The project plan is the foundation on which the project is built. Without a solid framework, it will be very complicated, you will not start the project on the right foot or end the way you had planned.
Fortunately, you can master the art of project planning. This blog can be your starting point. Find out what you need to add to your plan and how it unfolds on a tight schedule to deliver each project on time and within budget. Do you know the theory and want to put it into practice? We’ve made a sample project plan to help you get started. You will find the link to download it at the end of this article.
What Elements Are Essential To Developing A Solid Project Management Plan?
To create a solid plan, you only need three main ingredients:
1.Resources : everything you will need for the project to be successful (think human capital, equipment, software, etc.)
2.Tasks : all the different responsibilities that make up a big project, what jobs, big and small, do you have to take into account?
3.Activities : Finally, there are elements such as the status of tasks, time, priorities and the allocation of human and financial resources that you must carefully monitor throughout the project to be able to deliver it satisfactorily.
Also, a project management plan should be divided into more detailed parts. You need to specify each of them before launching:
- Stages of the project : These are all the important phases of the project . Let’s see them with a metaphor, think of the phases as an architectural job: you must lay the foundations, assemble the structure, install the windows and complete all the necessary steps until the entire construction of the building.
- Activity List : Make a list of all the tasks necessary to complete the project, whether they are large or small. Make a project plan, contact the contractors, find an electrician, buy the material all projects have key activities that have to be completed if you want to be able to do the job.
- Tasks – all the small steps that lead to the end result. Important note: many tasks (and people) depend on others being finished. Therefore, you should be able to link them to those they depend on so that everyone is aware.
- Duration and time : how long do you think each task or phase will last? To determine this, be sure to always think about the project’s final deadline. Is it realistic or do you need to lengthen it? How much time do you think you need for each phase of the project? This schedule helps determine the volume of work. Trust your work experience to make correct estimates.
- Budget: how much money will you need to spend to cover all the resources that the project requires? Make no mistake: this is just a rough estimate. Be logical and realistic. With time and experience, your calculations will become more and more accurate.
- Project team : what workers (based on their experience and skills) do you need to complete the project? In the case of a house, you would think of architects, plumbers, carpenters, electricians, and so on.
- Progress : make sure you have a system in place to determine how each project evolves: Are you still on the right track? Does your team need to try a little harder? Are you evaluating the efficiency of the project?
You can build a basic project plan in a spreadsheet or word processor (see below). But, if you want to start with an important advantage, here is how an online tool with specific project management functions can help you :
7 Steps To Creating The Perfect Project Plan
Step # 1 Document all aspects of a project – This is where good project planning really begins. You start by documenting all the essential details and determining the objectives, deadlines, tasks and costs of the project in question.
Step # 2 Divide the different phases of the project into stages and tasks : the next thing is to determine the schedule of a project. What are the crucial tasks that you have to manage and what are the last ones. The related and the smallest can be grouped into long stages. By dividing the project into smaller actions, you prevent your team from being overwhelmed by work and achieve a smoother execution.
Step # 3 Calculate the resources you need : foresee the people you will need and the specific resources you will require. Make sure your list is as realistic as possible – you don’t want to waste or fall short. Both of these things would jeopardize your project schedule and budget.
Step # 4 Gather Your Resources : Now that you’ve calculated your resources, get the right people and make sure they have the right tools to get the job done. The proper grouping and organization of the different parts of the project starts here.
Step # 5 Make a schedule: take all the data you have determined and organize it in a calendar. Write down all the tasks and phases of each project plan and outline the planning.
Step # 6: Link the tasks: as we said at the beginning, it is essential to define which tasks are related to each other. The members of your team, in turn, depend on these being correctly programmed to be able to carry out their work efficiently. If you can, get an automatic notification system. That will avoid the need for human intervention and eliminate the risk of mistakes.
Step # 7: Record Everything: They say ‘the devil is in the details’, and they are right: the importance of documenting everything should not be underestimated. Each member of your team must be able to check the status of a task, stage or delivery for which they are responsible at any time. Don’t forget the time tracking either. Thus, the next time you manage a similar project, you will be able to better calculate the necessary deadlines and budgets .
Download Your Free Project Planning Template
Are you new to planning and managing projects? You can start small by downloading our free project planning template. It will help you divide the project into more manageable parts and ask yourself the pertinent questions so that your project starts and evolves correctly.
Don’t underestimate good project planning, but don’t be afraid of it either – it’s about collecting all the basics and putting them on a schedule. Whether you are an experienced project manager or have just become one by accident, the framework described in the previous paragraphs applies to everyone. You can do it on paper, in a spreadsheet, or with specialized project management software, depending on how you work. But one thing is certain: do it right and you will have your reward.
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