Without a well-developed project plan, successfully executing a project is not possible. So what is a project plan? A project plan is written down planning of the project. In simple terms, a project plan is the etched out version of your project planning.
Table of Contents
You can get a better idea of this by looking at a project plan template. So what does project planning encompass? Let’s take a look.
Project Plan Templates
Understanding project planning
By looking at a project plan template, you can easily decipher what project planning encompasses. However, understanding project planning and the things it encompasses is still important. What is project planning? The ways of completing a project within a specified period of time along with designated resources and defined stages are what project planning reveals. Basically, project planning encompasses:
- Setting objectives
- Identifying deliverables
- Schedule planning
- Making supportive plans
Plans related to communication methods, human resources and risk management are what supportive plans refer to.
What project planning intends to do?
The project activities and end products to be performed are what project planning defines. Furthermore, it reveals the intended ways of accomplishing the activities. Basically, project planning looks to:
- Define each major task
- Provide a management review and control framework
- Estimate the required time and resources
You can get a good idea of the goals and activities to be included in project planning by looking at a project-planning template. The goals and activities that you’ll find in the project-planning template include:
- The project defining and binding goals
- The specific work to be performed
- The to-be-documented project planning, tracking, and controlling estimates
- Planned, documented and agreed commitments by the affected groups
- Assumptions, alternatives, and constraints related to the project
A number of things are included in the project planning process including:
- Estimation of the resources required to identify and assess risk, complete the project, negotiate commitments and produce a schedule
- Estimation of the effort’s technical scope
- Estimation of the project size
Repetition of the aforementioned steps is required to establish the project plan. Usually, before a plan is actually completed, several project-planning iterations are performed. In order to understand this, you may want to look at a project-planning template.
Sample Plan Templates
What is a project plan?
The best way to find this out is looking at a project plan template. Nevertheless, we’ll try our best to understand project plan here. A formal, approved document used to manage and control a project is known as a project plan. All management efforts associated with the project are based on the project plan. Also, over time, the project plan is expected to change.
The project plan isn’t an expansive textual document rather it includes the to-the- point information associated with the project. This is something that you’ll notice in a project plan template. As the project moves through different stages, the project plan information evolves. Furthermore, as new information unfolds about the project, the project plan needs to be updated. Let’s now take a look at the things to include in the project plan.
Things to include in a project plan
By looking at a project plan template, you’ll easily know what to include in a project plan. However, we’re still going to discuss the things to include in a project plan. Following are the things that every successful project plan includes:
Project vision/ executive summary
Clearly demonstrating the project aims and objectives, this section includes a brief description of the project.
This section describes the target audience and the coveted learning outcomes.
Project content and context
This section reveals whether the project builds on previous experience or is a new project. Furthermore, it states whether an existing platform will be utilized.
Key responsibilities and roles
This section gives details of the individuals involved in the project design and delivery. Furthermore, it reveals the tasks assigned to them. This section reveals who is responsible for decision-making and the project. For any project, this section is an extremely important part of the project plan.
Key tasks and deliverables
In order to achieve the projects objectives, key tasks and deliverables need to be defined. This section is where you need to define the key tasks and deliverables of the project.
This includes the resources required to achieve the aims of the projects.
Key milestones and project timeline
This section includes sensible ordering of all tasks. It is important to clearly identify the start and end dates of the tasks. Many useful planning tools are available for this purpose.
Costing and Budget
This section includes all the costs related to the project’s key tasks and deliverables such as:
- Materials and consumables
- Access or venue charges
- Travel and subs
- Communication with stakeholders
- Consultancy fees
This shows how any issues and changes related to the project’s scope will be managed. Basically, this shows how you’ll assess and mitigate the project risks.
This section shows how you’ll manage communications with all stakeholders. This includes the communication frequency and methods. Furthermore, it should include the marketing and promotion plans as well as the plans for circulating and sharing of information.
Evaluation and monitoring strategy
This section shows the impact and outcomes of the project as well as how you’ll measure success.
This section reveals the person responsible for managing all the documents of the project and record keeping. This is something that needs to be agreed at the beginning of the project. Usually, the project manager is responsible for record keeping and management of all documents.
There you have—the contents of a project plan. In order to understand the contents of a project plan better, you may want to look at a project plan template. Now that we’ve discussed the things to include in a project plan, it is time to look at the project management planning process.
