaluable for communicating updates on project progress. It shows what you’ve accomplished in a clear, consistent format, which can help flag issues before they arise, build trust with your stakeholders , and makes it easy to reflect on project performance once you’ve reached your goals.
You might also want to include a broader status report for bigger updates on a monthly or quarterly basis, like this one:
The above template allows you to inform stakeholders of more major updates like new budget requirements, revised completion dates, and project performance ratings.
You can even include a visualization of up-to-date project milestones, like this example below:
Want more tips on creating visuals to enhance your communications? Read our visual communication guide for businesses .
Project management plan templates
A project management plan is probably the most important deliverable your stakeholders will receive from you (besides the project itself).
It holds all of the information that stakeholders will use to determine whether your project moves forward or gets kicked to the curb.
That’s why it’s a good idea to start with a project management plan template. Using a template can help you organize your information logically and ensure it’s engaging enough to hold your stakeholders’ attention.
Construction bid proposal template
Your construction bid proposal is probably competing against several other bidders. So, it’s important to get it right.
Start with a meticulous project overview, like in the second page of this template:
Though you may think this project will be similar to others you’ve done in the past, it’s important to nail the details.
This will also help you understand the scope of work so you can estimate costs properly and arrive at a quote that’s neither too high or low. Ontario Construction News has great advice on this process.
Simple project management plan template
This simple project management plan template that clearly lays out all of the information your stakeholders will need:
Simple project management communication plan template
A key part of project management is making sure everyone’s in the loop. A project communication plan ensures everyone knows how, where, who and when the team will communicate during the course of the project.
The key is to figure out what kind of communications is valuable to stakeholders and what is simply overwhelming and won’t lead to better decisions.
This template clearly outlines all of these factors to help manage expectations and eliminate confusion about what will get communicated and when:
Commercial development project plan template
The below project management plan template is simple and minimal, but still uses a unique layout and simple visuals to create an easy-to-read, scannable project overview.
This template is perfect for building or construction management , or any technical projects:
When picking a project plan template, look for one that’s flexible enough to accommodate any changes your stakeholders might request before they’ll approve the project. You never know what might change in the early planning stages of the project! You can also use project management tools to help you with your planning!
The takeaway: project plan best practices
- Use headers, columns, and highlights to make your executive summary easy to read
- Plot your project schedule with a Gantt chart (with tasks color-coded by department or team member)
- Use visuals like organizational charts and risk breakdown structures to communicate across your team and with stakeholders
- Pick a flexible template that you can update to align with stakeholder requests
CREATE A PROJECT PLAN
How to create a project management plan that actually works (Template included)
Your project management plan is the map that’s going to guide you through your project from beginning to end. Here’s how to make a great one that keeps you on track (even when things get weird).
You’ve been honing your project management skills . You’ve been reading up on the various PM methodologies . Maybe you’ve even gotten a project management certification somewhere along the way.
And now that you’ve successfully written a project charter and identified your key stakeholders, you’re ready to turn it all into a full-blown project management plan that’s going to knock your project’s socks off.
This is where all of your research and preparation pays off in the form of a definitive project plan document that you’ll use to guide your project from beginning to end.
But what is a project management plan used for? Why is it so important? And what are the core project management plan components you need to include for it to be a success?
Here’s how to make a project plan that actually works.
What is a project management plan used for?
Your project plan document is where you go deep on the ins, outs, overs, and unders of your project.
Whereas the project charter is the high-level vision for your project, your project management plan is where you break this vision down into the actual day-to-day execution of your project, covering everything you need to do to reach your project goals.
A detailed project plan will plot out everything from timelines to budget, resourcing to deliverables, and more, giving you a blueprint of what needs to be done (and when) that you can use to guide — and assess — your project.
The importance of project management planning
Behind every great project, there’s a heck of a lot of preparation.
As a project manager , you’ll have tons of things to keep track of at any given stage. Your project plan helps you to take out the guesswork by showing you exactly what you need to be focusing on each step of the way; where your resources and attention should be going; and what you need to be looking out for to ensure things don’t become overdue or over budget.
The work you do upfront in creating a project plan will stand to you throughout the lifecycle of the project , allowing you to direct your efforts 100% on delivering results, not scrambling to figure out what you should be doing next.
Here are 5 benefits that highlight the importance of project management planning.
It gives your project a baseline to work with
Working from the approved project charter, your project plan will map out the agreed-upon scope , timeline, and budget for your project in more detail.
Once you have these baselines decided, defined, and approved by the project sponsor, you’ll be able to measure the actual execution of your project against the projected progress.
This is super helpful because it means that no matter which stage of your project you’re at, you can quickly gauge whether you’re delivering the way you planned — and what you need to do to course-correct if you’re not.
It creates project alignment (and removes confusion)
No alarms and no surprises: with your project laid out in a detailed project plan, everyone knows what to expect and when.
While your project charter brings you, your stakeholders, and the project team into general alignment, your detailed project plan will ensure there’s no room for error or uncertainty by mapping out the exact due dates and deliverables, so everyone can prepare accordingly.
It fully outlines the scope of the project
That alignment has another related benefit, too: avoiding scope creep .
When your stakeholders’ expectations and all agreed deliverables are clearly laid out in the project plan document, it’s easier to spot when things are out of scope.
And just as importantly, it makes it easier to address them, too. That’s because you have a written document or project planning sheet that you can refer back to in discussions, so everyone can be reminded of what they originally agreed to and there’s no ambiguity about what’s in (or out of) the purview of the project.
It allows for better resourced project management
Once you start to break down the project’s work into manageable chunks like deliverables, milestones, and tasks, it becomes much easier to see what kind of resources you’ll actually need in order to get it done.
Again, while you may have started to outline this in your project charter at a very high level, your project plan is where you get really granular about how you’re planning to use the resources at your disposal.
(Pro tip: for a really great project plan, you’ll also want to factor in some wiggle room for when things inevitably change and you have to re-optimize your resources on the fly.)
It builds confidence in your project
Having a detailed project plan helps to reassure your project sponsor, your stakeholders, and your project team (and let’s be honest, maybe yourself if you’re having a particularly bad day) of where you’re going and why.
Your project plan document builds confidence in your leadership as a project manager, because it allows everyone to see how all of the work comes together to advance the project’s — and by extension, the organization’s — goals .
5 things you need to know before writing a project plan
Sound good? Ready to get down to business? Before you dive in to writing a project plan, here are the 5 things you need to ensure you’ve identified.
1. Identify the baselines for your project
Before you begin writing a project plan, you need to make sure you have the basics down. Start by identifying the baselines for the project’s scope, schedule and cost, as the rest of your project planning will need to fit in around those constraints.
As mentioned above, these baselines should already be roughly outlined in your project charter — but here’s where you really start to map them out and create accurate estimates. And the more detailed, the better, because these are what you’ll be using for comparison to measure how your project performs.
2. Identify your project dependencies
Or in other words, ask yourself: what needs to happen before this other thing can happen? Identifying your project dependencies at the outset of your project means you can plan your timelines more efficiently, spot potential blockers, and ensure that you avoid unnecessary delays.
3. Identify project stakeholders
You’ll already have done the groundwork for this in your stakeholder analysis, but as you flesh out your project management plan and think through the phases of your project in more detail, you’ll likely start to find more project stakeholders at each phase.
Now is also a good time to go deeper on which stakeholders need to be informed and involved at which stages, for a more comprehensive stakeholder management plan you can use at each phase of your project.
4. Identify project milestones
What are the key markers of your project’s progress? It can be a concrete deliverable, the end of a phase in a stage-gate process — whatever milestones make sense to you, breaking your project down into manageable chunks, each with a defined goal, helps to keep the team motivated, allows you to celebrate each achievement, and signposts how the overall progress is coming along. Learn more about using Milestones here .
5. Identify who’s responsible for what
Once you start to get a big-picture understanding of the work that’s needed and the resources you have to complete it, you can start deciding who should do what. Giving each item an owner is essential to getting things done. No more “oh, was I supposed to do that?” — once you identify who’s responsible for what, you can ensure accountability and transparency.
The 5 Stages of Team Development
All teams develop according to some natural patterns and using that knowledge, you can offer some guidance to build the kind of team that communicates well and finds better ways to collaborate and achieve the goals you’ve established. Here’s what you need to know.
How to make a project plan
1. start with a high level project plan template.
What does a project plan look like in your organization? When you’re creating a project plan, start by drawing on any existing materials you can use to guide you, like project plan samples or project plan templates.
Whether your organization provides you with a high level project plan template, a project planning form, project plan samples, or a project planning calendar, leverage any organizational process assets you can.
Don’t have a project plan template available? Make your own , and use it for all future projects to save time and replicate your successes.
Project management template
Save time on setup without sacrificing attention to detail. With our project management template, you can quickly create project management plans that help you complete your project on time and on budget.
2. Then tailor it to match your project type
A project plan template or sample project is a great way to get started with your planning, but don’t forget to choose the right project plan type for your specific project.
Your project plan should be tailored to your particular project type, team type, and needs. For example, an IT project plan for a rollout of new equipment will probably look different from a sample agile project plan , both of which will probably look different from more overarching strategic project planning.
Use all the features at your disposal, from task lists to Gantt charts, to make sure that your project plan works for you.
3. Get input from clients, project stakeholders and team members
Writing your project plan in a vacuum will make it harder to get buy-in when it matters.
Involving your stakeholders when you’re creating a project plan helps them to feel more represented in the process, and sets the tone for a collaborative working environment that will stand to you throughout the project.
So whether it’s a planning meeting, brainstorming session, or one-to-one interviews, make sure you get input from the project’s key players when you’re developing a project plan.
And as an added bonus? This is also a great opportunity for you as the project manager to continue growing the relationships you started building back in the project charter and stakeholder analysis phases.
4. Incorporate any other project management planning you’ve done
Your project management plan should be informed by all the other project planning you’ve done so far: not only the outcomes of the project planning steps 1-5 above, but all the research you’ve done before reaching this stage.
According to the Project Management Institute’s Project Management Body of Knowledge Guide and Standards, some other plans to include as part of your project management plan are:
Scope management plan
Requirements management plan
Schedule management plan
Cost management plan
Quality management plan
Resource management plan
Communications management plan
Risk management plan
Procurement management plan
Stakeholder engagement plan
While the PMBOK recommends having these 10 plans as standard, you might find that different projects require different approaches.
Nonetheless, even if you don’t have a comprehensive document for each one, it’s good to cover each of these bases at some stage of your PM planning so you’re prepared.
You might also want to include some or all of the following:
Change management plan
Configuration management plan
Performance measurement baseline
Project life cycle
Development approach (e.g. predictive, iterative, agile, hybrid)
If you have these documents already, use them to guide your planning. You can also include them in an appendix to your project management plan so they’re always close to hand.
5. Put your project management plan somewhere central
Just like your project charter, your project management plan should live somewhere central where everyone — stakeholders, the project team, management, clients — can access it.
Teamwork Spaces is great for storing all of your important project planning documents in a way that makes them intuitive and enjoyable to read. Mark essential SOPs or processes as Required Reading to ensure that essential info actually gets read.
And if someone has a question that they can’t find the answer to? Readers can leave comments on individual spaces to ask for clarification or leave an update.
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Use a project management tool to turn your project management plan into a plan of action
Once you’ve documented your project management plan, bring it to life with a project management tool that will help you to stay on track, keep your team accountable, and promote transparency.
Here are 3 ways you can use Teamwork to supercharge your project management plan.
Add your supporting documentation to Teamwork Spaces
Use the Teamwork and Teamwork Spaces integration to link a project in Teamwork with a space in Teamwork Spaces, so your important project documents are only ever a click away.
Some documents you might want to add in addition to your project charter and project management plan include:
Change management plans
SOPs for important project processes
List of stakeholders and their roles
Outline of approval processes
Any other best practices documentation or supporting info as necessary
You can even embed task lists into your pages and mark tasks as complete right from Teamwork Spaces, so you can keep work flowing without even needing to switch tabs.
Start adding your Milestones
Break down your work into Milestones and task lists that are going to help you reach them. With Teamwork, you can assign an owner to each Milestone, map out your Milestone due dates and see them represented in the project calendar, and even get a full change history for milestones so you can track any edits.
Visualize your task dependencies with a Gantt chart
Gantt chart-style views are a useful way to get a visual representation of your tasks and their dependencies, allowing for better scheduling and resourcing. In Teamwork, you can drag and drop to quickly rearrange your project schedule , without throwing everything out of order or straying off-plan.
Remember: software should support the way you work, not dictate it. So regardless of methodology or team type, create a project plan that works for you and your team — and find a tool that helps you put it into action.
Use our project plan template
Now that you know how to create a project management plan that actually works, you’re ready to implement using our team management software . To help you get up and running quickly, we’ve created a ready to use project plan template . Our project template will help you quickly create project plans that ensure all of your projects are completed on time and on budget
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What is Project Management?
Feasibility Study and Its Importance in Project Management
Project scope management and its importance in 2023, become a project management expert with umass amherst, financial risk and its types, what is a project management plan and how to create one.
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Many professionals think of a Project Management Plan as a Gantt chart or a Schedule . Professionals who carry this misconception into the PMP® certification exam are the least likely ones to pass the exam. As you will see in this article, a Project Management Plan is a document that defines how a project is executed, monitored, and controlled; it is much more than a schedule chart. A solid understanding of the project plan can pay rich dividends throughout your preparation for the PMP® certification exam , and also help in managing projects.
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What Is a Project Management Plan?
The Project manager creates the project management plan following inputs from the project team and the key stakeholders. A Project management plan is a formal, approved document that defines how the project is executed, monitored, and controlled. It may be a summary or a detailed document and may include baselines, subsidiary management plans, and other planning documents. This document is used to define the approach the project team takes to deliver the intended project management scope of the project.
As the work proceeds, the performance of the project is measured against the performance measurement baseline included in the project management plan. The scope baseline, schedule baseline, and cost baseline are collectively referred to as the performance measurement baseline. If there is a deviation from the baseline while the work is being done, the project manager deals with them by making adjustments to correct the deviation. If these adjustments fail to correct the deviations, then formal change requests to the baselines become necessary.
Project managers spend a substantial amount of time ensuring baselines are achieved, ensuring the project sponsor and the organization get the full benefits of their projects. Besides proper planning, a project manager’s abilities also lie in efficiently controlling the project and ensuring project deliverables are on time—and that the project is completed per the project management plan.
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What Is a Project Management Plan Used For?
There are no shortcuts to a thorough understanding of your project than through a well-written, well-structured project plan document.
When compared to the project charter, which is a high-level strategy for the program, your project management plan breaks down that high-level perspective into the practical day-to-day operation of your project, addressing everything you must accomplish in order to achieve your project objectives.
Everything from timeframes to budgets , resources to deliverables, and more will be plotted out in a complete project plan, providing you with a roadmap of what needs fixing that you could use to manage and analyze your project.
What are the Components of a Project Management Plan?
A project management plan is a collection of baselines and subsidiary plans that include:
- Baselines for scope, schedule, and cost
- Management plans for scope, schedule, cost, quality, human resources, communications, risk, and procurement
- Requirement management plan
- Change management plan
- Configuration management plan
- Process improvement plan
The Importance of Project Management Planning
There is a tremendous amount of planning that goes into any successful project. When you're a project manager, you'll have a lot to remember at all times. As a result of your project plan, you will know precisely what to concentrate on at each stage of the project, where to allocate resources and time, as well as what to watch out for in case things run over schedule or over budget.
In order to get the most out of a project, you need to put in a lot of effort upfront to create a project plan that will serve you well throughout the project's lifespan. Here are five reasons why project management planning is essential.
It Serves as a Starting Point for Your Project
Your project plan, based on the agreed-upon scope, timeframe, and budget, will be developed in accordance with the authorized project charter. Having these baselines in place, specified, and authorized by the project owner will allow you to compare the actual progress of your project to how it was expected to be achieved.
This is very beneficial since it allows you to rapidly assess whether or not your project is progressing according to plan and, if it isn't, what needs to be done to fix the situation.
The Project Is More Organized
There are no alarms or surprises when your project is written out in a clear project plan. To make sure there is no space for misunderstanding or miscommunication, your thorough project plan will lay out all of the deadlines and deliverables in great detail so that everyone involved is aware of exactly what is expected of them.
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It Lays Down the Project’s Scope in Detail
Another advantage of this alignment is that it prevents scope creep. When the project plan document clearly defines the stakeholder's expectations and all agreed-upon deliverables, it's easy to identify when anything is out of scope.
In addition, it makes it simpler to deal with these issues. As a result, everyone can be persuaded of what they initially committed to, and there is no doubt about what is (or isn't) within the scope of the project, owing to a written contract or project planning sheet.
It Provides for More Efficient Project Management
Breaking down the project's work into digestible parts like deliverables, goals, or tasks makes it much simpler to figure out what resources you'll need to get it done.
Once again, you may have begun to explain this in the scope statement at a basic level, but your project management plan would be where you become more specific about how you're going to utilize the resources you have available.
It Instills Confidence in Your Endeavor
Project sponsors, stakeholders, and the project team (and, if you're feeling really down, even yourself) might be comforted by knowing where you're heading and why.
When you have a project plan document, everyone can understand how your expertise as a project manager is advancing the project's and the organization's objectives in unambiguous terms.
Things You Need to Know Before Writing a Project Plan
You need to know these five things before you begin developing a project plan.
Determine the Project’s Baselines
The first step in creating a project strategy is to ensure you understand the fundamentals. Start with establishing the project's scope, timeline, and cost baselines, since these restrictions will dictate the remainder of your project planning.
Aside from the project charter, here is the place where you truly begin to map out these baselines and establish reliable estimations. Because you'll be comparing them to other projects to see how well yours does, be as specific as possible.
