Hey everyone, welcome to yet another expertly written project management plan article from our trusted team of experts.
This comprehensive article will educate you about project plans, their role in project management, and everything else there is to know about a project management plan.
By the end of this write-up, we guarantee that you’ll be the go-to authority in everything to do with project management planning.
Specifically, we will cover the following critical areas:
Without much further ado, let’s get started.
What is Project Planning?
A project plan outlines the project planning steps that guide team members, project stakeholders, and project management teams in achieving project milestones and deliverables within a project schedule.
Project management plans involve all the project management tools, systems, and methodologies used by project teams to achieve objectives outlined in the project charter.
To properly define planning, let’s look at an example of planning in management.
Note that this sample project plan below will focus on budget creation which is just one aspect of project planning.
Let’s look at how to plan for a budget.
For example, a project manager(PM) in company Z only has 1000 thousand dollars for a project.
Unfortunately, this amount is insufficient to meet all the project requirements.
The project manager plans to create an adequate budget to satisfy all the project’s requirements.
The PM holds a budget creation meeting and develops a reasonable project budget with a clear expected cost baseline.
The project manager then shares the plan’s executive summary to stakeholders and project sponsors for approval.
After approval, the project budget is deployed and used to direct project operations.
This project management plan example demonstrates the typical steps employed in creating a budget.
The key objective of a project plan is to ensure that project objectives are achieved.
To start planning for a project, you need to understand what is the project management plan.
What is a Project Management Plan?
“Failure to plan on your part doesn’t constitute an emergency on my part,” is a common saying that underscores the importance of planning.
A project manager who doesn’t plan for their projects will clash with the project sponsors, stakeholders, and other team members.
Project managers use a project management plan to guide them on effective planning for their projects to avoid this predicament.
But what is a project plan, and does your project need it?
A project management plan is a project schedule that defines the project scope, budget, deliverables, milestones, and timelines.
This plan guides how team members, project sponsors, and other project stakeholders interact to achieve the project’s goals.
Project planning is among the five phases of a project and sets the pace and tone of the project during the entire project lifecycle.
Project plans involve project managers, stakeholders, team members, and third parties.
Having an inclusive project planning session improves the quality of the project plan and reduces dissent among team members.
Now that you understand project management planning let’s answer the following critical question.
What Is The Main Purpose of a Project Management Plan?
A Project Management Plan (PMP)aims to achieve project success by employing the best resource management tactics within the project schedule using practical project actions, decisions, and systems.
Project planning is crucial that 39% of all projects fail due to poor planning.
And 55% of all project managers cite poor budget planning as the leading cause of project failure.
Please note that a project management plan isn’t a stand-alone plan but rather a collection of different management plans.
So what is included in a project management plan?
Here are the different secondary plans found within a management plan.
- Change management plan
- Schedule management plan
- Time management plan
- Communication management plan
- Scope management plans
All these secondary plans are essential and improve the odds of project success.
Is project management planning important?
Continue reading for the answer to this question
Advantages of a Project Management Plan
Here are the main reasons effective project management planning is key to the success of your project.
- Highlights and mitigates risks
Risk management is a critical aspect of any project management strategy.
Risks in project planning refer to any barriers or roadblocks that hinder a project from achieving its project objectives.
The four main types of projects risks are technical, organizational, external, and project management risks.
To effectively control project risks, project teams use risk management strategies to highlight, assess and create risk mitigation plans in the project planning phase.
A risk management plan allows project managers to perform risk assessments and troubleshoot project systems.
Here are the steps followed in creating a risk management plan:
– defining objectives. A risk management plan defines project objectives, baselines, and project timelines.
– risk identification. Project team members, key stakeholders, and interested parties brainstorm and highlight potential risks in every project phase.
– risk assessment. Check if the risks are positive or negative and their probability of occurring(high, low, or medium)
– risk tolerance. Can the project achieve its objectives even if the potential risk occurs?
– risk mitigation. Define responses and actions that will be deployed in the event of a risk occurring.
- Reduces failure rates
The shocking truth is that 70% of all projects fail.
This failure rate is by no means accidental since 37% of all projects lack clear project goals, according to the project management institute(PMI)
Having a solid project management plan will increase the probability of project success by clearly defining project deliverables and dependencies.
Additionally, a project plan will streamline project workflow while improving resource management.
- Improves efficiency
Project efficiency refers to the ability of a project to achieve project milestones within the stipulated project schedule with the best resource management.
Project planning uses a clear work breakdown structure(WBS) that clearly defines tasks, the team members charged with the task, project progress, and expected project task timeline.
Additionally, project management tools like a Gantt chart used in project management planning improve project efficiencies.
Proper project planning is pivotal in ensuring that projects adhere to schedule baselines and achieve project milestones in the stipulated project timeline.
- Enhance resource management
Just before the pandemic in 2019, project managers cited poor resource management as the most significant project management challenge they face in their duties.
