With no adequate project management plan, your business will be vulnerable to chaotic management, vague objectives, inadequate resources, and frustrated employees.
As a matter of fact, unrealistic planning results in high risks that produce poor quality results from high costs.
This is why it is so important to make a comprehensive project management plan before the work begins.
In this article we will take a look at what a project management plan is, what it is for, and how to implement it.
What is a project management plan?
The project manager creates the project management plan based on input gathered from the project team and key stakeholders.
A project management plan is a formal document that outlines how a project will be executed, monitored and controlled.
As work moves forward, project performance is benchmarked compared to the performance measurement baseline included in the project management plan.
Should a deviation from the baseline occur while the work is in progress, the project manager needs to address it by making adjustments to correct it.
If these adjustments should fail to correct the deviations, formal baseline change requests become mandatory.
Project managers spend a large amount of time guaranteeing that goals are met, ensuring that all stakeholders get the hoped-for benefits.
As well as proper planning, a project manager’s skills also consist of efficiently controlling the project and ensuring that project deliverables are on time and that the project is completed according to the project management plan.
How to make a project management plan
There is no unique model that works for all projects.
Each management plan must be tuned to the given industry and project circumstances.
1. Identify the goal of your project
To build anything meaningful, the first step is to lay the right foundation. Here are the questions you need to ask:
- Why is this project being created?
- What is the goal?
- How will it be measured?
- What is considered a success?
- How will this affect stakeholders?
2. Trace the framework
This following step must detail how things will be carried out and what the project will look like once it has started.
It is critical that a project does not overstretch otherwise the team will never achieve its goals.
3. Visually trace your project
A thoughtfully crafted project schedule is the key to success.
Without this, your project will likely collapse into a chaos of missed deadlines, mismanagement, and frustration.
In this case, planning tools such as the Gantt chart and time sequences can streamline the creation of a project management plan.
By visually outlining each activity in the project, it will allow for faster addition of important milestones and search for any dependencies or conflicts.
4. Identify the structure of your project team
Assembling a team and aligning them with your project vision is not so simple.
This can only be achieved through good communication, which is why good project documentation is paramount.
5. Risk management
A key task of a project manager is to pinpoint the factors that could potentially jeopardize your project, and devise solutions to address them.
A risk management plan typically begins by listing all the elements of a project, and then a risk breakdown structure allows them to be organized both hierarchically and by category.
6. Plan communication
One thing that often gets overlooked by project managers is having a communication management plan. This outlines how the project team will communicate with stakeholders.
Too often, by default, project communication consists in ad hoc emails or last-minute meetings, but this can be prevented by planning ahead by drafting a structured communication plan.
This form of reporting is valuable for providing regular communication of clear and consistent updates about project progress.
This can also help in detecting and flagging problems before they arise, build trust with stakeholders, and make it easier to reflect on project performance.
Therefore, it becomes clear how a project management plan is key for a successful project, as it will be able to drive work and keep it on track.
As previously mentioned, there are a number of project management plan templates based on your industry, company culture, and project type.
In this case, a good, comprehensive, feature-rich project management tool, can help in choosing the best plan template and drafting a complete and comprehensive document.
This way, the project manager will be able to ensure that actual progress stays on track with planned progress.