Plan Templates Examples
Understanding the project management planning process
Often, projects managed by capable people are delayed or not completed. The reason for this is pretty simple—the projects are not planned properly. Things fatal to any project include failure to create systematic approach and the lack of proper planning. Therefore, understanding the project management planning process is important. A good way to do that is referring to a project management plan template. Following are the key steps involved in successful project planning.
Conception and initiation of the project
The first and foremost step in the project planning process is the conception and initiation of the project. This includes carefully examining an idea to determine whether a project is beneficial to the organization. Furthermore, in order to determine whether the project can be realistically completed, a decision making team will be employed during this phase.
Creating a roadmap
A roadmap with clearly defined goals is something that every project needs. Create goals which do not require changing after the completion of the first phase of the project. Furthermore, name all stakeholders benefitting from the project. Also, state the needs of the stakeholders.
Developing a list of deliverables
Developing a list of deliverables is a key part of the project planning process. Basically, you need to develop a list of all project deliverables. Once you’ve done, make all team members aware of this list.
Identify the project milestones and activities required to complete the project
It important for you to create and maintain a document that clearly shows all the milestones of the project as well as the activities required to complete the project. Taking into account the efficiency, availability and productivity of the team members, establish reasonable deadlines.
Defining and planning the project
In order to outline the work to be performed, you must put in writing the project scope, the project charter, and the project plan. During this phase, the project team should determine the required resources, calculate a budget and schedule, and prioritize the project.
Creating a budget for the project
Once you’ve defined and planned the project, you need to create a budget for the project. In order to create a budget for the project, consider all the tasks and deliverables of the project. You need to consider all tasks and activities required to complete a part of the project. Once you’ve done that, find out the resources required to perform these tasks and activities and the cost of these resources.
Identify individuals and/or organizations involved in the project
An important part of the project planning process is the identification of the individuals and/or organizations involved in the project. You need to identify the individuals and/or organizations involved in the project by their name. The project roles and responsibilities of each individual/ organization should be clearly identified and stated. In case you don’t do that, miscommunication may occur which will eventually lead to delays and situations where members of the team may have to perform their work again.
Setting progress reporting guidelines
An important part of the project planning process is setting progress reporting guidelines. This includes the daily, weekly, or monthly progress reporting guidelines. Setting up a collaborative online or office project workspace where progress can be monitored by all parties is the ideal thing to do.
Identifying the project risks
An event that may or may not occur but can significantly affect the project’s outcome is known as a risk. The identification of risks is a critical part of any project. Therefore, the project planning process requires you to identify the project risks. Furthermore, if team members won’t be able to meet the deadlines or if new requirements are to be added to the project, discuss alternatives.
Communicating the plan
An extremely important but often ignored part of the project planning process is the communication of the project plan. During this phase, you need to communicate:
- Where information related to the project will be stored and who can access it
- What metrics will be used to ensure the manufacturing of a quality product?
- How issues will be dealt with
- Who wants which reports, how often, in what format and using what media?
Furthermore, you should communicate the steps after the completion of the project such as:
- How project plan will be reviewed and approved
- The process for changing the plan’s contents
- How the project plan will be executed or controlled
- The key roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder
Launch or execution of the project
During this phase, teams are informed of responsibilities and the tasks are distributed. A good time to bring up important information related to the project is what this phase represents.
Performing and controlling the project
As resources perform the scheduled work, project managers need to compare the status and progress of the project to the actual plan. During this phase, adjusting schedules or doing what is required to keep the project on track is what projects managers may need to do.
There you have it—the steps involved in the project planning process. To get a better idea of the project planning process, refer to a project management plan template. Although they vary according to industry, project-planning processes are the more traditional project elements.
Usually, the goal of a planning process is to benefit the organization by changing a process, offering a product, or solving a problem.
The first step in creating a simple/workable project plan is establishing the aim of your project plan and how it sits with your overall goals. It is important for you to keep in mind that a sound project plan is based on available information and not on unknown future. Therefore, it is important that the aim of your project plan is based on the information available to you and not on something that you ‘expect’ in the future. You will be able to make sound decisions if the aim of your project plan is based on the available information.
Free Plan Templates
When establishing the aim of your project plan, considering all known facts is a wise thing to do. In order to find out the facts you need to consider, refer to a project plan template. Fortunately for you, we have many project plan templates that you can use to create a successful project plan.