Determine the Repercussions of Your Project’s Failure to Meet Its Goals
Alternatively, you may ask yourself: what must happen first in order for the next step to be possible? Establishing your project's dependencies early on allows you to better manage your timetables, identify possible roadblocks, and minimize delays.
Select Key Players in the Undertaking
There are likely to be additional project stakeholders as you go through the project management plan as well as go through each step in more depth than you identified during your stakeholder analysis.
During this time, you should also consider which stakeholders have to be informed and engaged at which stages of the project in order to create a more thorough stakeholder management plan.
Identify the Project’s Key Milestones
What are the most important signs that your project is moving forward? Your project may be broken down into a series of smaller, more manageable parts, each with a clearly stated objective. This keeps the team engaged, enables you to celebrate your successes, and shows how the overall development is moving along.
Establish the Responsibilities of Everyone Involved in the Situation
With a clear picture of the labor and resources required, you can begin choosing who should be doing what. Each item must have a designated owner to ensure that it is completed.
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Creating a Project Management Plan
As per the PMBOK® Guide , the project management plan is an output of the Develop Project Management Plan process in the Project Integration Management Knowledge Area.
The Project management plan is not created all at once. It is progressively elaborated, which means it is developed, refined, revisited, and updated. Since the project management plan integrates all the knowledge area management plans into a cohesive whole, it needs to be assembled after all the component plans have been created.
Most of the components of the project management plan are created in various processes defined in the PMBOK® Guide; for instance, the Communications Management Plan is developed in the Plan communications process.
However, the Schedule Management Plan, Cost Management Plan, and Scope Management Plan are created in the Develop Project Management Plan process. When a project charter is created in the initiating process group, it contains a summary of scope, budget, and a summary (milestone) schedule.
Since you already have these things at the time you begin developing the project plan, you can go ahead and develop the scope management plan, cost management plan, and schedule management plan. Later, when you perform the Plan Scope, Estimate Costs, and Develop Schedule processes, you can revise the components of the project plan with more detail to reflect a deeper understanding of the project.
How to Create a Project Management Plan? [ Explained in 6 Steps]
Step 1 - create a high-level template for project planning.
When it comes to your company, what does a project plan appear like? Starting with any existing resources that you can use as a reference, such as project plan examples or project plan templates, is a good place to start when developing a project strategy.
Make use of whatever resources your company makes available, such as a high-level template for planning projects, a project planning worksheet, model plans, or a calendar for preparing projects
Step 2 - Define Your Project Objective
There are many free templates and examples available to lend a helping hand with your preparation, but remember to choose the proper one for your project type when using one.
Your project management plan should be personalized to your project type, workforce type, and specific demands. IT project plans for new equipment rollouts, for example, are likely to vary from agile project plans, which in turn are likely to differ from more comprehensive strategic project plans.
Gantt charts, task lists, and other project management elements may help you ensure that your plan is effective.
Step 3 - Identify All Stakeholders
Once your project outline is ready, you have to identify the key stakeholders in the project success. Hence, it is important to collect all your requirements. Once you have collected this information, you need to define the scope of the project for each stakeholder and mention clear deliverables. To ace this step of project management good communication skills are required.
Step 4 - Get Feedback From Your Customers, Project Stakeholders, and Team Members
A strategy written in a vacuum is less likely to acquire the support it needs when the time comes. Your stakeholders will feel more involved in the project planning process if you include them, and it sets the stage for an integrated team atmosphere that will benefit your project.
Make sure you gather feedback from the project's leading characters when you establish a project plan, whether it's a planning meeting, a brainstorming session, or a one-on-one interview. Also, as an additional perk? It's an excellent chance for you to continue establishing connections with key stakeholders that you began developing throughout the stakeholder and project charter and analysis.
Step 5 - Any Previous Project Management Planning You’ve Done Should Be Included
If you've already completed stages 1-5 of project planning, you should include the results of those steps into your project management plan, as well as any research you've done up to this point.
The Project Management Institute's Project Management Body of Knowledge Guide and Standards recommend the following strategies for your project management plan:
- Plan for scope management
- Plan for the management of requirements
- A strategy for time management
- A cost-cutting strategy
- Plan for quality control
- A strategy for managing resources
- A strategy for managing communications.
- A strategy for risk management
- The procurement strategy
- Stakeholder outreach strategy
While the PMBOK suggests implementing these 10 strategies as a baseline, you may discover that various projects need different methods.
Each of these areas should be covered at some point in your project management planning, even if they aren't comprehensively documented.
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Step 6 - Choose a Central Location for Your Project Management Strategy
Your project management plan, including your project charter, should be kept centrally so that all parties involved, including stakeholders, the team members, management, and clients, can easily access it.
How to Turn Your Project Management Plan Into a Plan of Action
Using a project management tool, you can bring your defined project management strategy to life, ensuring that you remain on schedule, hold your team responsible, and promote openness throughout the project.
Project Management Plan Approval
Since the project management plan is a formal document that is used to manage the execution of the project , it must receive formal approval. Who grants the approval for the project management plan depends on the organizational structure and a number of other factors.
Usually, the customer or the senior management of an organization does not approve the project management plan document. The customer signs the contract but often leaves the internal workings of the organization delivering the project. Typically the project plan is approved by the project manager, project sponsor, or the functional managers who provide the resources for the project.
It becomes less difficult for a project manager to get the project management plan approved, if:
- All the stakeholders are identified along with and their requirements and objectives.
- The project manager handles conflicting priorities in advance.
How Is Project Management Different From Financial Management?
Project Management involves all the practices required for managing a project to maintain its activities from its initiation till its termination, ensuring that the organizational goals and stakeholder demands are met.
Financial Management is all about managing resources and financial operations to increase profit while achieving the organization’s and stakeholder’s objectives as soon as possible in a satisfactory manner.
1. How can I write a project management plan?
Writing a project management plan requires you to identify your project baselines. Write an executive summary and create your timeline/ team charts. Next, you will have to perform and write a risk assessment. Note down your communications and resource sub plans. Lastly, present your project management plan to the stakeholders. Collect their insights, feedback, and suggestions. You must try to incorporate the relevant ones before finalizing your plan.
2. What are the six parts of a project management plan?
A project management plan comprises an executive summary, Gantt chart/ timeline, stakeholder or team chart, risk assessment, communication sub-plan, and resource sub-plan.
3. What is the purpose of a project management plan?
With all the details and necessary steps laid, a project management plan reduces confusion, boosts confidence, and prevents obstacles during project execution. It provides a clear outline and value proposition, assigning essential roles, identifying and preventing risks, outlining milestones, and ensuring clear communication and availability of essential resources.
4. What is project management methodology?
A project management methodology comprises a set of principles, processes, and values that gauge how a team will complete a project. It structures several factors that would influence the project competition, including planning, design and documentation, communication methods within and outside of the team, timelines, and assessment modes.
5. How can project planning software help plan projects?
Project planning software lends a helping hand and simplifies project planning from the beginning to the end. It supplies much-needed project management features and transparency in the planning and execution. It facilitates effective communication among and within teams, helps track key performance factors, store data in a central location, generate reports, and overcome any other project management challenges.
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What Is A Project Management Plan And How To Create One
Updated: Nov 17, 2022, 11:12am
Table of Contents
What is a project management plan, 6 parts of a project management plan, before you create a plan, how to create a project management plan in 7 steps, bottom line, frequently asked questions (faqs).
A project management plan offers a blueprint to stakeholders and end-users surrounding the execution of an upcoming project. While it takes time to put it together, the process is worth it. It helps to reduce risks, create buy-in, gather your team’s expertise, align communication and ensure resource availability. This guide outlines what a project management plan is and its benefits, and then offers an easy step-by-step guide on how to create one.
A project management plan is a set of documents that outline the how, when and what-ifs of a project’s execution. It overviews the project’s value proposition, execution steps, resources, communication tools and protocols, risks, stakeholders (and their roles) and the deliverables involved in a project’s completion. Its documents include an executive summary, Gantt and team charts, risk assessment and communication- and resource-management subplans.
What Is a Project Management Plan Used For?
A project management plan serves as a blueprint or roadmap to the ultimate success of your project. It does so by aligning talent, buy-in, manpower, resources, risk management and high-quality communication around your plan. It also ensures everyone knows their responsibilities, which tasks are involved and when deadlines are so the project stays on track for quality on-time completion.
Here is a closer look at project management plan use cases:
- Buy-in . Your plan ensures all stakeholders are on board, so that they’re prepared to be productive.
- Expertise. A plan helps to ensure you have enough people to expertly own the activities needed to complete the project.
- Risk management. Putting together your plan helps you to assess the risks that may come up through the trajectory of project execution and how to prevent or mitigate them.
- Communication and collaboration. Your planning process ensures poor communication does not negatively impact the project’s outcome. It does so by getting everyone on the same page regarding communication tools, schedules, preferences and protocols.
- Milestones. As you plan your project, you ensure your team agrees on the necessary milestones to complete it successfully. Doing so ensures your team is ready to be productive instantly come project initiation and that scope creep does not impact the project negatively.
- Resource management. Through your planning process, you assess the resources needed to complete the project and their availability. Resources may include funds and raw materials, for example. Doing so ensures resource availability and that insufficient resources do not derail or stop the project altogether.
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A project management plan should include an executive summary, timeline or Gantt chart, resource management subplan, risk assessment, communication subplan and team chart. Here is an overview of each of these parts:
- Executive summary. An executive summary provides an overview of the project’s value proposition, the problem it addresses and its resolution, budget breakdown, milestones and deliverables.
- Timeline or Gantt chart. Many project management plans include a Gantt chart that shows both the dates the project begins and ends and all start and end dates for the milestones that lead to the completion of the project. It should also point out any dependent and independent activities.
- Risk assessment. A risk assessment should list all of the potential obstacles that could impact the completion of the project or the quality of its deliverables negatively. It also outlines the triggers that could cause these risks and how the risks can be mitigated or avoided altogether.
- Team chart. The team chart shows all the people who will be involved in completing the project, their roles and their communication preferences.
- Communication subplan. This subplan offers an overview of what tools will be used for communication, the communication assets and schedules that will be used to keep the project progressing and on track, communication protocols stakeholders should follow and team members’ communication preferences.
- Resource management subplan. This subplan should list what resources may be needed to complete the project. Essential resources may include raw materials, digital tools and funding. It should then offer a breakdown of what materials will be needed for each milestone, a way to ensure their availability and ways to track resources throughout project execution.
Before you begin writing your plan, take a few minutes to prepare. Doing so may involve defining what is at stake should the project not go well, identifying the milestones needed for successful completion, selecting key talent to complete your project, selecting and signing up for the tools that will make the plan creation process easy and efficient and defining the end beneficiary of your project. Below is a closer look at each of these preparation steps.
Failure Risk Assessment
Defining what would happen if the project were not completed successfully can guide you later as you motivate your execution team and formulate your plan’s and your project’s value proposition. This perspective tells all stakeholders how important their roles are.
One way to ensure you select the proper team members for plan creation and execution is to define the milestones for which they will be responsible. Once you have identified the milestones, you can identify the needed expertise and then the talent that holds that expertise.
As you write your plan, it is essential to gather expertise from the team members who will execute it. Doing so could mean the success or failure of your project. Identifying these stakeholders now means you can get them involved sooner for higher collective knowledge during the planning process.
When planning your project, you will need to use charts, graphics and reports to record the necessary information. Graphic design tools like Canva and project management software like monday.com or Wrike can help.
Beneficiary or End-user Identification
Nothing can set you up for success in project completion like understanding what the end-user or project beneficiary needs in the final deliverable. Understanding this requires an understanding of that end-user or beneficiary. Take some time to listen to their needs, wants and hopes surrounding your project before beginning to plan a project that will impact and, hopefully, delight them ultimately.
To create a project management plan, first put together a high overview of the basics of your project, including the project’s scope, schedule and budget. Next, build on those basics to write an executive summary. Then, add a project timeline, risk assessment, stakeholder chart, communication plan and resource management plan to your executive summary. Lastly, gather and incorporate stakeholders’ insights to perfect and create buy-in for your plan.
1. Identify Baselines for Your Project
Your project’s baselines should first focus on the project’s scope, then the project’s schedule and, finally, its budget. The result should be a high overview that will inform the rest of your planning process. To complete this step, answer the following questions:
- What is a summary of the project’s deliverables, including the expected features in order of priority?
- What important milestones will help us complete this project?
- What should the project not focus on? (set some scope boundaries)
- When is the project scheduled to begin?
- When should the project be complete?
- How much do we have to spend on this project? If it is a project that needs to be completed for a client, what budget do we have to spend on it while still making a set profit margin?
2. Write an Executive Summary
An executive summary should include a definition of your project, your project’s value proposition, including the problem your project addresses and its solution, milestones and their deliverables, scope limits―and the consequences for changing these limits―goals and financial breakdown. Use the answers to the questions posed in step one to put together your executive summary.
As the face of your project before stakeholders, your executive summary should be visually appealing and succinct. Columns and visuals should break it up to make it easy to read quickly. One great tool for creating an attractive and succinct summary is a Canva executive summary template. You can customize a template to match your brand and add your content, then either download your executive summary or share it in link form.
To begin, sign up for Canva for free, then use the search box titled “What will you design?” for “executive summary” and press “enter.” Click the appropriate template for your purposes and brand, then use the tools on the left-hand side of the enlarged template to customize its colors, text and images. Add pages by clicking the plus sign at the top right-hand corner of the template and proceed to add text and customizations to complete your summary.
3. Plot Your Project’s Timeline
The best way to plot your project’s timeline is with a Gantt chart. A Gantt chart is a visual representation of what activities you plan to begin and complete and when. These activities are usually small chunks or milestones of your completed project. They also formulate the scope of your project, helping to reduce scope creep later on. Gantt charts are often the easiest to use to plot your timeline.
It is important to note expected dependencies on your Gantt chart. A dependency happens when one activity on a timeline must be completed before team members can go on to the next one. For example, a prototype needs to be completed before a focus group analysis of the prototype can take place. Thus, these two activities are dependent. Also note independent activities that can be completed even as other activities are underway, thereby saving time.
Pro tip: An easy way to note dependencies and independent activities is via color-coding. Arrows drawn on your Gantt chart can also help to pinpoint dependencies.
While Canva does offer Gantt charts to plot your project’s timeline, there are also platforms that specialize in producing Gantt chart software . Not only can this software help you put together your Gantt chart, but it can then help you stay on track with its timeline and avoid scope creep once your project begins via task descriptions and automations. If paying for such a service isn’t in your project’s budget, you can also create a Gantt chart in Excel or Google Sheets.
Gantt chart from monday.com
4. Define Stakeholder Roles
With your project activities recorded on your timeline, define who will be responsible for each activity. Your plan serves as a guiding star to all stakeholders involved in your project, so it’s best to record responsible parties in an intuitive chart. Create a project team chart to show who will be involved in completing the project and for which activities each is responsible. For collaboration ease, also note who each person is accountable to and their contact information.
Canva offers organizational or team chart templates you can use to customize for the needs of your project. Search “organizational chart” using the search bar in your Canva account. Click the chart that best suits your project and brand needs. Then, use the design menu to upload pictures of your team members, customize colors and replace template text to offer the data your stakeholders need for easy collaboration during the life of your project.
An example of a Canva organizational chart template to be adapted to create a project team chart.
5. Perform a Risk Assessment
Your risk assessment should begin with a list of obstacles that could impact your team’s ability to complete the project on time negatively at all and with the desired quality. It should then create a plan for each risk by addressing what might trigger the risk, steps that lend to risk prevention and how to mitigate a risk should it happen. Finally, it should assign stakeholders to manage risk triggers, prevention and mitigation. Some teams use a SWOT analysis to help identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in this stage.
To dive into each risk, answer the following questions:
- What could happen that would negatively impact the project?
- At what point in the project timeline is this risk most likely to happen?
- How likely is the risk to happen?
- What events or factors would trigger this risk?
- What steps can be taken to reduce the chances of this risk taking place? How can we avoid this trigger or these triggers?
- What would be the expected outcome should the risk happen anyway?
- How could we mitigate a negative outcome should the risk take place?
- Who would be the best person to manage each risk’s triggers, prevention or mitigation?
As you assigned responsible parties for each project activity, you likely selected people who had expertise in the areas in which their assigned activities fall. For example, if you assigned the graphic design of a marketing project to a team member, that person is likely a graphic designer. Their expertise is invaluable in assessing graphic design risks and their prevention and mitigation steps. Lean on your team for this expertise, and then implement their suggestions.
6. Create Key Subplans
Two key subplans you should include in your project management plan are a resource and communications management plan. Your resource sub plan should list what resources are needed to complete your project and their availability. Your communications plan should include how your team will communicate one-on-one and team-wide.
Resource Management Plan
A resource subplan can be completed in project management software. You can create columns for estimated expenses and other needed resources broken down by milestones, such as raw products and talent. Other customizable resource reports are available within the software and automatically kept up to date. Wrike, for example, offers customizable reports where you can track resource availability and export reports to include in your plan.
An example of Wrike’s customizable resource reports
Communications Management Plan
While it may seem inconsequential compared to your risk assessment and resource plan, poor communication is the primary reason most projects experience scope gaps and project failure, according to a PMI study . Poor communication can, therefore, derail all your other planning efforts.
As such, your communications management plan should be detailed and address what, when and how information will be shared during your project. Details should focus on what needs to be communicated and at what intervals during the project execution, stakeholders’ communication preferences, a communication schedule for virtual meetings or phone calls that occur at planned intervals, who will review tasks, to whom task completions should be reported and what platforms or tools should be used for communication purposes.
