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Project Management Plan - Way forward to Project Success !

Updated: Jun 23, 2021


Planning very crucial step in Project management and why only Projects, it also plays a very important role in life. Numerous quotes and thoughts are been published on the same topic. Let's have a recap of some of those quotes which shall be of great use in business as well as in life.

“Every minute you spend in planning saves 10 minutes in execution; this gives you a 1,000 percent return on energy!” ― Brian Tracy,


Consider you are in charge of a project. That’s great! Before you actually begin your project, you’re going to need a project plan.

Sometimes it becomes 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.

To initiate a project without a project plan leaves you in danger of overrunning available resources and failing to achieve the goals.

A project plan helps to ensure that

  • all stakeholders share the same vision,

  • sets measurable goals for your project,

  • establishes solid communication among team members and stakeholders

  • serves as the foundation for transparency.

Hence without proper project planning, you’re setting yourself and your team up for project failure.

It doesn't matter whether you are working on a project for the first time or for you are a seasoned project manager. Also, it is immaterial whether you are working on a small project or a bigger project. Understanding project planning helps Project Manager to a great extent.

Let's understand few aspects of Project planning


Project plan

A project plan, also known as the project management plan, is a comprehensive 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.

Project is the progressive elaboration over a period of time.


Importance of Project planning

Project planning is a crucial stage that comes right after initiation in project management phases. Through proper planning, the overall project is broken down into a series of steps and ensures 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. Project performance can be evaluated by comparing the actual progress with the project plan. With this, we can also monitor the performance of the team and take the necessary steps to improve it.


Components of Project Management Plan


The project management plan comprises - Activities, Tasks & Resources.

  1. Activities

Activities include what are the things that your team will need to do in order to get the project done.

Activities in your project plan include things like

  • resources allocation

  • delegation of tasks

  • progress measurement

  • project time tracking spent on tasks

  • effective communication

2. Tasks

There would be numerous tasks on a project front. To manage those tasks effectively, the project needs to be 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.


3. Resources

The things you are working with are your resources for the project. Budget is also an important resource. 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?


Crafting Project management plan

Following are important steps to create a Project management plan.


Step 1: Stakeholder identification

There would be multiple stakeholders who would be imparting to the project directly or indirectly. The list may 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.


Ste 2: Definition of roles & responsibilities

After identifying stakeholders it becomes important to determine skills and competencies desired by Project management. Once that list is ready, we may further assign roles and responsibilities to individual stakeholders.


Typical roles include

  • project sponsor,

  • project manager,

  • and project team members.


Step 3: Kick-off meeting

Project kick-off meeting plays important role in the project life cycle.

  • Provides a chance to bring all stakeholders together,

  • Helps to cast a vision for the project that everyone can get behind,

  • The opportunity to make introductions and establish good working relationships.

At this stage, the specific details of the project haven’t been determined so the agenda for KOM shall comprise of discussion on the project scope, budget, timeline, and goals. During this meeting roles are announced & 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: Definition of Project scope, budget & schedule.

After the official kickoff, it’s time to define three important concepts:

  • the project scope,

  • budget,

  • and timeline of your project.

These items in themselves are worth explaining in detail considering their importance in the Project life cycle.


a. Project scope - It tells you what are we going to do and also not do. Considering the user's requirements & the vision discussed by the team, the objectives of this project are rolled out.


b. Budget - After analyzing the scope of the project & considering available resources required to meet the project objectives, the financial cost expectation of the project is evaluated.


c. Schedule - It comprises of calculation of the time required to complete the activities broken down into series of tasks. The schedule defines the overall duration required to complete the project.


Step 5: Goal setting & Prioritization

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.


Step 6: 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,

  • a product,

  • result,

  • or capability.

Project deliverables are determined by the project objectives and those deliverables are an essential part of the project plan.


Step 7: Create a Schedule

A project schedule is a document that includes

  • the project timeline,

  • the organizational resources required to complete each task,

  • and any other information critical to the team.

The project schedule must be comprehensive and easy to understand.

To create a project schedule,

  • 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.

This overall consolidation helps in aligning the 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.


Step 8: Risk assessment

A risk is a problem that may or may not arise over the course of your project. It’s important to identify project risks 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 proactively can help to complete the project successfully.


Step 9: Communicate the Project plan

Once you’ve prepared 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, then it's time to do it at this stage.

Establishing solid communication 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.


Thus, a successful project management plan involves effectively organizing all the activities, tasks, and resources that make up your project.

Now your Project management plan is ready and awaits to execute.


Wish you all the best for happy & successful Project management!


Rupesh Pimple

Project Professional

 


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