Resource management refers to the effective use of material and human resources to achieve project objectives.
Usually, different project processes compete for limited resources, causing shortages.
A project manager must employ effective resource management tactics to ensure proper resource allocation for a successful project,
Project managers use cost management plans to effectively allocate financial resources to different aspects of a project.
The planning process for resource management focuses on the project scope, budget, deliverables, and timeline.
After evaluating these four crucial project parameters, a project planner can create a practical resource management plan.
- Improves team communication
It’s a fact that effective communication is the backbone of all successful projects.
Poor communication within a project results in unnecessary project delays, reduced team morale, scope creep, and poor project results.
But precisely, what is a communication plan in project management?
A communication management plan is a project document that identifies, highlights, and monitors, a project’s communication needs and challenges.
The PMP develops robust communication systems that improve data and information flow within the project.
- Improve project quality
Project managers rely on quality management planning to check, maintain and improve project quality,
A quality management plan(QMP) refers to all the activities, tasks, and processes employed to monitor, track and maintain project quality.
QMP focuses on the quality of deliverables, client expectations, quality assurance systems, process control, and quality control procedures.
Quality management planning helps maintain standards and create effective project templates that guarantee high-quality output.
You must realize that your project is likely to fail without a proper project plan by this point in the article.
- Enhance budget creation process
A cost management plan keeps the project afloat and ensures materials and resources are available at all times.
Proper budgeting is so important that 55% of project managers claim that budget overruns are the main reason for project failure.
Projects can develop and maintain sound budgets that reduce wastages and enhance resource management by using procurement management policies,
The next critical point focuses on how to create a project plan.
How to create a Project Management Plan
A project plan focuses on creating a step-by-step guide(project planning template) that guides all team resources to achieve project success.
Now it’s time to make the plan execute the plan.
Below we are going to analyze the nine steps needed to create a functional project management plan
1. Identify project stakeholders
Every project features a diverse set of people who are invaluable to its success.
Start by identifying and reaching out to project sponsors, team members, stakeholders, and other third parties like your clients
2. Specify the duties and tasks of each member
Clearly define the duties and responsibilities of each member who is a part of the project.
Different members can have multiple roles in the project, and by defining those roles, you avoid confusion.
3. Conduct a meeting
A kick-off meeting is a perfect avenue to bring all stakeholders to the table.
This meeting will allow different project members to meet and interact, which builds better working relations.
Use this opportunity to brainstorm on the project’s scope, timelines, budgets, and other critical project parameters.
Go ahead and educate the planning team on the roles and responsibilities of each member.
4. Define the three main pillars of your project
The three most important aspects of a project are scope, timelines, and budget.
Deliberate with the project team on these three vital project components since they will make or break your project.
A good project management plan will:
- Accurately define the project scope focusing on the client’s wishes and requirements. The project scope determines the best project management process that will deliver the highest quality of product standards,
- Define and provide an accurate budget and cost baseline. A well-prepared project budget will eliminate delays and ensure the project achieves its objectives.
- Provide a functional project timeline that focuses on different project phases and how long each will take to complete.
5. Define project goals
At this stage of the project management planning process, it’s crucial to identify and define the goals of your project.
Define the goals in terms of priorities, with essential goals coming first.
Additionally, use a management methodology system like the waterfall, six sigma, or Lean system to break down tasks into manageable bits.
Gantt charts are also great to help you divide the project goals into manageable pieces.
Ensure that you put in place a contingency plan if any project goal isn’t met.
6. Identify project deliverables
A project deliverable is any product, process, result, or capability that results from or is needed to complete a project ex proposal, project management documents, budget reports.
Project deliverables dictate the project management steps that a planning team follows to create a functional project plan outline.
For example, online projects deliverables may include creative briefs, wireframes, and mockups
7. Develop a project schedule
A project schedule is a timetable that highlights project tasks, dependencies, timelines, and team members responsible for each task.
Preparing a project schedule is a critical part of the project planning process since it allows project managers to deploy resources optimally and tasks needed for the project’s success.
8. Conduct a risk assessment
A risk project management plan requires project managers to evaluate and highlight any potential risks that may occur.
Common project risks include scope risk, technology failures, communication breakdowns, and resource deficiencies.
Use a project management software to track and monitor your project risk throughout the project phases
9. Communicate the plan
Now that the project plan template is ready, rope in all the team members, project sponsors, and other stakeholders.
Remember, all team members must understand and appreciate the project plan for a successful project.
Create an effective communication strategy that ensures all the project parties receive and understand the project plan
There you have it.
These are the nine steps on how to create a simple project plan template
A project management plan is a vital component for the success of any project.
This plan outlines the project steps needed to realize the scope of the project.
Any project manager worth their salt must use a project plan to ensure high product quality, zero wastages, and efficient resource management.
We hope our comprehensive article will benefit you in your project management journey.
We realize that you may have additional questions on this topic; that’s why we’ve prepared this expertly written Frequently Asked Section.