Pro tip: For best results, look at the communication tools available in your project management software. Alternatively, consider what communication-tool integrations it offers. For example, most project management software offer integrations with Slack. Using available tools within your software will allow ease of collaboration and the communication visibility your team needs to stay on the same page and on track.
7. Gather and Incorporate Feedback From Stakeholders
The team you have chosen to own the activities on your project timeline are uniquely capable of doing so. As such, they are likely to have recommendations you might not think about to make your project more successful. Moreover, if their insights are incorporated into the plan, they are more likely to enthusiastically follow it. So, get your team together and go over the details of your plan. Learn from them and incorporate their insights.
In addition, present your plan to the end-user or client for whom you are executing the project. Make sure they agree to the project scope and its deliverables. Make their preferred changes now so you don’t have to make them later. Discuss what will happen if they change their minds later―extra fees, for example―so that scope creep does not impact your project’s successful execution, on-time completion or quality final deliverable negatively.
Creating a project management plan is the first critical step to ensuring a quality project execution and completion. Without it, you risk project derailment, a blown budget, an unrealized value proposition and a potentially frustrated end-user. With it, you enjoy buy-in, resource availability, budget adherence, a quality and expertly-driven final deliverable and a delighted end-user. We hope this guide sets you on a trajectory to enjoy all of these benefits.
What are the six parts of a project management plan?
At minimum, a project management plan includes an executive summary, timeline or Gantt chart, stakeholder or team chart, risk assessment, communications subplan and resource subplan.
How do I write a project management plan?
To write a project management plan, begin by identifying your project baselines, then write an executive summary, create your timeline and team charts, perform and write a risk assessment and write your communications and resource subplans. Finally, present your plan to all involved stakeholders to gather and incorporate their insights, suggestions and feedback, and then finalize agreement around your plan.
What is the main purpose of a project management plan?
A project management plan lays out the details and steps necessary to reduce confusion, create confidence and prevent obstacles and risks during project execution. It does so by providing a clear outline and value proposition of the project, assigning essential roles, outlining milestones and the final deliverable, identifying and taking steps to prevent risks, ensuring clear communication guidelines and ensuring the availability of essential resources.
What is project management methodology?
A project management methodology is a set of principles, values and processes that determine how a team will complete a project. It dictates factors such as level of planning, design and documentation; methods of communication within and outside of the project team; timelines; and modes of assessment.
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How to Write a Project Management Plan (& Free Templates)
Written by: Brian Nuckols
Today, we’ll cover the crucial elements and steps you need to take when creating a project management plan. We've also included 15 project plan templates you can use right away. The good news is you can download them for free, edit them online, and share them with your team .
Let's start with some basic information about project management plans, but feel free to jump ahead to the templates using the table of contents below.
Here’s a short selection of 8 easy-to-edit project management templates you can edit, share and download with Visme. View more templates below:
Table of Contents
What is a project management plan, what is included in a project management plan.
How to Create a Project Plan in 4 Simple Steps
15 Project Management Plan Templates to Choose From
A project management plan is a formalized document that outlines a project from beginning to end. Often, a project management plan includes a methodology for risk management , a cost management section and a way to track your schedule and due dates.
Project management plans are crucial for your change management efforts and to keep your project schedule on track.
Tools like Visme can help you design effective project management plans that communicate metrics to key stakeholders and team members.
A good project management planning template will cover all the necessary information that's required to successfully get the project off the ground. This includes what needs to be done, when and how it's going to be done and who is responsible for each task involved.
Here are the major sections to include in your project management plan.
Element #1: Executive Summary
The first part of the project to cover is the executive summary . An executive summary is simply a short paragraph outlining the critical contents of the report, which you can use to set the tone for your project plan.
Element #2: Project Scope & Deliverables
The next section of the project management plan is the project scope and deliverables. The project scope is a break down of all the work that needs to be done to achieve the project goals.
This section is particularly useful for project managers to track the actual progress of the project and limit unnecessary scope creep.
Element #3: Project Schedule
The third aspect of your project is the project schedule. Making a schedule is a critical component in the planning phase because it will help you and the rest of your team stay on track throughout the project.
Element #4: Project Resources
The next section of a project management outline is the project resources section. This section outlines everything you need to successfully complete the entire project, from the necessary people and budget to tools and equipment.
Element #5: Risk Management Plan
The fifth section of your project management plan includes your protocol regarding risk. You may want to have a list of potential mishaps or obstacles that may get in your way.
Creating a risk management plan will help you prepare for and address project risks as they come up.
Element #6: Communication Management Plan
Lastly, you will need to include a communication plan. This section will determine how team members communicate with each other throughout the project life cycle.
Your team members may have different communication styles , so it's important to acknowledge these differences and decide on how to navigate these differences in the most efficient way.
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How to Write a Project Plan in 4 Simple Steps
Not sure where to start? Creating a project management plan is a simple and straightforward process if you follow a structure like the one below.
Step #1: Highlight key points with an executive summary.
The executive summary is a brief description of your project management plan that gives a description and a high level overview of the project plan. When it comes to your project documents, stakeholders will usually read the executive summary first.
You might find things like goals, milestones, the overall timeframe and the critical milestones you need to hit to make the project a reality. However, keep in mind the executive summary should be brief — think of your summary as a proof of concept.
Step #2: Add a visual representation of your timeline.
Successful projects are planned meticulously. A key aspect that will help you improve your planning is to add a visual representation of your timeline . This timeline will be a great resource to monitor as your project progresses.
In step two, you may want to add a Gantt chart to make the process of building your timeline easier. You can use the Gantt chart template below for your project planning process.
Customize this template and make it your own! Edit and Download
Using a Gantt chart, you can plot tasks and milestones by date. This will help you assign resources, analyze dependencies and prepare your team for the work ahead.
Step #3: Visualize team structure with an organizational chart.
A challenging aspect of project planning is getting on the same page with your team. You need to know who is responsible for what before you can operate at peak efficiency.
Visualize team structure with the help of an organizational chart so everyone is clear about their role in the project. You can customize the template below for your own project team.
Step #4: Use project status reports to stay ahead of deadlines.
The final step we’ll explore together is the creation of project status reports . These status reports will help keep internal team members and external stakeholders updated on the project progress.
You can begin this process in the initial kick off meeting by setting expectations for when you will share status reports. Build the infrastructure and processes for reporting on your progress ahead of time. This is an easy way to make sure your team is staying on track.
15 Project Management Plan Templates to Use Right Away
Now that you understand what to include in your project management outline, here are some project management plan examples to give you a head start. Each template is ready to download and fully customizable or browse through our other project plan templates to find your ideal fit.
Template #1: Project Communication Plan
One of the best ways to improve team efficiency and align everyone to the same vision is to improve communication. From communicating stakeholders’ needs to describing the vision behind your most significant decisions — communication is critical.
This project communication plan template is ideal for digital marketers and agencies ready to work on their next campaign. But, you can easily edit it for use in any other industry or field.
Visme’s editor allows you to easily customize the template in ways that help your brand stand out . You swap the font styles, colors and typography with a few clicks.
Template #2: Project Schedule Planner
This project planner and schedule template is designed with a professional and clean style. It comes with a modern color scheme and easy-to-edit sections that help you make fast, efficient progress in your project.
You can use it to track a wide variety of projects across many industries.
Visme makes it easy to unlock the power of personalization. Start by adding your brand fonts and colors. Also, add some icons and images to enhance your design.
Template #3: Cancer Fundraiser Project Plan
The next template we’ll explore is the cancer fundraiser template. This template is excellent for non-profits or advocates who are putting together a multistage project.
The template is pre-designed to help you create an efficient and professional design. It comes loaded with beautiful color schemes and design elements that you can tweak or delete.
When you’re ready to make the template your own, you can start to swap in your brand colors. Also, Visme makes it easy to import your fonts or to explore our massive library.
We also have a library full of design elements, including charts and graphs, which you can explore for your project plan.
Template #4: Retail Development Project Plan
This retail development project management plan template is pre-designed with a modern style. The use of white space, a clean layout and contrasting colors make this project plan template ideal for corporate and professional use.
You can use this template to track and manage a large variety of projects across several industries.
Visme makes it easy to unlock the power of personalization. Start by adding your brand fonts and colors. Also, add some icons and images to up-level your design.
Template #5: Agile Project Plan
Let’s move on to our fifth template. The agile project plan template is an excellent choice if you’re looking to create a project plan with a clean and modern design.
The template comes designed with a professional color scheme. Also, the design elements are easy to tweak to make rapid progress on your plan.
The agile project plan template is excellent for project management professionals looking to speed up their workflow. You can use it to track all kinds of projects.
Plus, you are not limited to colors and design elements included in the template. You can easily use the Visme editor to add your brand colors and fonts. If you’d prefer to experiment, we have libraries full of design elements that you can utilize on your next project.
Template #6: Construction Project Plan
This construction project plan template is a good choice for corporate or real estate teams who want to protect their reputation for professionalism and set their customer’s minds at ease.
The design achieves this in two ways.
First, the template uses modern and clean design elements. Second, Visme is built with non-designers in mind. This ease of use means that you can efficiently complete the project plan and meet all your deadlines.
While the template already has a beautiful set of design elements, it’s easy to make it your own. When you’re ready, just add in your colors or fonts. If you don’t quite have a creative vision for your plan yet, you can browse our massive library of design elements.
Template #7: Healthcare Project Plan
This healthcare project plan template is most suitable for project managers in the healthcare industry, but anyone in the larger health and wellness field may benefit from using it.
This template is designed with a clean style. With modern colors and design elements that you can utilize right way, it offers an excellent foundation for a professional project plan.
One of the best features of Visme is the ability to personalize your project plan to make it your own. You have complete control over design elements like icons, fonts and the color scheme.
Template #8: Rebranding Project Plan
Let’s move on to our eighth template. The rebranding project plan template is an excellent choice if you’re looking to make a project plan with a beautiful design.
The template is made with a clean and modern color scheme. Plus, the design elements are easy to edit to complete the project plan on your own.
The rebranding project plan template is a fantastic choice for brands looking to shift their online presence with a new campaign or website. However, the template can also be used for other types of projects, such as corporate projects, real estate projects and construction projects.
While the template does come preloaded with design elements, you are not limited by these choices. The Visme editor makes it easy to edit the template until it matches your vision.
Template #9: House Engineering Project Plan
This house building project plan template is suitable for multistage projects that have a lot of moving parts.
The design is perfect for these types of projects for a couple of reasons. First, the modern design creates a good user experience that improves team communication.
Second, Visme is built with efficiency in mind. This ease of use means that you can rapidly move from stage to stage during the design process. This helps you stay organized and on track.
The template comes preloaded with stunning design elements. However, if you have your vision, that’s great as well. It’s simple to add in your colors or fonts, pictures, icons and colors.
Template #10: Video Creation Project Plan
The next template we’ll explore is the beautiful video creation project plan template. Something that jumps out about this template is the professional approach it takes with color.
Notably, it’s also built with editing speed in mind, which means you can make fast progress on your project plan. While marketing professionals and content creators will get a massive benefit from this template, it’s also great for a wide variety of projects.
Template #11: Technology Project Plan
Let’s move on to our next template — the technology project plan template. This template is a terrific choice if you’re looking to create a project plan with a modern design.
The template comes designed with a color scheme that gives you a professional look. Plus, it’s easy to swap in new design elements so your project plan has a unique look and feel.
The tech project plan template helps tech startups and software teams who need to speed up their workflow. However, you can use it to track all kinds of projects.
Also, Visme never limits you to the design elements found in the template. You have a ton of flexibility to help make your next project plan your own.
Template #12: Software Project Plan
The software project plan template is a good choice for tech startups who want to ship their product improvements consistently. The template is packed with modern design elements.
Also, Visme is built with speed in mind. This ability to work quickly means that you can efficiently complete the planning portions of your projects.
While the template already has a robust set of design elements, you can easily swap in your ideas to make the plan your own. Or, easily add your own colors or fonts to the template.
Template #13: Travel and Lodging Website Project Plan
The next template we’ll explore is an excellent choice for your next project plan — the travel and lodging website project plan template. The modern color design and easy to edit design elements come together to create a helpful template for project management professionals.
While it’s specifically built for the travel industry, you can use it to track and manage a wide variety of projects across several industries and fields.
With Visme, you can make any template highly unique. Get started by adding in your brand fonts and colors. Moreover, browse through built-in libraries of free design assets.
Template #14: Book Writing Project Plan
The book writing project template is a good choice if you’re looking to create a project plan for your book or any other type of publication.
The template comes designed with a color scheme you won’t get bored of looking at every day. Also, the design elements are easy to tweak so you can make rapid progress on your goals.
The book writing project plan is perfect for authors and future authors who want to take their book plans to the next level. In the template, you can easily use the Visme editor to add your brand colors and fonts.
If you’d prefer to experiment, we have tons of options in our library to help, such as free images, icons, shapes, illustrations, charts, graphs and pre-designed content blocks.
Template #15: Website Redesign Project Plan
The last template we’ll explore is the website redesign project plan. This template is a good choice for design agencies and brands looking to create a new website.
The template uses modern and clean design elements. Also, because Visme is built with non-designers in mind, it’s an easy template to customize and use.
With this template, you can efficiently complete the project plan and meet all your deadlines. While the template already has a beautiful set of design elements, it’s also easy to edit and adapt it to your own needs.
When you’re ready to get started, just add in your colors or fonts. If you’re not sure what to add, you can browse our massive library of design elements.
What is a simple project plan?
A simple project plan is a formal document that helps with project execution and planning. The primary purpose of a simple project plan is to help with planning and communication.
Also, project plans help facilitate excellent team communication between stakeholders.
Who approves a project management plan?
Usually, a project manager or PMP is in charge of approving the plans and releasing the needed resources for the project. This role is sometimes called the project sponsor.
Typically, the person who approves the plan is also in charge of monitoring the baseline project metrics to ensure everything is running according to schedule.
What is the main purpose of a project management plan?
The main purpose of the project management plan, sometimes called a project charter, is to provide a document that acts as a reference for everyone in the project. This document provides all the essential details, lists the project stakeholders and describes the processes you need to implement.
What is a good project plan?
Excellent project planning happens when you can define your project objectives, describe your goals and list all the milestones you need to complete to finish the project.
Also, a good plan needs to be accessible. If you’re not sharing your project with everyone on your team, it cannot facilitate communication.
If you’re simply creating a plan and not sharing it, you’re wasting time and effort.
What is a detailed project plan?
If you’d like to create a detailed project plan, you need to add a few components.
First, you need to justify your plan. What solutions is your project designed to implement?
Next, it’s essential to talk about the outcomes. A detailed project plan must list the direct outcomes it hopes to achieve.
Lastly, it’s essential to talk about outcomes or deliverables. It’s crucial to spend time talking about what exactly the final product will look like.
What’s the best project plan maker online?
Visme has the best project management plan on the market today. Our templates help you display your projects in an engaging way. As we discussed in this article, we have templates to help your project team stay on track.
You can use these templates to mockup your project plans fast.
Visme will help you achieve your goals and stay on schedule with your next project.
Ready to Design Your Own Project Management Plan?
If you made it to this section of the article, you know it’s time to create a project management plan with Visme . For some extra help, check out a guided tour of Visme in this animated explainer video.
When you’re ready, sign up for a free Visme account and start designing your next project management plan right away.
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About the Author
Brian Nuckols is a writer working in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He enjoys communicating visionary ideas in clear, action oriented language. When he’s not working on content for a transformative company you can find him analyzing dreams, creating music, and writing poetry.
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How to Create a Project Plan in 5 Steps (+Free Templates)
July 23, 2020
Max 14min read
Want to create an excellent project plan ?
Creating a project plan is the essential first step before diving into any project .
I mean, even Ben Gates couldn’t steal the Declaration of Independence in the “National Treasure” movie series without doing some planning .
So what’s a project plan exactly?
More importantly, how do you create one?
In this article, we’ll cover what a project plan is, why you need it, and give you a step-by-step guide on how to create one. We’ll also cover how a project management tool can help you plan projects easily.
- What Is A Project Plan?
5 Reasons Why You Need A Project Plan
How to create a simple project plan in 5 steps [step-by-step guide], key components of a successful project plan, how to plan and manage projects effortlessly, project plan templates in clickup, what is a project plan .
A project plan is a detailed document that describes what is required to execute and manage a project .
Created during the project planning phase, this document explains various elements of a project , like the:
- Project objective : results or deliverables you must achieve in the project
- Project scope : defines the work you should do in the project
- Project stakeholder : people involved in the project
- Deadlines : timeframes in which you need to complete various project sections
- Constraints : limitations (time, people, project budget , etc.) within which you must work in
Bonus: Action Plan Templates
Remember, you need to analyze and plan each element carefully for successful project completion.
And to do that, the project plan includes many other subsidiary management plans, like:
- Scope management plan : describes what the team can work on and what goes beyond the project scope
- Schedule management plan : provides an itinerary , outlines your project timeline, deadlines, milestones and other time-related project details
- Cost management plan : contains details regarding your project budget , who’s responsible for managing it, cost baseline , etc.
- Communications plan : specifies the methods and tools your teams and stakeholders will use for communication
- Risk management plan : outlines what the possible project risks are and the methods you’ll use to control them
- Quality management plan : explains the quality-check procedures that’ll be used in the project
- Change management plan : describes what could change in the project over its course. This subsidiary plan is vital if you follow the Agile management methodology.
This sounds like a lot of planning !
But once you have a great project plan , tackling the project becomes super easy.
Think of it this way:
A project plan is a treasure map that shows you where to go, how to get there and what paths to take when something goes wrong. Sure, treasure maps are often hard to acquire — but once you get them, the search becomes easy!
