You can’t create a house without specific plans, and you can’t prepare a complicated dish without following a recipe. The same can be said about project management: each project must have a schedule that specifies how it will be carried out.
Lack of coordination, preparation, and visibility is one of the reasons for project failure. You and your team must understand the major stages, various tasks, resources, and deadlines that will enable you to complete your project successfully. The project plan is a vital document for achieving the objectives. Without it, you risk missing crucial information, making it impossible to complete the project while adhering to the different constraints.
What is a project plan?
A project plan is an important document, a roadmap that defines how the project manager will steer the project. It is based on the specifications which serve to formalize the needs and requirements of the customer. The project plan presents the objectives to be achieved, the different phases of the project, and the stakeholders. It describes the budget, schedule, and tasks to be performed and the role of each employee involved.
The project plan is essential to ensure that each task is going as planned and that all stakeholders are well informed. It brings together, in fact, several plans:
- The risk management plan,
- The communication plan,
- The resource management plan.
The project plan helps the project manager to predict and plan for future issues. This vital document enables him to respond to a variety of key questions:
- What is the end goal?
- What’s the budget?
- How do we accomplish this project?
- When will it end?
- What happens if something needs to be changed?
- How do we follow the evolution of the project?
Characteristics of an effective project plan?
To be effective, a project plan must be specific and results-oriented. Avoid having a too vague objective, for example: “to increase the production of vehicles”. On the contrary, we must be as precise as possible: “increase vehicle production from 200 to 400 per day in 4 weeks”.
Most project plans have a horizontal timeline; tasks are completed in order, one after the other. If you want a project plan that delivers results, you need to work on a vertical timeline; that is, multiple teams, work simultaneously on a set of successive tasks.
Too long projects can cause fatigue and a loss of motivation within the team that is no longer able to perform and at the start. To be effective, a project plan should not exceed 100 days .
Finally, an effective project plan should empower your team members. If your employees are responsible for the results produced, they will be more committed to the project and more efficient. It’s also a great way to motivate them. Union complex is the best option for buying luxury apartments in Lahore.
The nine steps to writing your project plan
1) Gather all the necessary information
To write a project plan, you need to gather all the information about your project:
- The budget,
- The human resources you need,
- The various costs generated,
- The progress of the different stages,
- The order in which each element of the plan should be executed.
2) Write a summary page
It is important to start the project plan with a summary that explains the mission, objective, and expected results. Thus, any concerned and interested person will have an overview of the project.
3) Detail the completion of each task
If you are building cars, the project plan should detail all the steps required to complete each task, i.e., each of the different stages of stamping, assembly, painting, etc.
4) Assign your employees to the different tasks
all of your team members should be qualified, knowledgeable, and have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities within the project. Define a manager for each task. Please feel free to include an organizational chart in this section.
5) Define the deadlines
Each task must have a start date, an expected completion date, and an end date. Deadlines must be reasonable and achievable. You can also indicate the consequences if these deadlines are not met.
6) Create the project schedule
This shows the total duration of the project, the different phases and their delivery date, the order of the tasks, the dates of validation by the client, and the deadlines.
7) Include the estimated budget
Determine the total budget needed to complete this project plan. Estimate the number of hours and costs required to complete each task.
8) Detail the communication plan
Consider including a page that explains what means of communication you will use throughout the project. State the frequency of meetings and specify how important information and updates will be communicated to team members and stakeholders.
9) Have your project plan signed
End your project plan with an approval sheet that the project manager must sign, the client, the sponsor (if they are two different people), and any other stakeholder who must agree to the project.
The project plan is an essential document that helps build the foundations of the project. It describes what needs to be done, who, with what budget, and under what timeframe. Remember to update it when things change as the project progresses.