How to Write a Project Management Plan?
Creating a project management plan can be daunting. Don’t worry! Read here to learn how to create an effective project management plan for your next project
Creating a project management plan can sometimes feel like inventing a new field of physics.
The ability to plan out and deliver a project is, frankly, underrated. A project running out of control, leading to ballooning costs and an expanded timeline, is a story as old as the business hills. How do you stop that from happening? With a quality project management plan.
Here's how to write yours.
1. Identify the Objectives
Having a diffuse set of objectives is a way to doom your project before it even begins. When you identify your objectives, make them clear, attainable, and measurable — structure them using SMART principles.
Your objectives form the project outline and the basis of your project management plan. This is the horizon you'll look to if you ever feel your project start to drift. As they anchor a project in this way, being specific with your objectives is essential.
2. Define Scope and Deliverables
"Scope creep" has been the death of many a project (or worse, its unchecked expansion). It describes the tendency of projects to balloon out of control if the scope isn't strictly defined. Your scope defines your deliverables – what people can expect out of your project.
Scope creep is the stuff of project management nightmares, because it causes a project's costs to spiral and its timeline to extend. If uncontrolled, it could mean the project never even reaches completion. Even if a project gets over the finish line, scope creep can greatly reduce its ROI.
3. Identify Resources
Resources form the basic building blocks of your project. You could compare this step to the idea of mise en place in a kitchen. You need to line up your resources before you can begin "cooking".
This preparation will highlight any areas in which your resources fall short. If you only have half as many people as you need, you're looking at a project that could take twice as much time.
4. Determine Timeline
Defining a timeline for your project achieves a few major things:
Set expectations: Gives all stakeholders certainty concerning delivery dates
Define milestones: When you know the timeline, you can split it up and define milestones
Limit scope creep: Alongside defining your scope, setting a timeline helps limit scope creep
5. Finalize Quality Standards
Of course, getting the job done isn't always enough — not when it falls below the expected quality standard. That's why quality checking forms a key part of the closing stages of the project. This is the chance to squash any remaining issues before you deliver the project to the stakeholder.
6. Create a Completion Checklist
In all the excitement of seeing your project come together, it's easier than you'd think to forget something important. That's where your completion checklist comes in.
By putting together a completion checklist, you can ensure you've hit all the planned objectives for your project. This is also a good chance to evaluate the overall success of a project.
Your Project Management Plan Made Simple
Creating a strong project management plan may seem daunting, but the key lies in the simplest of project principles: break things down into specifics. With these tips, you can do exactly that to keep your project on track.
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