But a project plan isn’t the only map you use in project management .
You also have a project charter and a project management plan .
So before diving deeper into project plans , let’s check out the other two documents and see if they’re actually different from a project plan .
A. What is a project charter ?
A project charter is a short document (usually 1–2 pages) that gives you a high-level overview of a project.
Created early in the project life cycle , the charter defines various project data, like:
- Project scope
- Milestones and timeline
- Key stakeholders
- Assumptions and constraints
Wait… aren’t these the same things defined in a project plan ?
Then how are they different from each other?
The project charter is a project’s summary that’s submitted to the project committee for their approval. Once it’s approved, you create the project plan — which clearly describes every aspect of the project .
Additionally, after a project charter is approved, it remains fixed throughout the project life cycle. However, a project plan evolves over the life cycle — the initial plan would cover all the rough details, but it wouldn’t be comprehensive until a few stages later.
Related: Executive Summary Templates
B. What is a project management plan ?
Unlike the project plan , which describes what the project needs, the project management plan describes how to implement the work and manage the project.
For example, Gates’ project plan will describe what’s required to steal the Declaration of Independence. But his project management plan will explain how they’re going to pull it off.
As the project management plan clarifies the project’s technology, system and techniques, it’s even more detailed than the project plan ( usually over 100 pages! ).
However, most project managers often use both these terms interchangeably — “ project plan ” as a short form of “ project management plan ”.
That’s why we’ll also use them interchangeably in this article.
You now know what a project plan (or a project management plan ) is.
But why do you actually need it?
Let’s find out…
Gates and his team need a secret map to find a lost treasure (and clear his family’s name).
And while a project team doesn’t have to go on such treasure hunts, they still need a plan for successful project completion.
Looking for Reasons Why You Need A Project Plan?
- A project management plan defines the project’s value proposition — this helps the team visualize the project goal and deliverables easily
- It clarifies what goes into the project for all parties involved (the project sponsor, stakeholders and team)
- It provides milestones to help teams achieve their project objective on time
- It shows who’s responsible for a specific project task for better accountability
- As you’ll define the budget during the planning stage, you can eliminate unnecessary costs
Great, right? But how do you go about developing an effective project management plan?
Creating a project plan document isn’t as tricky as finding a lost treasure hoard.
However, it can be a pain if you don’t know how to perform the project planning process properly. To help you out, here are five easy steps to create a project management plan :
1. Do your research and ask the right questions
Gates and his team would never start a quest without brushing up on their history.
While it improves their knowledge area , it also gives them clarity over how to solve the challenge!
Likewise, the first step in creating a project plan is to do your research and understand the project .
And how do you do that?
By going through all available information on the project — client discussions you’ve had so far, preliminary ideas you’ve jotted down, etc.
And if you need more information ( which you probably will ), instead of making wild guesses, ask the right questions.
Ask yourself (and your team ) questions like:
- What does the client require in this project ?
- What could be the potential project risks and roadblocks?
- Do we need any clarifications from the project sponsor and stakeholders ?
- How many people are required to work on this project ?
- What should be our communication plan ?
- How do we measure project success?
This not only helps you understand what you’ll be working on but also helps you prepare for potential issues that could pop up down the line.
Quick tip : Always include your project management team in the planning process. This way, you can create project plans that align with your team’s capabilities.
2. Define the project
Once you know what you’ll be doing, you need to define the project clearly.
You don’t want the project sponsor, key stakeholder or team members to be confused about the project.
Here’s how you should define the two most essential elements in any project:
A. Project objective
Define what you’re looking to achieve in the project .
While your main project objective will be to develop the deliverable , you could also have secondary objectives. This could be anything from improving project team cohesion to streamlining your processes.
B. Project scope
Most scopes change over their project life cycle — especially Agile and Scrum projects.
So it might be easier to define what falls outside your project scope instead of trying to determine what falls within it. Additionally, without a proper scope definition , it’ll be hard to avoid scope creep.
What’s scope creep ?
Scope creep happens when the project scope keeps increasing continuously. This ultimately leads to various project risks, like employee burn out, due to many additional tasks.
3. Create a project schedule
What’s a project without a schedule, right?
Here’s how to craft an effective project schedule :
- Determine the tasks you need to complete in the project (use a work breakdown structure to do this easily)
- Identify task dependencies (how one project task relates to another)
- Identify the resources, like how many team members you need to finish each task
- Estimate the time it’ll take to complete each task and set various milestones
- Create the project timeline that ends with giving the project deliverables to the stakeholders
- Keep your project schedule up-to-date according to any changes in the project
With a well-planned schedule, you’ll be able to complete the project on time.
4. Assign roles and responsibilities
Remember when Ben asked Riley to keep a watch on the others when he’s stealing the Declaration?
Similarly, you also need to assign project tasks to your project team members .
But who gets what assignment?
This largely depends on their skills and expertise and the complexity or priority of a task .
Let’s use this project plan example :
Ben wants you to build an app that’ll help him detect buried objects. The most important and, possibly, complex task would be to develop a magnetic sensor. So you’ll assign the best people in your team to do this.
Including your project management team in the planning process will be super helpful here.
As they know their skills better than anyone else, you’ll be able to assign responsibilities accordingly.
This ensures that nobody bites off more than they can chew!
5. Conduct a post-project analysis
No management plan is complete without a post-project analysis.
After all, you need to know how good your plan was, right?
Once the project’s over, ask your project management team to give you feedback over what they liked and disliked about it. This feedback will help you craft future project plans that are far more effective and team-friendly.
Additionally, you can add a post-project review phase into your project plans — to check if you’d met your project goal and analyze your team’s performance.
A good project plan always includes a recommended budget . It’s a simple way to keep your expenditure processes on track and keep the project profitable.
2. Detailed Work Tasks
Your project plan should include a work breakdown of every task and subtask associated with the project.
3. Project Schedule
A project plan must include a project schedule to keep your project running smoothly. You should map out the project timeline to ensure that you meet your deadlines.
4. Resource Management
Your project plan needs to take stock of the resources at your disposal in order to manage them effectively. These resources could be things like manpower, software, hardware or time.
5. Communication Systems
Your project plan must communicate your project objectives and expectations clearly. Moreover, there should be software and systems in place so that your project team can communicate easily.
6. Project Scope
A successful project plan outlines its scope clearly. It defines what it’s goals are and what falls under its purview. This helps you avoid scope creep – which can drastically slow your progress.
7. Project Outcomes
A project manager can use project plans to spell out the goals, project milestones , and deliverables associated with each project stage.
Bonus: How to Write a Project Proposal & Project Proposal Templates
While creating a management plan is crucial for a successful project , it can be exhausting.
From identifying the project goal to creating a work breakdown structure , there’s a lot involved.
Luckily, with a powerful project management software like ClickUp , you can plan and manage multiple projects efficiently.
But what’s ClickUp?
ClickUp is the world’s #1 project management tool .
From the project planning process to project closure, this project management software will help you with anything and everything — even remote project management!
Here’s a closer look at how ClickUp streamlines the project management process :
1. Goals to set a project goal and track it
Ben Gates doesn’t go exploring without setting some professional goals in mind.
But in project management , you can’t just set project goals in your head !
You’ll just forget them when you have a gazillion other things to take care of!
So what can you do?
Use ClickUp’s Goals !
Goals in ClickUp are high-level containers that break down your project goal into smaller, measurable Targets .
For example, if your Goal is to build that metal detector app for Ben, your Target could be “develop the magnetic sensor”.
Your Scrum team members can now tackle these small Targets and finish them to achieve the Goal. As you complete each Target, the tool auto-updates your Goal progress percentage. This tells you exactly how close you’re to achieving the project Goal !
2. Tasks , Subtasks and Checklists for easy project task management
Project planning is only one part of project management .
You also have tons of other things to take care of like, scope management , tracking your project timeline and more.
Manually keeping track of all these (especially in larger scrum projects ) will burn out even an efficient project manager like Ben.
But with ClickUp, that won’t be a problem!
It lets you break down your whole project into Tasks, Subtasks and Checklists for effortless management .
Here’s how it works:
- Tasks and Subtasks : break down your project into smaller tasks and subtasks. Your project team can now easily tackle the project bit-by-bit instead of attempting it in its entirety.
- Checklists : create simple to-do lists to quality check items and map out steps for any task . P roject team members can quickly check off these lists as they move along.
3. Docs to create a project plan document
Treasure maps or clues are super precious to any explorer, right?
Similarly, project plans are vital documents for any project team .
You can’t just write your plan on a piece of paper — it could get lost or even fall into the wrong hands!
Instead, just use ClickUp’s Docs to draft and manage your project plan document .
Docs let you document your project needs within each project space. From a configuration management plan to your project budget , just use Docs to create and store everything easily.
For seamless real-time collaboration with your team members, you can set access rights for each Doc and share it with them.
But that’s not all.
You can also:
- Embed URLs into a Doc and adjust its appearance for easy viewing
- Format text with headings, highlights and lists for clarity
- Export a Doc as PDF, HTML or Markdown files quickly
- Leave comments for easy editing reference
- Index it to let it appear on Google and other search engines
4. Assigned comments for quick delegation
Ben delegated tasks to Riley and Abigail, right?
You need to do the same for your project team members .
But when you’re managing tons of different things at once, it’s easy for your team to overlook what you told them to do.
Use ClickUp’s Assigned Comments !
This feature lets you create tasks out of comments and assign them to any team member (including yourself). The assignee will then be notified instantly and it’ll also pop up in their task tray — making it impossible to go unnoticed.
Once they’ve finished the task , they can resolve the comment to eliminate unnecessary follow-ups!
With a simple project plan template, you can start your project planning process quickly.
You don’t have to create a plan from scratch every time, just copy your data into a project plan template and you’re good to go!
Here are some simple project plan templates to help you start your planning process immediately:
1. Project management plan template
Use this simple project plan template to keep track of all your project tasks in ClickUp:
2. Project roadmap template
A project roadmap is a visual overview of your project deliverables and goals. It’s the quickest way to manage stakeholder expectations in your project.
Here’s a ClickUp roadmap template that lists project deliverables or goals with details like assignee, due date, etc.
3. Roadmap – Board template
Here’s a ClickUp template that displays your roadmap in a Kanban-style:
4. Roadmap – Gantt chart template
If you prefer to have your roadmap in a Gantt chart view , you can use this ClickUp template :
Gantt charts are a great way to visualize data, empowering users in ways unimagined before. Truly an amazing feat! Want to see the best use cases for Gantt Chart’s? Check out our top 20 Gantt Chart Examples .
5. Management plan – Gantt chart template
You can also use a Gantt chart template to track your project progress in ClickUp.
But these aren’t the only features that ClickUp has for easy project planning and management !
This powerful project management software also offers other handy features like:
- Gantt chart : track project progress according to its timeline easily
- Project management automation : automate repetitive project processes to save time
- Custom project status: create customized statuses according to your Agile project needs
- Team reporting: get detailed insights into your team’s performance
- Pulse : know your remote or in-house team’s activity levels across a specific day
- Critical Path : identify the tasks you must complete to meet your project deadline on time
While creating a project plan is vital, it can be complicated if you don’t know what you’re doing.
But don’t worry.
Just use the processes and templates we listed here to map your project’s journey easily!
However, as your project success chiefly depends on how effective this plan is, you need to be well-equipped to navigate it.
And for that, you need a powerful project planning tool like ClickUp!
From planning projects to project execution and tracking your in-house/ remote team’s productivity , this tool has everything you need — just like how Riley and Abigail help Ben with everything he needs to solve mysteries.
Sign up today and let ClickUp light the way towards your project success !
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How to use a RAID Log in Project Management
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Why are logs important?
Logs are among the simplest but most valuable tools of a project manager . Basically, a log is a list of items with key pieces of information for each item. The use of a log includes the following benefits :
- To help the project team remember
- To provide a visible way of verification
- To give each team member an equal chance to raise a concern
- To guide the focus of a meeting or discussion
- To help the project manager monitor progress
- To be proactive
- To document resolutions
One important project management log for managing issues and risks is the RAID log. Projects will always have issues that arise during the execution of a project. And risks are issues that have not happened yet. A RAID log helps keep track of the risks the team foresees as well as the issues that arise.
What is a RAID log?
A RAID log is a project management tool where the project manager logs, documents, or tracks the risks, assumptions, issues, and dependencies of a project. One variation of the RAID log substitutes ‘actions’ for assumptions, and ‘decisions’ for dependencies. Another version combines them to form a RAAIDD log. The version that a team uses will depend on what they consider more helpful in managing their project.
Why should you use a RAID log?
After the project planning phase, the project execution phase begins. Happening at the same time is the project monitoring and control phase to measure performance and progress if everything is proceeding according to plan. A RAID log is an effective tool to track risks, issues, or any other event or circumstance that can affect or influence the project. Examining the items of a RAID log can show its importance.
A risk is an exposure of the project to an uncertain future event that may have an impact on the project’s completion. A RAID log lets the project manager identify probable risks and the events, situations, or activities that either increase or decrease the chance of the risk from happening and becoming an issue. Aside from the likelihood of happening, the project manager can also asses the severity of the risk, and plan for the resources and actions to minimize it.
An assumption is a supposition that a piece of information is true, because there is no evidence at hand that shows it is not. A project manager may assume that something will stay the same or something will eventually change as the project team proceeds to execute their tasks. It is important to review or track if assumptions still hold true. Once assumptions are proven to be false, changes in the plan and the execution should be made.
The other A stands for action, which is needed to complete a task or to respond to an issue. The action needs to have an owner who will complete the action by a certain time or date. The project manager can track and note the date the action has been completed, and if it needs a follow-up.
An issue is a problem that occurred and needs to be clearly identified. It may affect the project in various ways, such as prolonging the completion, delaying its progress, adding complexity, requiring additional resources, and others. The project manager needs to track all issues, their severity and impact, and communicate how they are being managed and resolved.
A dependency is a required project item that must be completed in order for the plan to proceed unimpeded. It can be a deliverable, a resource, a normalized condition, a pending approval, or something else. Whatever it is, it must be delivered or presented for the project to proceed. The project manager should monitor all dependencies, help obtain faster delivery on them if possible, and communicate with stakeholders how they are managed.
The other D is decision, which the project manager should record all that were made during the course of the project. It is a reference and should include information such as who made the decision, when that decision was made or implemented, and the justification as to why it was made.
How to implement a RAID log in your current process
Use a spreadsheet or specialized project management tool to maintain your RAID log. Organize the log according to the items or topics it tracks. Each topic can have its own tab. The project manager maintains the log and decides the level of detail each item in the log will have.
The input to the log can come from many sources, such as the project sponsor, team members, users, partners, vendors, contractors, and other stakeholders. Additionally, documents from other similar projects can be considered a source.
Create the RAID log during the initial planning phase. You can update it during regular meetings. The frequency of the updates may vary from topic to topic, depending also on the nature of the project. For example, risks and assumptions should be updated at least once a month, more often if possible. Actions, like project tasks, may need updating daily. Issue updates also depend on the severity of the issue, and usually require the corresponding update of the corrective action. Dependencies and decisions also need to be updated as needed, at least once a month.
Potential pitfalls to look out for
For the busy project manager, the RAID log is a shortcut for organizing information and maintaining control of some of less visible parts of a project. However, as a shortcut, it should not be considered as the single complete source of information.
A RAID log is only as current as the updates it receive. If it is outdated, then the information it provides will not be reliable. If you spend too much time updating your RAID log, you may miss out on other important responsibilities. Delegate some of the updating responsibilities to your team members who can change certain areas of the log according to their role. Use modern tools like project management software.
periodically not only the items you have identified, but also your definition of risks, assumptions, issues, and dependencies. And do not forget to make a final review at the close of the project.
Recommended Project Management Software
If you’re interested in learning more about top rated project management software, the editors at Project-Management.com actively recommend the following:
Wrike is the most powerful work management platform on the market, enabling teams to plan projects and collaborate in real time. Our award-winning software is trusted by 20,000+ companies across the globe, including Sony, Estée Lauder, and Siemens.
Wrike’s customizable features include Gantt charts, request forms, dashboards, cross-tagging, time tracking, and proofing. Integrate with 400+ apps from the likes of Microsoft, Google, and Salesforce. Automate repetitive tasks and achieve 50% faster planning. Work from anywhere with 100% access to your files via our mobile and desktop apps.
Whether you’re a small startup or an established brand, Wrike has the solution for you. Paid plans start at $9.80/user/month. Join our community of 2.3 million — start your free two-week trial today.
Learn more about Wrike
ClickUp is one of the highest-rated project management tools today. Use Docs, Reminders, Goals, Calendars, Chat, scheduling, assigned comments, custom views, & more with this all-in-one project management tool.
Used by 800,000+ teams in companies like Airbnb, Google, and Uber, it brings all of your projects into a single app! Built for teams of all sizes and industries, Our fully customizable & proprietary features make it a must-have for anyone wanting to keep project management in one place.
Learn more about ClickUp
Smartsheet is a leading work execution platform that has real-time work management features, collaboration and automation tools. Users are presented with a familiar and easy-to-use spreadsheet-like interface. However, it has enterprise-grade capabilities that even Fortune 500 companies like Cisco, Bayer, HP, and PayPal are confident to adopt in their business. Strong project management features enable teams to utilize different views of real-time data, and switch easily from Gantt, card, grid and calendar views. Smartsheet has automatic update requests, and can be used for waterfall and agile projects, product launch, sprint planning, and more. The resource management feature provides users the visibility who is busy, and who is not, in real-time. They can also attach files, share sheets, get notified, view the activity log, export, email, and print.
