A project plan is a document that explains the scope and objectives of a major project. It includes all the information that stakeholders need.
A project plan is a document that explains the scope and objectives of a major project. It includes all the information stakeholders need such as project milestones, timeline, workflow, and cost estimates. Putting together a good project plan requires a lot of advance planning. Start by recognizing the purpose of the project and separating that goal into milestones and substep. Then calculate the timeline and cost of each substep. Finally, present the project plan to your team and make any changes they suggest.
Part 1 of 3: Project Workflow Adjustment
Identify all required project stakeholders. A stakeholder is anyone who will be affected by the project. This is a long list of people from project sponsors to individual employees who will work on the project. There are several stakeholders you should identify and communicate throughout the process.
The project sponsor is the person or business that provides the funds for the project. They usually own the final result. Often the sponsor has to sign off on all major decisions.
The management team oversees the project. Usually each member of the management team leads a division that carries out specific tasks to complete the project.
End users are the people who will use the project when it is finished. Visitors to a building, for example, are end users. You usually do not meet with end users, but you should consider their potential concerns while planning the project.
Meet with higher level stakeholders to accomplish project goals. At this stage of initial planning, make a clear definition of the project objectives by communicating with its stakeholders. You do not have to meet every stakeholder, because there are many lower level employees. But you should talk to stakeholders at the management and ownership level. You will know their expectations in this project.
Talk to the project sponsor to understand their expectations and accomplish project goals. Start by consulting them.
Meet with the management team before issuing concrete plans to understand the budget, timeline, resources required, and project risks. If managers bring any concerns about the project, take them seriously. They are the ones who need to carry out the project and can identify potential problems.
Define project scope to plan how you can complete it. Coverage is the intended result of the project. What can this project do once completed? What goals will it meet? Having a clear idea of the scope of the project is important for planning what steps you will take to meet the goals. In communicating with key stakeholders, gain an understanding of what the desired project scope is.
For example, a project scope could be building a new luxury apartment building. All subsequent planning will build towards this result.
Make sure project scope is feasible. For example, if a sponsor wants to travel to Mars next year, this is probably not a manageable scope. Talk to the sponsor and let them know what is currently possible, and then exercise a range that you can meet.
If the sponsor is not entirely sure what the intended scope for the project is, help them accomplish this. Talk to them and the project managers to come to a conclusion on what the outcome should be.
Divide the project into major milestones. Once you have determined the scope, you can identify the milestones that the team must meet. Milestones are large tasks that progress in succession. When one milestone is reached, another begins.
If the goal is building an apartment building, important milestones will include buying land, obtaining building permits, laying the foundation of the building, building a frame, etc. until the building is completed. Identify all the necessary milestones like this.
List milestones in the order in which they should act. For example, you cannot lay the foundation until you have construction permits. Keep your project flowing smoothly like this.
Draw clear lines of communication between project stakeholders. Communication is important throughout the project process. Diverse people and departments should have clear lines of communication so every manager knows the progress of the project. Before you start writing a project plan, identify who is in charge of each task and who is reporting to whom. This will help your team run better so they can complete the project on time.
Part of this workflow ensures that people are not distracted by problems that are not in their department. For example, the person responsible for landscaping around the building does not need to know if there is an issue with the telephone lines in the building, so they should not be contacted if such a problem occurs.
Plan on writing this communication flow in your project plans so that all participants know who to contact if they need information.
Part 2 of 3: Budget and Schedule Research
Separate milestones from substitutes to estimate cost and schedule. Estimating costs and timelines is difficult for large tasks. Every milestone you identify is too big for an accurate cost and schedule estimate. Divide the milestones further into more substep for completion. Then develop timelines and budgets for each substep.
If a milestone is "Lay the foundation of the building," there are many substitutes involved there. You need to contact potential contractors, get price quotes from them, choose a company, dig the ground, pour concrete, and so on. Account each of these substep when you estimate.
Estimate the cost of each substep to calculate the total cost of the project. With your milestones broken down into substitutes, developing a cost estimate will be much easier. Take each individual alternative and research the potential cost. Then use this information to generate an estimate for the total cost of the project.
If you calculate the cost for the mileage "Lay the foundation" of an apartment building, the costs will be considered the price of concrete and other materials, permits for pouring concrete, and labor costs for in work. Research the average cost of each step to come up with a cost estimate. Use the most up-to-date information you can find so that your numbers are accurate.
