The time has come for your team to start a new project. No matter how simple it may seem, you will need a well thought out and detailed plan. This is crucial to the success of your project and the strengthening of your relationship with your team. Planning out everything from a schedule to a budget and even the project’s intended scope will ensure that your project is executed properly and efficiently. To include all the aspects required for your project to go smoothly, a project management plan will need to be constructed before taking on the project.
What is a project management plan?
A project management plan is a formal document that defines how a project is executed, monitored, and controlled. A full management plan will need to go beyond a projected schedule or a timeline. It can be an overall summary or a more detailed document, but it ultimately needs to define the system your team will use to achieve the intended end goal. A project management plan is meant to remove any confusion that could take place over the course of your project so that you don’t fall off schedule or exceed your budget.
How to write a project management plan
- Start with an executive summary: This section is the first thing presented to the those overseeing the project. It should be a brief overview, only a few pages at most, of all the project’s key components. An executive summary should also develop a proof of concept. A proof of concept both outlines the proposed project, and it’s functionality or purpose.
- Outline the project’s scope with a scope statement: A project’s boundaries need to be neatly defined from the beginning to avoid what is called scope creep. When a project becomes a victim of scope creep, it’s objective goes beyond what was initially intended. This can cause problems such as missing due dates or going over budget. To prevent this from happening, outline the project’s scope using the SMART business goal model. Make your project’s scope specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.
- Craft a project schedule: Every well-planned project has a deadline, and a reasonable schedule to keep your team on track. One big deadline will be set by those above you, but this will need to be broken down into pieces for the rest of your team. Create a multi-faceted and detailed schedule including aspects such as milestones, deliverables and budget usage. This can be done using project management tools such as a Gnatt chart.
- Take risk into account with a risk assessment: Not all projects will run smoothly, so addressing any potential problems before they arise is also a key element to the planning process. Risks are any factors that could negatively impact or derail the project. List any possible risks that could crop up over the course of the project and break them down between technical, management, and external risks. Dive deep into each scenario to think about how they may play out, and then construct possible solutions should problems arise in the future.
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