Learn more about Smartsheet
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How to Create an Agile Project Management Plan
16 Apr 2019
Developing software always requires some sort of a plan to be in place. The very word "plan" is open for discussion in the project management world. In a traditional sense, planning is crucial for a project's success. On the other hand, in the Agile environment, planning is more of a guideline for the project's progress. That being said, let's have a look at how to create an Agile project management plan.
The perspective on plans in both methods
In order to clarify things further, we must first take a look at how a plan or plans are viewed from both traditional and Agile point of views. In traditional methods, planning is a vital component of any given project. A plan can encompass the entire project ranging from gathering information and creating documentation, development, testing, scheduling and establishing a release date.
The foundation for such a plan is that a project manager will be able to accurately predict how long it will take, how much it will cost and what it will take for the software to be developed and released in a pre-specified time frame. On the other hand, plans are viewed differently in the Agile methodology.
Plans in Agile are purely feature-based. In other words, Agile plans can project when the features will be developed without the focus on how. Simply put, you can have a really good guess about what will be delivered and when it will be delivered based on how much the teams can develop within a specific time frame, which is usually a single iteration.
Every Agile project management plan begins with information. Information gathered from clients, developers, stakeholders and anyone else involved can help create a vision of what the project should look like. Furthermore, the vision itself includes "what" needs to be delivered, "who" should be involved and "how" will people work together to make the project successful.
This information and envisioning help create a project backlog that consists of both business and technical requirements, as well as help create a project roadmap , which is an overview of how the product will evolve overtime. Once the information is obtained, you can start planning the next phase.
Populating the backlog
Large user stories, also known as epics , can project a picture of how an end-product should look like. However, in order to get started on the project, you have to break down the epics into smaller user stories or individual features and requirements, and prioritize them to plan for iterations.
This is also known as populating the backlog. The essential thing here is that Agile teams will not try and plan out every little thing that will make up the backlog. Instead, they will keep them vague until the time comes to work on them (more on this later).
As mentioned before, you can have a pretty good guess what will be delivered and when based on what your teams can deliver. Estimating releases , whether for a single iteration or for the entire products is a common practice in Agile projects. You have to have at least a rough estimate of when the iterations will be completed and when the project will be nearing its end.
You can make these estimations based on the previous work, i.e., previous projects. How long it took your team to develop a specific number of features within a single iteration on a similar project will probably be the same amount of time it will take them to do the same on the current project. This can help you estimate release dates more accurately.
Of course, all of this should be used for estimations only, not as plans that are set in stone.
Consult with your team
Once you have a general idea of what needs to be delivered and when, you can consult on your project roadmap with the rest of the team members. They can provide input on whether or not your roadmap is achievable or not. In the end, a project manager in an Agile environment doesn't own the plan. Instead, the team owns it in the fullest.
The main reason is that the teams are responsible for communicating with clients and deciding on which features should be developed in the next iteration, as well as the functionality required for that feature to be developed properly. After all, the teams are the people who will do all the work and they are, in fact, in the best position to decide on what needs to be done. Therefore, if the team members say your plan needs to be improved, then it's time to make the improvements.
Planning just in time
Perhaps the most important difference in planning projects the traditional vs the agile way is in how comprehensive they are and how long into the future they extend.
A good Agile project management plan will be done just in time and just enough. For instance, even the Product Backlog will not be too detailed for more than one or two Sprints in the future.
This is done so that as little time is wasted on making plans that will become obsolete anyway and act as hindrance more than anything else.
The agile approach does not preclude the team from making plans for their product. However, an agile project plan will be more about the big picture stuff, leaving the smaller, more direct plans to be made just in time and by the entire team.
How to Create a Project Management Plan Online – 9 Simple Steps
You’re in charge of a project. That’s great! Before you actually begin your project, you’re going to need a project plan.
While it may be tempting to jump right into your project and figure things out as you go along, you’ll have much better results if you create a project plan first. Without a basic project plan, you may find your team directionless, or worse heading in multiple directions.
In project management , proceeding without a project plan leaves you in danger of overrunning available resources and failing to achieve the client’s goals. A project plan ensures all stakeholders share the same vision, sets measurable goals for your project, establishes solid communication among team members and stakeholders, and serves as the foundation for project transparency .
Without it, you’re setting yourself and your team up for project failure.
Maybe you’ve been doing this for a while or maybe this is your first big project and you just googled “how to write a project plan.” Either way, we’re here to help.
What is a project plan?
A project plan, also known as the project management plan, is the document that describes how the project will be executed, monitored, and controlled, and closed. This outlines the objectives and scope of the project and serves as an official point of reference for the project team, larger company, and stakeholders.
It’s created during the project planning phase and is a compilation of several other documents. It is more than just a schedule or a task list, though it does include those things. The project management plan is formally approved at the beginning of the project and then progressively updated throughout the course of the project.
Why is project planning important?
Project planning is a crucial stage that comes right after initiation in project management phases . Through proper planning, you streamline the entire project into a series of steps and ensure the availability of all the resources on time.
Project constraints such as time, scope, and costs are discussed in the project planning process, and mitigation plans are developed after the identification of potential risks. By comparing the actual progress with the project plan, you can also monitor the performance of your team and take the necessary steps to improve it.
Check out the 7 areas where project planning is important for successful projects.
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How to create a project plan online.
If you’re thinking, “well, that sounds really formal and serious, don’t be intimidated.
Follow these nine project management steps, and you’re well on your way not just on how to plan a project online but to execute your project successfully.
Step 1: Identify all stakeholders
Your project has several stakeholders, and not all of them will be involved in every detail of the project. Project stakeholders include
- your customer,
- the end-users of the product,
- the company and its leaders,
- and the team working directly on the project.
Depending on the nature of the project, stakeholders may also include outside organizations or individual community members that will be affected by the project.
Step 2: Define roles and responsibilities
Once you’ve identified your stakeholders, you need to determine the core project management skills and competencies required for the project. When you have that list, you can define roles and assign responsibilities to individual stakeholders.
Remember that a role is not the same as a person.
- In some cases, one person can fill multiple roles, such as having a designated emergency contact, a role that adds few additional work hours to a person’s schedule.
- In other cases, multiple people may hold identical roles, as when your project requires multiple software engineers.
Typical roles include
- project sponsor,
- project manager ,
- and project team members .
The different project team member roles will vary depending on your project, but be sure to include a vendor relations role and a customer relations role.
Learn how to create a Project Plan with Kissflow Project.
Step 3: hold a kickoff meeting.
The kickoff meeting is a
- chance to bring all stakeholders together,
- cast a vision for the project that everyone can get behind,
- and an opportunity to make introductions and establish good working relationships.
At this stage, the specific details of the project haven’t been determined, so you should include a discussion on the project scope, budget, timeline, and goals in your meeting agenda. This is also when roles are announced and a communication plan is explained. The kickoff meeting sets the tone for the working relationship among stakeholders for the duration of the project.
Step 4: Define project scope, budget, and timeline
After the official kickoff, it’s time to define three important concepts:
- the project scope,
- and timeline of your project.
Each of these items is worthy of its own in-depth explanation, so we’ll just define them briefly here.
Project scope tells you what are we going to do (and not do)? Given the requests of the customer and the vision discussed by the team, what are the objectives of this project?
Taking into account the scope and the resources required to meet the project objectives , what is the expected financial cost of the project?
The project timeline itemizes the phases of your project and the length of time you can reasonably expect them to be completed.
Step 5: Set and prioritize goals
Once your team understands the objectives of the project and you’ve identified the phases to meeting those objectives,
- break down the big picture objectives of your project into individual goals and tasks,
- prioritize tasks according to importance and dependencies,
- and put a system in place to ensure corrective actions when goals aren’t met on time.
You may need to adjust your timeline in light of your goals.
Prioritize your project tasks with Kissflow Project.
Step 6: define deliverables.
A deliverable, as defined by the Project Management Institute, is “any unique and verifiable product, result, or capability to perform a service that is produced to complete a process, phase, or project”. In other words, a deliverable could be,
- or capability.
Project deliverables are determined by the project objectives and are an essential part of the project plan. If the customer’s objective is for end-users to manage their own content, for example, the deliverables might be a piece of software that enables users to manage content as well as training materials for employees and end-users on how to use the newly created software.
Step 7: Create a project schedule
A project schedule is a document that details
- the project timeline,
- the organizational resources required to complete each task,
- and any other information critical to the team management.
Needless to say, it must be comprehensive and easy to understand.
To create a project schedule ,
- further, divide the phases of your project into individual tasks and activities,
- determine dependencies,
- sequence the activities,
- and estimate the required resources and duration of each task.
The information you compile in this process may reveal necessary adjustments in your roles, timeline, and/or budget. This is an important step in writing a simple project plan and a beneficial part of the process. It’s much better to make these adjustments before the project has begun than weeks or months later.
Want to learn project management but put off by jargon?
Learn what's important in the simplest ebook for non-project managers.
Step 8: Do a risk assessment
A risk is a problem that may or may not arise over the course of your project. It’s important to identify risks in project management and mitigate them at the project planning phase rather than be caught off guard later. Hold a meeting or ask for insight from all team members about the risks you should consider.
Areas of risk include:
- Project Scope
- Resources (personnel, financial, and physical)
- Project delays
- and Failures of Technology or Communication
There’s no way to control for all potential risks, but thinking through them ahead of time can save you from project failure .
Step 9: Communicate the project plan
Once you’ve compiled your project plan, make sure to communicate it clearly to the team and all other stakeholders. You may have created a project communication plan when you put together your project schedule. If not, do it now!
Establishing solid communications channels and expectations for project communication is crucial. As a project manager, be sure to model the kind of communication you expect from all stakeholders.
Main components of the project management plan
At its basic level, an example of a project plan consists of three components. Creating a list of all these components to help inform your project management plan.
What are the things your team will need to do in order to get the project done? Activities in your project plan include things like
- measuring progress
- delegating tasks
- allocating resources
- time tracking spent on project tasks
- communicating effectively.
For any task management , the project is broken down into tasks. These are smaller jobs that make up the bigger picture of your project. Having incremental goals makes measuring success and addressing bottlenecks easier, and identifying these tasks is essential to crafting your project management plan.
What are you working with? Your resources include your budget, of course. It’s also important to understand your human and material resource requirements. How many people will need to work on this project and will you need to hire temporary workers or subcontractors? What physical or digital materials are required and where will those things come from?
How project planning software can help plan projects
A successful project management plan involves effectively organizing all the activities, tasks, and resources that make up your project. Trying to do all this with a collection of spreadsheets that are terrible for project management and shared documents or worse with notebooks, pens, and sticky notes is overwhelming and inefficient.
Project planning software can simplify your project planning from start to finish, giving you the project management features and transparency in the project you need to not only create an excellent project management plan but to actually manage your project well. Good project management software allows you to perform administrative tasks more quickly and efficiently, freeing up time to focus on the actual project.
Project management software can also facilitate effective communication within and among teams, help you track key performance factors, store all project data in a central location, and allow you to generate reports on your project along the way. Many of your project management challenges , particularly with planning, can be overcome with a capable and efficient project management tool.
Kissflow Project can be the solution for you!
- is simple and intuitive to use,
- frees you from constantly tracking teammates,
- offers multiple views to visualize projects
- provides “Done”, “In-Progress”, and “On Hold” states for clarity on status,
- gives you access to powerful reports to make data-driven decisions, and
- reminds you when tasks near their deadlines.
There’s a whole lot more to Kissflow Project. Sign up for free today to get acquainted with its simple yet powerful capabilities!
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How to Create a Project Management Plan
- 1. Project Management Basics
- 2. Project Management Methodologies
- 3. Project Management Life Cycle
- 4. Project Management Software
- 5. Team Collaboration Tips
- 6. Agile Methodology Basics
- 7. Agile Project Management Tools & Techniques
- 8. Project Management Frameworks
- 9. Resources
- 10. Glossary
- Advanced Terminology
- PM Software Features
- Basic Terminology
- Professional Development
- Agile Project Management
A Project Management Plan (PMP — not to be confused with the Project Management Professional certification ) defines not only when a project will be delivered, but also how it will be delivered. If a document only contains what will be done and by when, it is not a true Project Management Plan.
This can be confusing, as there are a number of explainers on how to create a project management plan or a project plan that leaves out key components. A complete project management plan must include guidelines on how a project is executed, monitored, and controlled. According to the Project Management Institute , it should answer all of the questions listed below:
- What is to be done?
- When will it occur?
- How much will it cost?
- Who will do it?
- What product(s) or service(s) will be delivered as a result of the effort?
- What is the responsibility of both the developer and the user?
- Who is responsible for accepting the product as completed?
- What determines task completion?
- What mechanics will be employed to deal with mechanics formally?
- How will actual progress be measured?
How to write a project management plan
The creation of your plan should start with a project management plan template . The length and level of detail included in the plan will depend on your organization and project. Many companies will already have an internal template they prefer to use, that outlines the level of information they need. The plan should always begin with a title page, version history, and table of contents. A strong project management plan will include all of the following information:
- Project scope baseline & scope management plan
- Project schedule baseline & schedule management plan
- Project cost baseline & cost management plan
- Human resource management plan
- Communications management plan
- Risk management plan
Depending on the project, there may also be additional supplemental plans such as:
- Issues management plan
- Quality management plan
- Procurement management plan
- Requirement management plan
- Configuration management plan
- Process management plan
- Change management plan
- Stakeholder management plan
- Training plan
Appendices to the plan may also include:
- The approved business case for the plan
- The approved Project Charter
- Key terms and acronyms
- Any additional relevant information such as:
- Statement of Work
- Customer requirements documentation
- RACI ( responsibility matrix )
How to develop a project management plan
Clearly, a lot of information goes into the creation of a project management plan. It’s reasonable to wonder how a project manager pulls it all together. First, you should be aware project plans are often considered “living” documents. This means they are expected to be updated and changed as the project matures and/or you discover new information requiring a change to the plan. Second, it takes time and effort to pull together a solid project management plan. You can follow these steps to do it as efficiently as possible:
Step 1: Meet with project stakeholders
Even if project stakeholders have already been identified in another document, such as the business case or project charter, it’s important to review the list and make sure it’s still accurate. Then, meet with all project stakeholders to discuss the project objectives and scope. This ensures everyone is on the same page, particularly concerning assumptions, constraints, and expected outcomes. Discuss the planning process with stakeholders and make sure you have their commitment to helping with the process.
Step 2: Define key project roles
All key stakeholders should be asked to provide input for the parts of the project relevant to them. To handle this, it’s important to define which stakeholders are involved with each area of the project. This is often part of the stakeholder management plan or even part of the communication management plan . Relevant stakeholders include the project sponsor, team members, end-users, and any other people directly involved, such as business experts, auditors, or quality testers.
Step 3: Hold a kick-off meeting
The kickoff meeting brings stakeholders together to discuss the project and initiate planning. Some topics typically discussed during the kick-off meeting are:
- The business case for the project
- The expected outcomes and benefits of the project
- Stakeholder roles and responsibilities
- Communication and reporting information (frequency of project meetings, etc.)
- Timeline and process for completing the project plan
Step 4: Develop project baselines
At this point, you should be ready to develop your baseline scope, schedule, and budget. It’s often easiest to start with the scope, then complete the schedule, and finish with the budget baseline. However, the three are interdependent, so be aware any change to one will likely impact the other two.
Step 5: Create baseline management plans
Once your baselines are created, you need to have plans for managing them. This includes reporting against them, monitoring for and managing variances, and outlining the circumstances that would require an updated baseline.
Step 6: Create the other management plans
As you know, planning is a huge part of a project manager’s role. The stronger your plan, the more likely your project will succeed. So, it’s not enough to simply plan how you will manage baselines. Plans should also be created to manage all other significant aspects of, or inputs to, the project. As discussed earlier, there can be a broad range of management plans, but the minimum should include resource management , risk management , and communications management.
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- Project Management Basics: 6 Steps to a Foolproof Project Plan
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- How 5 PM Experts Create a Fail-Safe Project Management Plan
- 4 Tips for an Effective Project Management Plan
Basic Project Management
- Project Charter
- Project Management Stakeholders
- What is a Project?
- Work Breakdown Structure
- Project Objectives
- Project Baseline
- Project Management Scheduling
- Project Management Work Packages
- Project Management Scope
- Scope Creep
Advanced Project Management
- What is PERT?
- Network Diagram
- Risk Management
- Cost Estimation
- Feasibility Study
- Monte Carlo Analysis
- Project Integration
- Cost Management
- PMI Project Management
- What To Do With Certification
- Become Certified
- PMP Certification
- Best Certification
- Critical Success Factors
- Capacity Planning
- User Role Access Permissions
- Time Tracking
- Budget Tracking
- Request Forms
- Work Assignments
- Version Control
- Dependency Managements
- Project management Milestones
- Project Management Software
- Project Management Tools
- Project Management System
- Gantt Charts
- Contact Sales
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- Stay on track with a project plan that ...
Stay on track with a project plan that actually works
Organize your projects with project plans to keep things on track—before you even start. A project plan houses all the necessary details of your project, such as goals, tasks, scope, deadlines, and deliverables. This shows stakeholders a clear roadmap of your project, ensures you have the resources for it, and holds everyone accountable from the start. In this article, we teach you the seven steps to create your own project plan.
Project plans are essential to keeping your project organized and on track. A great project plan will help you kick off your work with all the necessary pieces—from goals and budgets to milestones and communication plans—in one place. Save yourself time (and a few headaches) by creating a work plan that will make your project a success.
What is a project plan?
If you're still unsure about what a project plan is, here's how it differs from other project elements:
Project plan vs. work plan
A project plan and a work plan are the same thing. Different teams or departments might prefer one term or another—but they both ultimately describe the same thing: a list of big-picture action steps you need to take to hit your project objectives .
