The stages of a project plan

The stages of a project plan
project plan

Un project plan is the culmination of meticulous planning by a project manager. It is the main document that guides the progress of a project. This is the project manager's guide.

Although project plans differ from company to company, there are ten steps that absolutely must be in a project plan to avoid confusion and forced improvisation during the project execution phase.

In this post, I bring you my advice to help you write your project plan well. If you want to successfully execute your project, your project plan absolutely must include certain elements.

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1. The objectives of the project plan

The project objectives are defined in the project charter. However, they should also be included in the project plan to further explain the project objectives. Regardless of how a project manager chooses to integrate objectives into the project plan, the important thing is to maintain a clear connection between the project charter – the first key document of a project – and the second key document of the project, its project plan.

2. Project Scope

Like the project objectives, the scope is defined in the charter and must be further refined in the project plan by the project manager. By defining the scope, the project manager can begin to show what it will look like the objective of the project. If the scope is not defined, it can extend throughout the project. This leads to cost overruns and missed deadlines.

For example, if you're leading a marketing team to create a brochure for a company's product line, you should list the number of pages and provide examples of how the finished product will look.

For some team members, a brochure may mean two pages, while others may consider ten pages adequate. Defining scope can get the whole team on the same page from the start.

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3. Milestones and main deliverables

The major accomplishments of a project are called milestones and the major work products are called major deliverables. They both represent the major components of working on a project. A project plan must identify these elements, define them and set deadlines for their completion. If an organization is undertaking a project to develop new software, the key deliverables could be the final list of business requirements and how to implement them.

Then the project could have milestones for design completion, system testing, user acceptance testing, and software deployment date. These milestones are associated with work products, but they relate more to the processes than to the products themselves.

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Milestones and key delivery times don't have to be exact dates, but the more specific the better. Accurate dates help project managers break down work structures more accurately.

In this stage of the plan, you will create milestones so that you can take large or high-level deliverables and break them down into smaller deliverables, which can be described in the next stage.

project plan
The stages of a project plan 3

4. The Work Breakdown Structure

A work breakdown structure breaks a project's milestones and major deliverables into smaller pieces so that one person can be assigned responsibility for each facet. When developing this structure, the project manager considers many factors such as the strengths and weaknesses of the project team members, interdependencies between tasks, available resources and the overall deadline of the project. project.

Project managers are ultimately responsible for the success of the project, but they cannot do the job alone. The breakdown structure is a tool that the project manager uses to ensure accountability for the project.

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This tool also tells project stakeholders who is responsible for what. If the project manager is concerned about a task, he knows exactly who to meet about this concern.

5. The investment budget

A project's budget shows how much money is allocated to complete the project. The project manager is responsible for the appropriate distribution of these resources. For a project that has suppliers, the project manager ensures that deliverables are completed according to the terms of the contract, paying particular attention to quality. Some project budgets are linked to the human resources plan.

It is important to establish the cost of each step by looking at the time required and the cost of the labor needed to complete the tasks. The cost of the project is related to the duration of the project, which comes down to the scope of the project. Scope, milestones, tasks and budget should be aligned and realistic.

6. The human resources plan

The human resource plan shows how the project will be staffed. It defines who will be part of the project team and how long each person must commit.

When developing this plan, the project manager negotiates with team members and their supervisors how much time each team member can devote to the project. If additional staff are needed to consult on the project but are part of the project team, this is also documented in the staffing plan. Again, appropriate supervisors are consulted.

7. The risk management plan

Many things can go wrong when running a project. Although it is difficult to anticipate every possible disaster or minor incident, many pitfalls can be predicted. In the risk management plan, the project manager identifies all project risks. It also determines the likelihood of these scenarios occurring and the strategies to mitigate them.

To formulate this plan, the project manager may seek input from the project sponsor or his or her project team. Mitigation strategies are put in place for risks that are likely to occur or have high costs associated with them. Risks that are unlikely to occur and those that have low costs are noted in the plan, even if they do not have mitigation strategies.

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8. The communication plan

A communications plan describes how a project will be communicated to various audiences. Much like the work breakdown structure, a communications plan assigns responsibility for completing each component to a project team member.

In this step, it is important to describe how issues will be communicated and resolved within the team. The frequency of communication with the team and stakeholders must also be specified. Every message has a target audience. It helps project managers ensure the right information gets to the right people at the right time.

9. The Stakeholder Management Plan

A stakeholder management plan identifies how stakeholders will be used in the project. Sometimes stakeholders just need to receive information. This can be taken into account in the communication plan.

10. The change management plan

A change management plan establishes a framework for making changes to the project. Although project managers tend to want to avoid project changes, sometimes they are unavoidable. The change management plan provides protocols and processes for making changes. It is essential for accountability and transparency that project sponsors, project managers, and project team members follow the change management plan.

In summary….

The project plan is an important document for the success of the project. It serves as a compass in the conduct of the project, from start to finish. Therefore, it requires the active participation of all stakeholders in order to agree on the various points. It is also important to take all the time necessary to define it.

The major risk of a poorly defined plan is that we expose ourselves to disputes to be resolved on points of disagreement which have not been framed. I invite you to share your opinions and experiences in the comments.

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