How To Create A Project Plan Template – Project planning is not nearly half as daunting as it sounds. In fact, it’s a pretty fun endeavor if you have the right resources and tools. This detailed article presents a simple, actionable, step-by-step guide to effectively creating project plans, including stunning free templates and useful examples to help you get started and save time.
An excellent project manager and a solid project plan are the two critical components to successful project management and execution. This article will guide you intimately through the entire project planning process, from managing team members and Gantt charts to collaboration and charging your projects to success!
How To Create A Project Plan Template
A project plan, also called a project delivery plan, is a document that describes every detail and piece of information about a project. It describes the concept, goals, objectives, needs, processes, phases, schedules, and financial requirements necessary to fully execute a project from start to finish. A project plan should be every team’s go-to resource for any project being developed. Building a project plan is not reserved exclusively for massive projects. Even small sprints are best delivered with detailed project plans that guide the team.
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Just like a project report, a project plan is usually created and maintained by the project manager. It also serves as a resource that is referenced by the entire team or even partners if it is included in a statement of work. A project plan should clearly describe the project’s purpose, timeline, deliverables and much more.
Project planning is an entire sub-discipline in project management. Typically, this is the process of creating the project and preparing for the project at hand, which includes describing the goals, tasks, and steps forward, assigning roles to team members, defining schedules, and listing resources needed to successfully complete the project. The project plan document also includes a certain amount of risk management strategies and ideas.
Note: Project management does not necessarily involve an event, which many people assume is the case with a project management program.
A project can be anything that is an independent creation. This can be anything from implementing a new tool or work process to moving offices to transferring data. Every company has some kind of one-off project that needs planning to succeed.
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From making everyone’s life easier to putting the entire project scope in clear perspective, the benefits of developing a project plan are too numerous to count. Here’s a breakdown of the most important ones and why you should always have a project plan document on hand to help your team.
Project plans are essential project management tools because they establish the project baseline—a defined starting point for your project, also known as the baseline. Once you have established a baseline, it will be minimally difficult to assess your project’s progress throughout its development.
When writing a project plan, a clear project baseline allows project managers to easily address points such as project schedules, project milestones, and scope updates.
At the beginning of the project planning phase, putting together a project task list is often the most tedious step. However, it is especially useful when the project is in motion because it helps project teams develop outlines for their specific roles and easily determine their delivery schedules. The project plan itself is the general outline, a central point of reference for everyone while creating their own personal outlines.
Project Plan Templates For Various Use Cases (2022 List)
One of the most common pitfalls in project development is information overload, where team members simply cannot easily find the most useful parts. Properly documenting the project plan involves producing an organized and detailed document for the team, where a quick review is all they need to locate the most essential information. Team members already wake up strong enough without the added difficulty of sorting through jumbled documents to find direction.
Because project plans are often foundational documents, they contain all the essential information people need about a given project. They serve as reference points and resources for complex projects, and provide all the necessary guidance to team members.
Anyone with experience managing projects knows that they are unpredictable at the best of times. Between changing requirements, mishaps, new ideas, roadblocks, and other unexpected things that pop up, your plans will likely change at least a few times.
It may seem counterintuitive, but creating project plans are important because they help you determine what to expect…even when there are changes. Basically, it is much easier to make changes to the project planning and project execution process if you have a flexible project plan to begin with. This helps you visualize the progress of your project and how one element will ultimately affect another.
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Trust us, you’ll be much better equipped to handle the unexpected if you have a clear idea of your project’s goals from the start.
Basically, if you’re working on any task that’s more than just a quick sprint that only lasts a few days, developing a project plan should probably be the first thing you do. Sometimes, the best project plans aren’t the longest or most complicated. As long as all the necessary details are clear and easy to follow, you are on the right track.
A solid understanding of what is involved in the project management process should help project managers and team leaders create better project plans. Awareness of the five core phases of the project provides a framework for building an industry project plan. It is easier to plan an entire project when you think about how all the project phases and the different tasks will fit into its development and life cycle.
This is the starting point of the project, often including conceptualization and research. It includes the earliest steps that a project team takes toward launching a project. Project initiation typically establishes project goals, overall objectives, and expected outcomes as team members move to the next phase.
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In fact, it is the biggest product of the phase. Project planning involves laying the groundwork and organizing everything you will need to successfully complete your project. Sometimes, it’s helpful to begin this phase with a project planning task list, a sort of to-do list that guides you through research, scheduling, allocation, and distribution in developing the master project plan.
Project teams also work on project methodology, project budget, resource management, project schedule, project dependencies, and work breakdown structure (WBS).
This is where project planning and management really start to pay off. If you did the right things in the previous step, executing your project plan should be easy and trouble-free. The bulk of your “project tasks” are done here. Your team will start working on your project deliverables and complete them. You will also hold regular team meetings and provide frequent project status reports.
This project phase often overlaps with project execution. All parties involved will want to monitor progress and determine how everything is going. Performance indicators and analysis should be consulted in order to verify that the actual progress of the project is in line with what is stated in the plan. If you are developing a high-level project plan, the project monitoring should be a full section with complex details to track the project.
How To Write A Project Plan In 6 Steps
If the project is successfully completed, it’s finally time to congratulate everyone on a job well done! Your project deliverables will be delivered, final meetings will be held, and overall successes and setbacks will be accounted for.
A project plan will vary depending on your industry, your business category, the scope of the project, and the work style of your team. However, there are a few essentials that remain consistent in every project. The critical elements of a project plan are:
Key stakeholders are internal or external people or project sponsors involved in the project planning process. They may also include people who approve the final project proposal. For example, in a business project plan, the primary stakeholders are usually the business owners or the board of directors who receive the earliest input and final decisions. Be sure to list their names, titles, key responsibilities, and contact information.
The core project team closely monitors the stakeholders, members who are solely responsible for the success of your project. The project team often participates in creating the outline for the project plan.
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These are some of the most essential elements of project plan documentation. Important files include all documents and digital files that will be used as reference points throughout the project. They can be protocol compliance, product requirements, wiki pages, visual assets and so on.
A strong emphasis on dates ensures that everyone stays on track. A project delivery plan must be established and a reasonable timeline for completion of milestones maintained. A project can last just a few weeks, but it can also last for years. People need to be able to plan and juggle their workload with the project at hand in mind.
A very high level task list should be included in your project plan. Each task may have a separate list of actions within it, and this may be a breakout document.
Each project will have a list of tasks, and alongside the calendar, these tasks must be prioritized.
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For example, consider the
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