Project plan vs. project charter
A project charter is an outline of your project. Mostly, you use project charters to get signoff from key stakeholders before you start. Which means your project charter comes before your project plan. A project charter is an outline of a simple project plan—it should only include your project objectives, scope, and responsibilities. Then, once your charter has been approved, you can create a project plan to provide a more in-depth blueprint of the key elements of your project.
Project plan vs. project scope
Your project scope defines the size and boundaries of your project. As part of your project plan, you should outline and share the scope of your project with all project stakeholders. If you’re ever worried about scope creep , you can refer back to your pre-defined scope within your project plan to get back on track.
Project plan vs. agile project
Agile project management is a framework to help teams break work into iterative, collaborative components . Agile frameworks are often run in conjunction with scrum and sprint methodologies. Like any project, an Agile project team can benefit from having a project plan in place before getting started with their work.
Project plan vs. work breakdown structure
Similar to a project plan, your work breakdown structure (WBS) helps you with project execution. While the project plan focuses on every aspect of your project, the WBS is focused on deliverables—breaking them down into sub-deliverables and project tasks. This helps you visualize the whole project in simple steps. Because it’s a visual format, your WBS is best viewed as a Gantt chart (or timeline), Kanban board , or calendar—especially if you’re using project management software .
Why are project plans important?
Project plans set the stage for the entire project. Without one, you’re missing the first critical step in the overall project management process . When you launch into a project without defined goals or objectives, it can lead to disorganized work, frustration, and even scope creep. A clear, written project management plan provides a baseline direction to all stakeholders, while also keeping everyone accountable. It confirms that you have the resources you need for the project before it actually begins.
A project plan also allows you, as the person in charge of leading execution, to forecast any potential challenges you could run into while the project is still in the planning stages. That way, you can ensure the project will be achievable—or course-correct if necessary. According to a study conducted by the Project Management Institute , there is a strong correlation between project planning and project success—the better your plan, the better your outcome. So, conquering the planning phase also makes for better project efficiency and results.
7 steps to write a project plan to keep you on track
To create a clear project management plan, you need a way to track all of your moving parts . No matter what type of project you’re planning, every work plan should have:
Goals and project objectives
Stakeholders and roles
Scope and budget
Milestones , deliverables , and project dependencies
Timeline and schedule
Not sure what each of these mean or should look like? Let’s dive into the details:
Step 1: Define your goals and objectives
You’re working on this project plan for a reason—likely to get you, your team, or your company to an end goal. But how will you know if you’ve reached that goal if you have no way of measuring success?
Every successful project plan should have a clear, desired outcome. Identifying your goals provides a rationale for your project plan. It also keeps everyone on the same page and focused on the results they want to achieve. Moreover, research shows that employees who know how their work is contributing to company objectives are 2X as motivated . Yet only 26% of employees have that clarity. That’s because most goal-setting happens separate from the actual work. By defining your goals within your work plan, you can connect the work your team is doing directly to the project objectives in real-time.
What's the difference between project goals and project objectives?
In general, your project goals should be higher-level than your project objectives. Your project goals should be SMART goals that help you measure project success and show how your project aligns with business objectives . The purpose of drafting project objectives, on the other hand, is to focus on the actual, specific deliverables you're going to achieve at the end of your project. Your project plan provides the direction your team needs to hit your goals, so you can create a workflow that hits project objectives.
Your project plan provides the direction your team needs to hit your goals, by way of your project objectives. By incorporating your goals directly into your planning documentation, you can keep your project’s North Star on hand. When you’re defining your project scope, or outlining your project schedule, check back on your goals to make sure that work is in favor of your main objectives.
Step 2: Set success metrics
Once you’ve defined your goals, make sure they’re measurable by setting key success metrics. While your goal serves as the intended result, you need success metrics to let you know whether or not you’re performing on track to achieve that result. The best way to do that is to set SMART goals . With SMART goals, you can make sure your success metrics are clear and measurable, so you can look back at the end of your project and easily tell if you hit them or not.
For example, a goal for an event might be to host an annual 3-day conference for SEO professionals on June 22nd. A success metric for that goal might be having at least 1,000 people attend your conference. It’s both clear and measurable.
Step 3: Clarify stakeholders and roles
Running a project usually means getting collaborators involved in the execution of it. In your project management plan, outline which team members will be a part of the project and what each person’s role will be. This will help you decide who is responsible for each task (something we’ll get to shortly) and let stakeholders know how you expect them to be involved.
During this process, make sure to define the various roles and responsibilities your stakeholders might have. For example, who is directly responsible for the project’s success? Are there any approvers that should be involved before anything is finalized? What cross-functional stakeholders should be included in the project plan? Are there any risk management factors you need to include?
Consider using a system, such as a RACI chart , to help determine who is driving the project forward, who will approve decisions, who will contribute to the project, and who needs to remain informed as the project progresses.
Then, once you’ve outlined all of your roles and stakeholders, make sure to include that documentation in your project plan. Once you finalize your plan, your work plan will become your cross-functional source of truth.
Step 4: Set your budget
Running a project usually costs money. Whether it’s hiring freelancers for content writing or a catering company for an event, you’ll probably be spending some cash.
Since you’ve already defined your goals and stakeholders as part of your project plan, use that information to establish your budget. For example, if this is a cross-functional project involving multiple departments, will the departments be splitting the cost of the project? If you have a specific goal metric like event attendees or new users, does your proposed budget support that endeavor?
By establishing your project budget during the project planning phase (and before the spending begins), you can get approval, more easily track progress, and make smart, economical decisions during the implementation phase of your project. Knowing your budget beforehand helps you with resource management , ensuring that you stay within the initial financial scope of the project. Planning helps you determine what parts of your project will cost what—leaving no room for surprises later on.
Step 5: Align on milestones, deliverables, and project dependencies
An important part of planning your project is setting milestones, or specific objectives that represent an achievement. Milestones don’t require a start and end date, but hitting one marks a significant accomplishment during your project. They are used to measure progress. For example, let’s say you’re working to develop a new product for your company . Setting a milestone on your project timeline for when the prototype is finalized will help you measure the progress you’ve made so far.
A project deliverable , on the other hand, is what is actually produced once you meet a milestone. In our product development example, we hit a milestone when we produced the deliverable, which was the prototype. You can also use project dependencies —tasks that you can’t start until others are finished. Dependencies ensure that work only starts once it’s ready. Continuing the example, you can create a project dependency to require approval from the project lead before prototype testing begins.
If you’re using our free project plan template , you can easily organize your project around deliverables, dependencies, and milestones. That way, everyone on the team has clear visibility into the work within your project scope, and the milestones your team will be working towards.
Step 6: Outline your timeline and schedule
In order to achieve your project goals, you and your stakeholders need clarity on your overall project timeline and schedule. Aligning on the time frame you have can help you better prioritize during strategic planning sessions.
Not all projects will have clear-cut timelines. If you're working on a large project with a few unknown dates, consider creating a project roadmap instead of a full-blown project timeline. That way, you can clarify the order of operations of various tasks without necessarily establishing exact dates.
Once you’ve covered the high-level responsibilities, it’s time to focus some energy on the details. In your work plan template , start by breaking your project into tasks, ensuring no part of the process is skipped. Bigger tasks can even be broken down into smaller subtasks, making them more manageable.
Then, take each task and subtask, and assign it a start date and end date. You’ll begin to visually see everything come together in a cohesive project timeline . Be sure to add stakeholders, mapping out who is doing what by when.
Step 7: Share your communication plan
We’ve established that most projects include multiple stakeholders. That means communication styles will vary among them. You have an opportunity to set your expectations up front for this particular project in your project plan. Having a communication plan is essential for making sure everyone understands what’s happening, how the project is progressing, and what’s going on next. And in case a roadblock comes up, you’ll already have a clear communication system in place.
As you’re developing your communication plan, consider the following questions:
How many project-related meetings do you need to have? What are their goals?
How will you manage project status updates ? Where will you share them?
What tool will you use to manage the project and communicate progress and updates?
Like the other elements of your project plan, make sure your communication plan is easily accessible within your project plan. Stakeholders and cross-functional collaborators should be able to easily find these guidelines during the planning and execution phases of your project.
Example project plan
Next, to help you understand what your project management plan should look like, here are two example plans for marketing and design projects that will guide you during your own project planning.
Project plan example: annual content calendar
Let’s say you’re the Content Lead for your company, and it’s your responsibility to create and deliver on a content marketing calendar for all the content that will be published next year. You know your first step is to build your work plan. Here’s what it might look like:
Goals and success metrics
You establish that your goal for creating and executing against your content calendar is to increase engagement by 10%. Your success metrics are the open rate and click through rate on emails, your company’s social media followers, and how your pieces of content rank on search engines.
Stakeholders and each person’s role
There will be five people involved in this project.
You, Content Lead: Develop and maintain the calendar
Brandon and Jamie, Writers: Provide outlines and copy for each piece of content
Nate, Editor: Edit and give feedback on content
Paula, Producer: Publish the content once it’s written and edited
Your budget for the project plan and a year’s worth of content is $50,000.
Milestones and deliverables
Your first milestone is to finish the content calendar, which shows all topics for the year. The deliverable is a sharable version of the calendar. Both the milestone and the deliverables should be clearly marked on your project schedule.
You’ve determined that your schedule for your content calendar project plan will go as follows:
October 15 - November 1: The research phase to find ideas for topics for content
November 2 - November 30: Establish the topics you’ll write about
December 1 - January 1: Build the calendar
January 1 - December 31: Content will be written by Brandon and Jamie, and edited by Nate, throughout the year
January 16 - December 31: Paula will begin publishing and continue to do so on a rolling basis throughout the year.
You’ll have a kick-off meeting and then monthly update meetings as part of your communication plan. Weekly status updates will be sent on Friday afternoons. All project-related communication will occur within a project management tool .
How ClassPass manages project plans from start to finish
Kerry Hoffman, Senior Project Manager of Marketing Operations at ClassPass , oversees all marketing projects undertaken by the creative, growth, and content teams. Here are her top three strategies for managing project plans:
Identify stakeholders up front: No matter the size of the project, it’s critical to know who the stakeholders are and their role in the project so you ensure you involve the right people at each stage. This will also make the review and approval process clear before the team gets to work.
Agree on how you want to communicate about your project: Establish where and when communication should take place for your project to ensure that key information is captured in the right place so everyone stays aligned.
Be adaptable and learn other people’s working styles: Projects don’t always go according to plan, but by implementing proper integration management you can keep projects running smoothly. Also, find out how project members like to work so you take that into account as you create your plan. It will help things run smoother once you begin executing.
Write your next project plan like a pro
Congratulations—you’re officially a work planning pro. With a few steps, a little bit of time, and a whole lot of organization, you’ve successfully written a project plan.
Keep yourself and your team on track, and address challenges early by using a project management tool like Asana . Work through each of the steps of your project plan with confidence, and streamline your communications with the team.
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How to Make a Program Management Plan
A program is a collection of projects that relate to one another, and are therefore managed together in order to achieve maximum efficiencies. The advantages of managing these similar projects make them stand better together than by themselves.
However, that doesn’t mean they don’t programs don’t require the same laser focus on planning that individual projects require. A program management plan works similarly to any project plan in that it defines policies, procedures and processes to follow and reach your program goals and objectives.
Program Management vs Project Management
Before explaining what a program management plan is, it’s important that we’re clear on the difference between program and project management. In many ways, they’re similar—except for one fundamental difference.
That difference is that, in project management, your effort is directed solely at producing a final deliverable quickly, without impacting quality and staying on the agreed-upon timeline and budget. Program management, however, follows the lodestar of creating benefits to the organization with synergy from co-management of multiple projects.
Another difference is that projects can be contracted out. The organization running the project is working for a stakeholder, who can or cannot be part of that organization. A real estate company erecting a skyscraper is likely to seek bids from construction contractors, rather than execute the project in-house.
However, programs are managed almost always within an organization. That is, the program manager is not a contract worker, but a part of the larger business; and the program manager is integrally attached to their strategic goals and objectives.
To sum it up, projects are temporary and deliver a service or product, and programs are a group of related projects that are collectively managed to get benefits that cannot be achieved individually.
What is a Program Management Plan?
Managing anything requires a plan, and this is certainly true for programs.
A program management plan exists to manage, execute and control the program and its goals and objectives. Therefore, the program plan, like any plan, will outline the overview and strategy for the program. To do this, the program must be clearly defined and its scope outlined.
The plan is developed by a program manager, who understands the strategy and objectives of the program. A program plan is concerned more with benefits than deliverables. Its success parameters are not the same as a project in that it doesn’t necessarily need a quality deliverable on time and within budget. For a program plan, success lives in how the program is meeting the needs and benefits of the organization.
Key Elements of a Program Management Plan
Any program is going to have dependencies and constraints. The program plan must identify these and include them in the plan. This includes how the benefits of the program will be realized through its management.
Because a program is a collection of many projects, it is helpful to include a roadmap in the plan. A roadmap is usually set up as a timeline on which the tasks that make up the project are points, with start and end dates. However, since this is a program, there are several projects mapped across the timeline, which helps to strategize and collaborate.
The plan will include governance, an organizational structure and the process used to plan, control and execute the program plan. This includes a schedule, communication plan, procurement, risk, closeout procedure and all the other general aspects of creating any project plan.
You’ll need to define key deliverables. Even a program has deliverables, as it’s made up of projects. The deliverables might not be the prime reason for the program, but they are important milestones that need to be understood.
Tips for Creating a Program Management Plan
When making a program management plan, there are certain things you need to keep in mind. They tend to be similar to creating a project management plan but stay aware of the differences between the two. Remember, a project plan is directed towards its deliverable, but programs have a more strategic goal for PMOs .
List Goals & Objectives
That said, the first thing anyone making any plan needs to do is define what they’re trying to achieve. List the goals and objectives to make sure your plan stays within those parameters. You can’t achieve your goals if they’re not clear.
Therefore, communication, as in all projects, is paramount. Without a designated channel, determined frequency and targets, to who your messages are aimed, there are going to be problems.
Communication includes keeping stakeholders updated. In the case of programs, the stakeholders are those in your organization, usually at an executive level, who want to see the return on their investment reflected in your program reporting. The program plan needs to outline those communications, how often and with what materials, including defining their expectations.
Make a Timeline
Next, you’re going to have to deal with the timeline and scope of all the projects in your program. This means your overall budget and how it reigns in the scope of your program. You’re going to have to find a balance between those two aspects of the program. While you don’t have a schedule that ends with a quality deliverable, you do have a series of smaller deadlines inherent in each project that must be managed in your program plan.
Include Your Stakeholders
Be sure to sure you plan not only with stakeholders but your team. Transparency is important. The team are on the front lines of your project, and they will provide you with valuable data through their engagement and observation. In turn, you want them to know the program plan, so they can make educated choices when forced to act.
Once you’ve met with stakeholders and the teams responsible for executing the various projects, you have both a macro and micro view of the project. This will inform your program plan as you finalize it.
How ProjectManager Helps with Program Management Plans
Don’t forget that all this planning can be facilitated by an online program management tool, such as ProjectManager. Our online tool makes sure you have the most current information to make better, data-driven decisions.
Managing a program is hard, but it’s even more difficult if you’re jumping from project to project to gather data. With our Overview Projects view, you get a list of every project in your program. You see the project title, who is managing it, the team executing it and the status. From this high-level view you can manage your program.
Create Custom Program Dashboards
From the Overview Projects view, you can also organize and group your projects. When you select certain projects and group them in a folder, you can then filter by this group on the Overview Dashboard, which shows six charts tracking program metrics such as health, workload and progress. With this high-level view of your program’s progress and performance, you can catch issues and make changes to fine-tune the effectiveness of your program.
Track Your Projects with a Roadmap
Another powerful tool is the program roadmap, which collects all the projects in your program and displays them on a Gantt chart timeline. You get to see all of your programs down to the task level in one place and how they relate to one another and if there are any dependencies. But this isn’t a static view. Filter by assignee, project manager or customer, see duration, planned start and finish dates and more. Show stakeholders key metrics during presentations.
To match resources to the capacity of your program, we have robust resource management for your entire program. Features help you track, manage and report on the resources across your program. Our workload page gives you the tools to balance your teams’ workload to boost productivity.
ProjectManager is an award-winning online tool that helps programs get organized to maximize their profitability. Our real-time dashboard, dynamic roadmaps and one-click reporting give you the tools to manage, track and report on progress and performance to keep your program aligned with overall strategic goals. See how we can help your program management plan by taking this free 30-day trial today.
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How to Create a Project Scope Management Plan
Industry Advice Management
All projects are constrained by a number of factors. For example, cost, time, quality, benefits, risks, and scope are among the major constraints that all project managers must work within in order to bring their project to completion. While understanding each constraint is crucial to a project manager’s success , scope is arguably the most critical factor, because it outlines all of the work that does and doesn’t fall within the project.
Below, we define “scope” as it relates to project management, explore the scope management process, and walk through the steps necessary to create a scope management plan.
What is project scope?
The term project scope refers to all of the discrete work and actions that are required to deliver the project’s stated objectives and deliverables on time and within budget. These objectives and deliverables are typically derived from the project charter, which defines the statement of objectives in a project; sets project goals, roles, and responsibilities; and identifies stakeholders. Ultimately it is the project charter that will provide the project framework required to plan the scope management process.
In layman’s terms, a project’s scope identifies what is and is not a part of the project.
A project’s scope is typically captured in a scope statement and defined by a work breakdown structure (WBS)—two important documents that are subsidiary to the project plan.
What is scope creep?