If your company has analysts who have worked on these projects before, consult with them on these costs. It is their job to account for the project costs.
Break your cost estimate into many different forms. Draw a total project cost, cost per mile, and cost per month or quarter. Project sponsors need this information to adjust their expectations and financing.
Determine which substitutes depend on each other. All projects have certain steps that cannot be completed until a previous step has been completed, affecting the project timeline and schedule. These steps depend on each other, and a delay in dependent steps delays the entire project. The other steps are independent, and do not necessarily depend on other steps to be completed first. Identify all the substepts that depend on each other to come up with an accurate calendar for the project.
For example, a new building requires construction permits. This means that no work can start until you get these permissions, and all other steps depend on this step.
When construction begins on an apartment, you will not be able to start building wiring until the foundation is laid. However, you can start doing landscaping outside as you wire the building, so these two tasks do not depend on each other.
Create a timeline for each milestone. As you drop each mile into substitutes to estimate cost, do the same to generate a timeline. Research the normal amount of time required for each substep. Use this information to generate a timeline for each milestone, and finally for the entire project.
Also consider the planning stage. For example, building permits for your city can take up to 6 months to process. That means no construction can start at least 6 months.
While you are waiting for permissions, however, you can start negotiating with construction companies. Then when the permits are passed, all the agreements are in place for the work to begin. Identify steps like this than can happen at once to speed up the process.
When estimating project timelines, it is often best to overestimate a little. This way you have a breathing room if there are any unexpected problems.
Name any potential risks that could affect the project. All projects involve some risks that stakeholders should be aware of. This can range from scheduling delays to allow problems that could jeopardize the entire project. While researching the budget and schedule, identify all the risks this project may face. If possible, suggest suggestions that these failures can be overcome.
For example, if you are planning a construction project, a potential risk is the price of raw materials that will increase and affect the project budget. You may suggest that working fast is the best option to avoid this risk. Alternatively, you can suggest buying some materials in advance and storing them so that the project does not encounter an unexpected price increase.
Part 3 of 3: Presenting Your Project Plan
Show how the plan meets your sponsor's expectations. The main person or people you need to impress with the project plan is the sponsor. If they like your plan, they will continue with the project. Otherwise, they may end up leaking and you could lose a lot of money. Start by addressing how this plan achieved project scope.
Use clear, simple language when explaining your plan. Avoid jargon as much as possible so that there is no wrong communication and everyone is on the same page.
Clear statements such as, "I will show you the three ways this plan fulfills our project goals," best convey your message.
Explain your process for developing a budget and timeline. Sponsors and managers want to know how you came up with your estimates. Be prepared to briefly explain your method. While explaining, name any potential variables or risks that may affect these projections, and how the project might be considered for them.
You do not have to go through every calculation you make. Start by stating the estimate for each mile, and provide a summary of how you reached that conclusion. If anyone wants more information, be prepared to go into more detail.
Be brief and direct when explaining the budget. For example, say, "I calculated a total budget of $ 15 million for this project. This includes $ 7 million for material costs, $ 1 million for permits, $ 5 million for labor costs, and $ 2 million in land purchases.I developed these estimates by researching the normal costs for construction in this area last year.I would be happy to explain these calculations further if anyone wants more details.
Provide a complete copy of the project plan to all stakeholders. You do not read the full project plan word for word at the meeting, and some stakeholders may need more information. Provide a full copy of your report to each stakeholder, either electronically or on paper. Allow them enough time to review it and get back to you with suggestions.
If your team has a shared cloud folder or uses a communication software, upload the plan here. Also print some copies of the paper to bring to the meeting.
Your stakeholders may like a summary of the information without a full report. Provide a handout that hits all the key points in your plan.
Ask for feedback and changes. Evaluating the project plan is a normal part of the process. It is likely that even a stakeholder will suggest changes to the project plan. Ask the team for feedback or criticism. If someone suggests a change, include it in the entire team. If they agree, make the plan change.
Saying, “I am sure I am comprehensive in the plan of this project, but I welcome any feedback or suggestions,” shows that you are happy with the plan you have made but flexible enough to work as a team as well.
Take concerns from project managers seriously. They are the ones who need to carry out the project, and if they think one of your estimates is unrealistic you should consider reviewing it.