Scope creep is the phenomenon by which a project’s requirements increase over the course of the project’s life cycle, beyond what was initially indicated in the project plan. There are many potential causes for scope creep. The Project Management Institute (PMI) defines the top five causes as:
- Ambiguous or unrefined scope definition
- Lack of any formal scope or requirements management
- Inconsistent process for collecting product requirements
- Lack of sponsorship and stakeholder involvement
- Project length
Left unchecked, scope creep can lead to missed deadlines, blown budgets, and the delivery of a finished project that does not match the outlined purpose of the project charter. It’s for this reason that scope management is so important to the success of a project.
What is scope management?
Scope management is the process of identifying and defining what actions are required to deliver a project’s requirements. It also involves ensuring that that work is completed according to the project’s schedule and budget. Though scope management allows for changes to a project’s requirements and objectives, it also puts in place a formal change process in order to account for and minimize scope creep that could otherwise derail the project.
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Scope management involves taking a variety of inputs and using various tools and techniques to generate outputs that will guide the process. Below is a quick breakdown of the different phases of the typical scope management process, as well as the outputs that will typically be generated during that phase:
- Planning Scope Management: Outputs include the scope management plan and requirements management plan
- Collecting Requirements: Outputs include requirements documentation as well as the requirements traceability matrix
- Defining Scope : Outputs include the project scope statement and project documents updates
- Creating the WBS: Outputs include the scope baseline and project documents updates
- Validating Scope: Outputs include accepted deliverables, change requests, work performance information, and project documents updates
- Controlling Scope: Outputs include work performance information, change requests, project management plan updates, project documents updates, and organizational process assets updates
How to Create a Scope Management Plan
Below is an overview of the main steps involved in creating a scope management plan.
1. Collect the required inputs.
This includes the project management plan, project charter, enterprise environmental factors (EEFs), and organizational process assets (OPA), which you will reference and leverage to generate the scope management plan.
2. Generate a work breakdown structure (WBS).
The work breakdown structure (WBS) is a document, typically in chart format, that outlines a project’s deliverables according to a set hierarchy.
For Example: Consider a woodworker who must create a chair for a client. This chair is the main project deliverable, and as such would sit at the top level of the WBS. In the second level of the WBS would be all of the component pieces of the chair: The leg, backing, etc. If any of those individual components have their own components, those pieces would go on the third level of the WBS. This type of breakdown would continue until every component has been accounted for.
Though the WBS does not in and of itself contain cost estimates, scheduling, activity dependencies, or resource assignments, it supports the creation of all of those discrete pieces of information, making it a critical piece of scope management.
3. Translate your WBS into discrete tasks.
Once all of the project’s deliverables are outlined in the WBS, they must be translated into discrete tasks. This will require that:
- The project’s activities be defined
- The activities be sequenced in a logical way
- The duration of the activities, the resources required to complete them, and the cost of completion be estimated
- Resources be assigned to complete each activity
4. Identify project requirements.
In order to create an accurate scope statement, you must understand the business and stakeholder requirements that will guide the project. Without these requirements, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to be confident that the project addresses everything it is required to.
A project’s requirements are typically captured in a document called the requirements management plan. This document defines a project’s approach to requirements management, including the methodology that will be used for identifying, prioritizing, and tracking these requirements.
The first step in generating a scope management plan is to compile the requirements management plan. This will also involve identifying the project’s stakeholders .
5. Develop a scope statement.
Armed with an understanding of the project’s requirements, it is now possible to begin developing the project scope statement . This document compiles a detailed description of all of the work that must be done in order to deliver the project’s requirements within its specified budget and schedule.
Once the scope has been defined, it must also be validated and then controlled throughout the project.
6. Define your processes.
Finally, it’s important to outline the processes that will guide the project’s scope management philosophy as the project team works toward delivering upon the project’s requirements. Doing so will remove any confusion or ambiguity before the project’s activities begin in earnest, while also providing a clear path forward.
Some of the most important questions to be answered during this step include:
- How will project deliverables be formally approved?
- How will the WBS and project scope be maintained over the course of the project?
- Who will be responsible for maintaining these components, while policing against scope creep?
- How will change requests be controlled and documented?
- What tools, technology, and methodologies will be used?
Developing Your Scope Management Skills
Scope management is one of the most important parts of being a project manager. In addition to being how you ensure that a project delivers upon its requirements and objectives, it’s also the best method for preventing scope creep from derailing your ability to complete the project successfully. Learning how to effectively manage your project’s scope will be essential if you wish to pursue a career in project management.
Many individuals who choose to go into the field do so by completing a formal project management education such as a master of science in project management. If you are considering taking such a step, it’s important to ensure you are choosing a program that includes scope management in the curriculum.
The Master of Science in Project Management at Northeastern was designed to teach students everything they need to know about working in the field of project management. This includes coursework focused specifically on scope management, which offers insights into how projects are defined, evaluated, and ultimately translated into manageable project requirements and concrete deliverables. Taught by faculty members with real-world experience working in project management and paired with experiential learning opportunities in the form of co-ops and internships, there’s no better way of preparing yourself for a career in project management .
To learn how a master’s degree in project management can help advance your career, download our free guide to breaking into the industry below.
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About scott w. o'connor, related articles.
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Project Manager vs. Product Manager: What’s the Difference?
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Employers will need to fill 2.2 million new project-oriented roles each year through 2027. (PMI, 2017)
Master of Science in Project Management
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How to Create a Project Plan in 5 Simple Steps
Every project tells a story about its goals, team, timing, and deliverables—and it requires detailed project planning and management to get the story right. Some of those stories are short and to the point while others are epic novels rife with twists and turns.
No matter the length or level of drama, every story is based on a story arc or an outline—or as we call it in the project management world, a project plan.
What is project planning?
What is a project management plan.
- Project planning steps
How to create a project plan in TeamGantt
Simple project plan examples, free project planning templates, project planning definitions.
Before we dive into the process basics, let’s start with a couple of definitions.
Project planning is the process of defining the project scope , objectives, and steps needed to get the work done. It's one of the most important processes in project management. The output of the project planning process is a project management plan.
A project management plan—also known as a project plan—is a document that outlines the process your team will use to manage the project according to scope to meet its stated objectives. The purpose of a project plan is to map out the steps and resources it will take to complete a project on time and budget.
A project plan communicates vital information—such as deadlines, assignments, and key milestones —to all project stakeholders and is integral to project success. It is most commonly represented in the form of a gantt chart to make it easy to ensure work stays on track.
Project planning steps: How to write a good project plan
Poor planning can lead to some pretty ugly consequences—from missed deadlines and budget overages to team burnout and client frustration. That’s why it’s important to establish a solid process you can use to plan any project.
Planning a project doesn’t have to be difficult. These basic project planning steps can help you write a plan that’s both realistic and on target.
- Start with research and preplanning
- Draft a rough outline of your project plan
- Build out your detailed project schedule
- Present and confirm your plan
- Execute your plan and adjust as needed
Rather watch than read? Check out our video tutorial on how to make a realistic project plan.
Step 1: Start with research and preplanning
A project plan is more than a dry document with dates. It’s the story of your project, and you don’t want it to be a tall tale! So make sure you know all the facts before you start creating a project plan.
Understand the project scope and value
Understanding the ins and outs of the project will help you determine the best process and identify any snags that might get in the way of success. Conduct your own research to dig deeper on:
- Project goals and outcomes
- Partnerships and outlying dependencies
- Potential issues and risks
Dive into any communications that are relevant to the project. Review the scope of work and related documents (maybe an RFP or notes from sales calls or meetings with your client team). Be thorough in your research to uncover critical project details, and ask thoughtful questions before you commit to anything.
Interview key stakeholders
If you want to dazzle stakeholders with a stellar project delivery, you’ve got to know how they work and what they expect. Schedule time with your main project contact, and ask them some tough questions about process, organizational politics, and general risks before creating a project plan.
This will give project stakeholders confidence that your team has the experience to handle any difficult personality or situation. It also shows you care about the success of the project from the start.
Be sure to discuss these things with your stakeholders:
- Product ownership and the decision-making process
- Stakeholder interest/involvement levels
- Key outages, meetings, deadlines, and driving factors
- Related or similar projects, goals, and outcomes
- The best way to communicate with partners and stakeholders
See a list of sample interview questions to ask stakeholders so you can develop better project plans.
Get to know your team
The last step in the research phase is to take time to learn more about the people who’ll be responsible for the work. Sit down with your team and get to know their:
- Collaboration and communication styles
- Availability and workload
Understanding these basics about your team will help you craft a thoughtful plan that takes their work styles and bandwidth into consideration. After all, a happy team delivers better projects.
Step 2: Draft a rough outline of your project plan
Now that you’ve gathered the basic project details, the next step is to knock out a rough draft of your plan. Take some time to think about the discussions you had in the pre-planning phase and the approach your team might take to meet the project goals.
Sketch out the main components of your project plan
Sit down with a pen and paper (or a whiteboard), and outline how the project should work at a high level. Be sure you have a calendar close by to check dates.
If you’re at a loss for where to begin, start with the who, what, when, and how of the project. Any solid project plan should answer these questions:
- What are the major deliverables?
- How will we get to those deliverables and the deadline?
- Who’s on the project team, and what role will they play in those deliverables?
- When will the team meet milestones?
- When will other members of the team play a role in contributing to or providing feedback on those deliverables?
A first outline can be very rough and might look something like a work breakdown structure , as noted in our chapter on project estimation . Make sure your project plan outline includes the following components:
- Deliverables and the tasks taken to create them
- Your client’s approval process
- Timeframes associated with tasks/deliverables
- Ideas on resources needed for tasks/deliverables
- A list of the assumptions you’re making in the plan
- A list of absolutes as they relate to the project budget and/or deadlines
Considering these elements will help you avoid surprises—or at least minimize them. And remember, you’re doing this as a draft so you can use it as a conversation-starter for your team. It’s not final yet!
Get input from your team on process, effort, and timing
You don’t want to put yourself or your team in an awkward position by not coming to a consensus on the approach before presenting it to your client. That's why a project manager can’t be the only one writing a project plan.
Once you’ve sketched out a basic outline of your plan, take those rough ideas and considerations to your team. This enables you to invite discussion about what might work rather than simply dictating a process. After all, every project must begin with clear communication of the project goals and the effort required to meet them.
Be sure to get input from your team on how they can complete the tasks at hand without killing the budget and the team’s morale. As a project manager, you can decide on Agile vs. Waterfall approaches , but when it comes down to it, you need to know that the team can realistically execute the plan.
You can also use this project plan review time to question your own thinking and push the team to take a new approach to the work. For example, if you’re working on a website design project plan , could designers start creating visual concepts while the wireframes are being developed? Or can you have two resources working on the same task at once?
Running ideas by the team and having an open dialogue about the approach not only helps you build a more accurate project plan. It gets everyone thinking about the project in the same terms. This type of buy-in and communication builds trust and gets people excited about working together to solve a goal. It can work wonders for the greater good of your team and project.
Step 3: Build out your detailed project schedule
You should feel comfortable enough at this point to put together a rock-solid project schedule using whatever tool works for you. (Ahem, TeamGantt works nicely for a lot of happy customers. )
Build your project plan
Any good online project planning tool will help you formalize your thoughts and lay them out in a consistent, visual format that’s easy to follow and track. Make sure tasks, durations, milestones, and dates are crystal-clear, and try to keep your project plan simple. The easier it is to read, the better!
See the steps for creating a project plan in TeamGantt
Be as flexible as possible when it comes to how your project plan is presented. There's no absolute when it comes to how to format your project plan as long as you and your team understand what goes into one.
Remember, people absorb information differently. While you might be partial to a gantt chart , others might prefer to view tasks in a list, calendar, or even a kanban board . You can make all of those variations work if you’ve taken the steps to create a solid plan.
TeamGantt gives you the ability to quickly and easily build and adjust a project plan using a simple drag and drop feature. Plus, it comes with customizable views to fit every team member’s work style. Try it out, and create a project plan for free!
If your team currently prefers spreadsheets and isn’t quite ready to use TeamGantt yet, try our free Excel gantt chart template .
Step 4: Present and confirm your plan
You’re almost finished! You’ve done your research, outlined your approach, discussed it with your team, and built your formal project plan.
Now it’s time to do your due diligence. It’s easy to throw stuff in a plan, but you have to make sure you get it right.
Run your final plan by your internal team
Your team needs to know the reality of your plan as it stands after you’ve built it out in TeamGantt. And you want to be sure they’re comfortable committing to the details. If they don’t, things will quickly fall apart!
Always review your final plan with your team before delivering it to stakeholders. Why? Because things like dates and tasks—and even assignments—will shift as you formalize the rough sketch of your plan.
Here are a few things you’ll want to discuss with your team as you review the final plan together:
- Review times
- Team work times
- Time off, meetings, and milestones
- The final deadline
- Any assumptions you’ve made
- Major changes since your last talk
There’s nothing more embarrassing than delivering a plan with an error or a promise you can’t keep. Taking a few minutes to get buy-in from your team will give everyone peace of mind about your plan.
Review your project plan with stakeholders
Once you’ve confirmed the plan with your team and have their full sign-off, you’re ready to share your project plan with stakeholders .
When delivering your project plan, make sure you provide an executive summary. This might come in the form of a project brief or project charter . A short recap of the overall methodology, resources, assumptions, deadlines, and related review times will help you convey what the plan means to the project and everyone involved.
Project plans can be daunting, so schedule time to present your project plan to your stakeholders at a high level. Here are some things you’ll want to point out about your plan during this review:
- Overall process and pacing
- Major deliverables and timing
- The time they’ll have to review deliverables
- Overall timing for task groups or phases
- How far off you are from the deadline
- Wiggle room on the final deadline
If a stakeholder is interested in the day-to-day details, feel free to walk them through the plan line by line. Otherwise, start by explaining overall sections or phases, and be sure to come back to your plan at intervals throughout the project to remind them of tasks, next steps, and overall progress.
Step 5: Execute your plan and adjust as needed
Some projects are smooth and easy to manage, and others are a complete nightmare that wake you up at 3 a.m. every other night. Thankfully, having a solid project plan is your best defense against project chaos once work gets underway.
Work your plan
Keep in mind that project plans are living documents. Projects change constantly, and someone has to stay on top of—and document—that change. Remember to:
- Update your plan regularly as work progresses and things change
- Communicate changes to your team, partners, and stakeholders
- Monitor and communicate risks as your project evolves
Learn how to manage change requests like a pro.
Ready to plan your project in TeamGantt? Follow these easy steps to build a plan that’s structured well and includes the elements you need for project success.
1. Enter your basic project details.
To create a new project plan in TeamGantt, click the New Project button in the upper right corner of the My Projects screen. Then enter your project name and start date, and select the days of the week you want to include in your plan. Click Create New Project to move on to the next step.
2. List out your project tasks and milestones.
Now the real planning fun begins! Enter all the different tasks it will take to get the job done. If there are any key meetings, deliverable deadlines, or approvals, add those as milestones in your project plan.
3. Organize tasks into subgroups.
Scrolling through one long list of tasks can be mind-numbing, even to the best of us. Break tasks down into phases or sections to ensure your project plan is easy to read and understand.
4. Add task durations and milestone dates to the project timeline.
A visual project plan makes it easy to see exactly what needs to get done by when. Make sure every task has a start and end date so nothing falls through the cracks. TeamGantt’s drag and drop feature makes this planning step quick and easy.
5. Connect related tasks with dependencies.
Adding dependencies between tasks ensures work gets done in the right order and also helps you plan for delay risks. If your plan shifts and you need to move tasks around, dependencies speed up the process.
6. Assign responsible team members to tasks.
That way there’s no confusion about who’s doing what, and your team can update and manage their daily tasks . Don’t forget to check team availability along the way to avoid overloading anyone with too much work.
7. Use the RACI chart to define task roles more clearly.
This feature takes accountability one step further by letting you assign more specific roles to each task: Responsible , Accountable , Consulted , and Informed . Learn how RACI charts work and what each role means.
8. Add hourly estimates and/or points to each task.
This makes it easy to see the lift each task involves at a glance. Including hourly estimates in your project plan also enables you to manage workloads and track overages more accurately.
9. Color-code tasks for better scannability.
You can use colors to categorize tasks by project phase, priority, department, or team member—whatever makes visual sense to you and your team.
10. Add notes to clarify tasks or spell out important details.
There’s no such thing as too much information if it means your team has what they need to deliver quality work on time. Use the Notes section of your Discussion tab to enter any pertinent details your team will find helpful.
11. Upload important documents to the project.
This ensures project files are accessible to everyone in a centralized hub. You might attach your scope document , project requirements , risk assessment matrix , or even a creative brief to guide your team to successful completion.
If you’re planning a project for the first time or taking on a totally new type of project, you might be struggling to get your plan off the ground. So let’s take a look at a couple of project management plan examples you can use to generate ideas for your own planning.
Example project plan for building a house
Building a house requires coordination of crews and materials on top of tasks and timelines. That’s why planning is especially critical in construction project management .
The video below walks you through an example of a project management plan using our free construction schedule template . It’s a simple place to start if you’re building a house and need to make a project plan quickly.
Watch our construction plan template tutorial.
Agile project plan example
You might think gantt charts and Agile projects don’t mix. But a hybrid approach enables you to plan and track Agile sprints on a traditional timeline, while maintaining a flexible workflow.
In this sample Agile project plan, we built each sprint out as its own task group, with milestones for sprint planning and deployment.
The bonus? Your team can use kanban boards in TeamGantt to manage their daily workflow.
Want to save time creating your next project plan? We created a whole library of project templates you can use to jumpstart your planning process!
Check out these free project plan templates:
- Marketing plan templates
- Design & creative project plan templates
- Event planning and management templates
- Software development project planning templates
- Construction plan templates
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Here’s how to create an efficient project plan
Life’s better when you have a plan. With a plan you’re more likely to achieve your goals and complete successful projects.
Poor planning, or worse, no planning causes unnecessary strain and stress to you, your team, and your stakeholders.
You’ll waste precious time, resources, and energy that could’ve been put to better use. In some cases, poor planning can even hurt your credibility, ruin relationships, or cost you future business opportunities.
In this article, we’ll teach you how to create the perfect project plan , outline the benefits, and recommend a modern solution to creating a simple project plan your whole team will love.
What is a project plan?
A project plan, or project management plan, is a document that identifies, prioritizes, and assigns the tasks and resources required to successfully complete a project.
A project plan shouldn’t be confused with ongoing operational work. A project has a clear start and end date with the intention of delivering something by a specific date. And the planning aspect of a project covers the why, what, when, who, and how.
Planning accounts for the big picture, the project deliverables or scope, expenses, timeline, people involved, and the process to get there.
Project plans come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and formats. For a small Agile project, your initial plan may only be 1–2 pages, or displayed in a visual template like this one from monday.com :
For larger, more traditional projects, the plan could be dozens or even hundreds of pages with multiple appendices and attachments.
In project management, project planning comes immediately after the initiation phase.
With proper planning, you’ll streamline your project through a series of logical steps that maximize resource availability and finish the project as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Get started with monday.com
How to create a project plan
Typically your project sponsor or client will require some sort of project plan, including a timeline before launching into the execution of the project.
Ideally, it would have a Gantt chart , detailed project scope, project schedule, and any other items pertinent to the project stakeholder group.
( Image Source )
Here’s how the planning process typically goes:
1. Conduct research and interviews
Stakeholder interviews are an excellent research tool . Who better to give you guidance than those funding the project or directly benefiting from the project’s completion. To maximize your time, either record the interviews or take detailed notes.
Ask questions that dig deep on topics such as:
- Project goals, potential risks, and noteworthy team dynamics
- Project ownership and decision-maker involvement
- The stakeholder interest level and savvy
- Key dates or outages that are pertinent to the project management process
- Key aspects of similar projects and both their successes and shortcomings
- Preferred communication methods and frequency
The better your questions, the better your odds are of completing the project to their satisfaction.
2. Create a rough draft
It’ll probably be an ugly first draft, but that’s okay. Only you have to see it for now. Write up a simple project plan with a notebook or on a whiteboard — some place that’s easy to visualize key steps and make adjustments.
During the rough draft phase, you’ll determine whether it’s a better fit to follow the Agile project methodology or perhaps use a Waterfall system. Maybe some sort of hybrid.
What’s included in the draft will depend on the project methodology you select, the complexity and size of the project, and the level of detail you, your team, and your stakeholders need to see.
Most project management plans should include:
- Your scope statement and scope management plan
- Initial project schedule and schedule management plan
- Initial project budget and budget management plan
- Resource management plan
- Communication management plan
- Risk management plan
Other topics you may want to include are:
- Stakeholder management
- Quality management
- Change management
- Procurement management
3. Review the draft with your team
Now it’s time to share your findings. A brief project planning meeting can really help build a collaborative environment that instills mutual trust, enthusiasm, and ownership over the project.
Here’s where knowing your team and keeping them involved makes all the difference. Some key elements of this project plan step are:
- Figuring out the expertise and interests of your team members
- Knowing who’s responsible for what and when
- Understanding which teams will collaborate throughout the project
- Awareness of the project’s timeline and any conflicting project assignments that may interfere with your timeline
4. Formalize your project plan and schedule
Now that you and your project team are on the same page, and everyone’s agreed on the plan, it’s time to formalize the scope, budget, and project schedule.
You can do this by inputting your project baselines into your project management platform.
If you’re working with a powerful Work OS like monday.com, this will allow you to easily track the original plan and any changes to it as work progresses.
A collaborative platform like monday.com also makes it super simple to share the final plan — and any future updates — with all your key stakeholders, so everyone is always on the same page.
5. Launch the project and switch gears
Planning may be complete, but that doesn’t mean you won’t stop making adjustments. In project management, things are continually changing.
Your project plan is a living, breathing document that will evolve over time.
Deadlines sometimes get missed, people get sick, process changes occur, and new stakeholders join the team. All of which have the potential to throw things off track.
The best thing you can do is plan for change and remain flexible so you can easily adapt to change and make necessary adjustments.
While you’re at it, communicate change and possible risks to your client as soon as possible, so there are no surprises that affect deliverables or the project’s timeline.
monday.com makes project management planning feel easy
monday.com knows project planning boils down to communication. If everyone on your team is on the same page, it’s easier to get things done and leap closer to project success.
Project planning software provides a transparent view of all the tasks required to complete your project, who’s owning them, and timing details such as start dates, milestones, deadlines, and end dates.
With monday.com, you can create a simple project plan full of the details your team needs to be successful.
Here are a few features you’ll love:
- 30+ unique column types that are fully customizable and guarantee complete freedom to do work on your terms.
- 8+ data visualizations, including the Gantt chart, which often provides the best timeline view for executing on your project management plan.
- Unlimited automation recipes that eliminate time-consuming admin work and minimizes costly human errors.
- Intuitive communication tools that give your team and stakeholders real-time updates.
As you can see, the feature list feels endless, but the software is still easy to navigate and use.
But don’t take our word for it. Check out the High Level Project Plan template and see for yourself!
Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, knew quite a bit about adversity and planning successful projects.
One of the most insightful things he said during his presidency was, “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”
monday.com makes it easy for your team to always know where to find the next step in the project plan. Get started today by signing up for monday.com.
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How to Create a Winning Project Plan
Smartsheet Contributor Kate Eby
May 25, 2022
Creating a project plan can be overwhelming, but that doesn’t always have to be the case. We provide the basics steps for how to write a project plan.
In this article, you’ll learn how to write a project plan . You’ll find helpful tips and a downloadable template starter kit so that you don’t have to worry about formatting and can hit the ground running.
What Is a Project Plan?
A project plan is a document that outlines what’s needed to complete a project. This can cover a project scope overview, a budget breakdown, a detailed schedule of deliverables, and a rundown of potential risks and stakeholders.
A project plan contains much of the same information as a project charter, but includes finalized details and a more specific schedule and budget. Think of a project charter as the blueprint for your project plan; the charter lays out your intent before the project begins. A project plan maps out the processes necessary to complete it. Your project plan should always be up to date and serve as a source of truth for a project’s status.
How to Write a Project Plan
Writing a project plan starts with finalizing your project information. Create an overview and a scope statement, determine a deliverables schedule, and define a budget. Include a risk management strategy, a communication plan, and any other documents your project needs.
Project planning is fundamentally about balancing the goals, schedule, and costs in a way that demonstrates that you can control the project’s scope. You may consider adopting the use of project planning templates to maintain consistency between projects and build on them over time.
A project plan also includes all the supporting documents that walk your stakeholders, clients, and team through the project.
1. Write a Project Overview
The overview is a short introduction to the project, not exceeding a page or so in length. Summarize the high-level details, covering project goals, deliverables, success measurements, and dependencies. Include the project’s sponsors and their titles, and name the project.
Add links to project portals or dashboards to give stakeholders a place to conveniently check on status and to access more detailed documents in the project plan.
Download Project Overview Statement Template Microsoft Word | Adobe PDF
Use this template to provide a high-level summary of a project’s goals, scope, risks, schedule, budget, and success metrics. Add links to your company’s risk management plan , a detailed budget, and your project schedule. This template is fully customizable, so you can add or remove text to include only the information you need.
2. Define the Project’s Scope
Outlining your project’s scope is important for controlling scope creep . Define the project’s deliverables and goals. It is just as crucial to highlight what is within a project’s scope as what is outside of it.
A project’s scope may shift, but consider the changes against the project as a whole and update them in the project plan when approved.
3. Create a Project Schedule
The project schedule should be visual and easy to read, showing how each task contributes to the project’s main goal. Note the people and resources needed for each task and subtask, how long each will take, and the dependencies between them.
Depending on your project management strategy, you might consider using Gantt charts , Kanban boards , or shared calendars to create the schedule. Whatever you choose, ensure that your project status is updated on the schedule and that tasks are marked when started, completed, or falling behind.
Leave room in your schedule for roadblocks, emergencies, and tasks that may take more time. Consult with your team about how long each task has required in the past and use their feedback to inform the schedule. Create the schedule based on how long the work takes, not how long you wish it would take.
Download Project Schedule Template Microsoft Excel | Google Sheets | Smartsheet
Use this customizable project schedule template to create a visual map of your project’s tasks and phases. The template will use any dates you add to the matrix to create a Gantt chart. You also have space for project notes.
4. Finalize the Project Budget
Your project plan should have the approved spending plan or time-phased budget that lists all costs by time period. Make sure to itemize the budget and keep it as close to reality as possible. Include room in the budget for unforeseen and emergency expenditures, and account for any additional resources you may need. Plan to update it immediately when emergencies arise or when tasks cost more. It is important to know ahead of time what kind of costs need executive approval and to make a plan to get that approval ahead of time.
Download Project Budget Template Microsoft Excel | Google Sheets
Use this customizable project budget template to create a detailed, line-item budget for the project. Add labor and materials rates or the fixed cost for each task in your project. The template will automatically calculate the costs and compare your actual budget to your estimates, so it’s easy to tell if you’re going over.
5. Identify a Risk Management Strategy
Make a list of the specific risks your project faces, and outline a strategy to manage them . If your company already has a general risk management plan in place, it may not be necessary to reproduce it in your project plan as long as you highlight the individual risks that apply to your project. Talk to other project managers and your team about the obstacles they faced, and ask for tips for addressing similar challenges.
6. Write a Communication Plan
Create a communication plan to establish how and when you’ll share updates with stakeholders. The plan will list your project’s key stakeholders and team members, as well as their contact information and when they should receive project updates. You can use this document to outline the kinds of updates each stakeholder wishes to receive, and map out a schedule for planned meetings and reports.
Download Project Communication Plan Template Microsoft Word | Adobe PDF | Google Docs
Download this project communication plan template to document your key stakeholders’ contact details and their preferred contact style and frequency. Input your communication goals and customize the plan to include scheduled meetings, progress reports, and status reports.
7. Finalize All Documents and Get Sponsor Approval
The final project plan should include all of the information above and any additional documents that might be relevant to your particular project.
Additional elements you might include in a project plan include the following:
- A link to your project charter
- A quality assurance plan
- Your work breakdown structure
- Your project management methodology or framework
- Links and access to necessary permits and certifications
Present the final plan to your sponsor and get their approval. If they request any changes, take this opportunity to make them.
8. Save and Share Your Plan
Once you’ve approved your project plan, save it in a centralized, easily accessible location, and share it with project stakeholders and your team. Ensure that all schedule and budget documents are updated regularly so that the project plan always accurately reflects your project’s status. Any critical changes to the plan itself should only be adjusted through the approved change control and management process.
Tips for Writing a Good Project Plan
Writing a good project plan begins with good organization. Use templates and software to keep your plan up to date and accessible.
Follow these tips for writing a good project plan:
- Write Clearly: Don’t complicate the plan with details that your audience already knows, such as your organization’s existing risk management or change control policies . Provide the information that your readers need to know about the specific project, not the entire company.
- Use Formatting and Be Specific: Some people will skim the plan, while others will pore over every detail. To make it consumable for all, use visual charts for schedules and budgets, bullet points for lists, and bold fonts to highlight important details. The skimmers will get the high-level information they need, and the detail-oriented will be able to drill down into the information they want.
- Keep It Updated: Even though the project plan contains a series of documents, don’t let it become something that stakeholders ignore or forget because it no longer has relevant information. Use an updated project plan to maintain support and enthusiasm for the work ahead.
- Use Your Project Charter: The project charter is the basis for your project plan. A detailed project charter includes similar information. Build off of the speculative schedules and budgets you already created.
- Use Templates and Software: Using project plan templates for your project plan documents is a great way to ensure consistency between teams and projects. Many project management software solutions also provide methods for creating, organizing, and sharing project plan information as well.
- Involve Your Team: Make sure to talk with your team before the project starts. They are the people who ensure the project succeeds, so get their input and buy-in during the planning process. They will likely have insight that you do not, and they will ask questions that will surface important details. Involving your team in the planning process also builds trust, as they feel closer to the project and more invested in its success.
Project Plan Starter Kit
Download Project Plan Starter Kit
We’ve collected the templates above to create a project plan starter kit that makes it easy to write your own project plan. In this kit, you’ll find customizable templates to create a project overview, a project budget, a detailed schedule, and a communication plan. Together, these documents form the foundation of a solid project plan and will help get your project off the ground.
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Create a work breakdown structure. Break down the project's scope into smaller, more manageable deliverables and groups of related tasks, also known as "work packages." This will allow you to assign resources to different parts of the project based on the skills needed.
We'll cover how to: Step 1: Identify the goal of the project Step 2: Map out the scope Step 3: Develop an outline or plan Step 4: Share this initial idea with your team Step 5: Finalize your plan Step 6: Use a Gantt chart to keep things organized Step 7: Distribute your project management plan Step 8: Hold a project post mortem
Regardless of how you organize your executive summary, it should give your stakeholders a preview of what's to come in the rest of the project management plan. 2. Plot your project schedule visually with a Gantt chart A carefully planned project schedule is key to the success of any project.
Here are 3 ways you can use Teamwork to supercharge your project management plan. Add your supporting documentation to Teamwork Spaces Use the Teamwork and Teamwork Spaces integration to link a project in Teamwork with a space in Teamwork Spaces, so your important project documents are only ever a click away.
The Project manager creates the project management plan following inputs from the project team and the key stakeholders. A Project management plan is a formal, approved document that defines how the project is executed, monitored, and controlled.
How To Create a Project Management Plan in 7 Steps To create a project management plan, first put together a high overview of the basics of your project, including the project's...
Creating a project management plan is a simple and straightforward process if you follow a structure like the one below. Step #1: Highlight key points with an executive summary. The executive summary is a brief description of your project management plan that gives a description and a high level overview of the project plan.
To help you out, here are five easy steps to create a project management plan: 1. Do your research and ask the right questions Gates and his team would never start a quest without brushing up on their history. While it improves their knowledge area, it also gives them clarity over how to solve the challenge!
Wrike is the most powerful work management platform on the market, enabling teams to plan projects and collaborate in real time. Our award-winning software is trusted by 20,000+ companies across the globe, including Sony, Estée Lauder, and Siemens. Wrike's customizable features include Gantt charts, request forms, dashboards, cross-tagging, time tracking, and proofing.
An individual development plan is a customized agreement between an employee and their employer that details new skills to be acquired or learned and how performance can be enhanced within a specific time frame. It also includes an action plan for these goals. By creating a documented process, the plan lays out an employee's perceived ...
Here are the six basic elements of a project execution plan: 1. Project Scope. The project scope is a broad view of objectives and a detailed list of all the elements involved in the project. Define the project scope by identifying what needs to get done. Do this in specific terms.
How to develop a project management plan Here are nine steps you can follow to develop an accurate project management plan to improve your deliverables: 1. Establish the project's goals and objectives Clearly defining the proposal goals for your project can help you receive approval for its scope.
The very word "plan" is open for discussion in the project management world. In a traditional sense, planning is crucial for a project's success. On the other hand, in the Agile environment, planning is more of a guideline for the project's progress. That being said, let's have a look at how to create an Agile project management plan.
To create a project schedule, further, divide the phases of your project into individual tasks and activities, determine dependencies, sequence the activities, and estimate the required resources and duration of each task. The information you compile in this process may reveal necessary adjustments in your roles, timeline, and/or budget.
The creation of your plan should start with a project management plan template. The length and level of detail included in the plan will depend on your organization and project. Many companies will already have an internal template they prefer to use, that outlines the level of information they need.
To create a clear project management plan, you need a way to track all of your moving parts. No matter what type of project you're planning, every work plan should have: Goals and project objectives Success metrics Stakeholders and roles Scope and budget Milestones, deliverables, and project dependencies Timeline and schedule Communication plan
A project plan template is a pre-formatted document that provides a structure for creating a comprehensive project plan. The template typically includes headings and sections for key elements of a project plan, such as project scope, timeline, resource requirements, budget, risk management, communication plan, and quality plan.
How to Write a Change Management Plan in 7 Steps 1. Develop a clear understanding of the business objective. According to Alexis, the first step in creating a change management plan is to ensure that you understand the business case behind the project. "Change management is about managing inputs from a variety of people," Alexis says.
The plan will include governance, an organizational structure and the process used to plan, control and execute the program plan. This includes a schedule, communication plan, procurement, risk, closeout procedure and all the other general aspects of creating any project plan. Gantt charts can help you make a schedule for your program— Learn More
1. Collect the required inputs. This includes the project management plan, project charter, enterprise environmental factors (EEFs), and organizational process assets (OPA), which you will reference and leverage to generate the scope management plan. 2. Generate a work breakdown structure (WBS).
The easiest way to build a project plan You can build a beautiful project plan in just 10 minutes. Best of all, you can easily switch between gantt, calendar, and list views in a single click. Create your free plan Step 4: Present and confirm your plan You're almost finished!
Most project management plans should include: Your scope statement and scope management plan Initial project schedule and schedule management plan Initial project budget and budget management plan Resource management plan Communication management plan Risk management plan Other topics you may want to include are: Stakeholder management
Are they available internally or do we have to find them. Create a mechanism to enable employees to express their expectations and aspirations. Ask about individual employee's aspirations during ...
Writing a project plan starts with finalizing your project information. Create an overview and a scope statement, determine a deliverables schedule, and define a budget. Include a risk management strategy, a communication plan, and any other documents your project needs.