What Is a Project Management Plan and How to Create One
The outcome of any project is largely defined by how well it is planned. Naturally, any project will require some improvisation and flexibility during the execution, but a solid project management plan will help the project manager and project team adapt during the course of the project. A project management plan sets formal baselines for how a project will be managed and executed.
What Are the Parts of a Project Management Plan?
Every project plan has three main parts that make it up: activities, tasks, and resources. The project management plan defines everything that is needed in terms of these three main parts in order to successfully complete the project. A project manager will define what the project’s activities, tasks, and resources are based on input from project stakeholders and the project team.
The project manager will then create a project management plan that outlines specific project deliverables, goals, tasks, deadlines, costs, schedules, milestones, risks, and more. Basically, the project management plan exists to provide a clear picture of exactly what needs to be done to execute and deliver the project.
That being said, the project manager plan is not something that is done as soon as it is created. The project manager needs to constantly refer to and revise the project plan throughout the course of the project. They are also a vital resource for the project manager to refer to when creating project management reports.
Steps to Create a Project Management Plan
Every project manager plan is different, but there are some basic steps to follow to develop a project management plan. If you follow these steps, you will be well on your way to creating a good baseline project management plan that you can refer to and update throughout your project’s execution.
- Define the project scope: This is the first step after a project has been selected to work on. The project scope outlines base deliverables, costs, goals, deadlines, and responsibilities.
- Determine what resources are needed: After you define the scope, you will be able to determine what resources and how many are needed to complete the project. Resources include anything and everything that is needed for the project’s execution such as people, equipment, space, time, etc.
- Allocate the resources: After you have determined which resources are needed for the project, you can begin to organize them. Start by organizing the teams, then allocating each team the other resources they need to complete their responsibilities.
- Set task milestones: Milestones represent the end of certain project phases that are made up of related tasks. It is important to set milestones so that you can break up a project into smaller, more manageable pieces.
- Create a project schedule: A project schedule is a timeline over which you lay out all of the other project information including tasks, milestones, resources, etc. This will greatly help you visualize all the project data and stay organized during the course of the project.
- Identify task dependencies: After you have laid out all the project information in a schedule, you should make it clear which tasks are dependent on one another by linking them. This can be done in project management software, for example, through the use of a Gantt chart.
It may sound like a lot of work, but when you break it down into steps, it’s much easier to see how you can create a project management plan that will help you manage your project more efficiently. After a project has been selected, you should already have most of the information you need to create a project plan. It is just a matter of breaking the project manager plan down into its individual parts to organize and visualize all the moving parts that make up a project.
How Can Project Management Software Help?
Project management software is a powerful project planning tool that will help make your life as a project manager much easier. For example, an automated Gantt chart is an indispensible feature for managing a project’s schedule and tasks. You can easily create a visual timeline with tasks represented by bars and make quick updates that your whole team can see in real time. Everyone will be able to stay informed, see the project’s progress, and understand which tasks are linked by dependencies at a glance.
With our project management software, you will have at your hands not only the Gantt chart for project management planning, but other powerful project planning methodologies and workflows such as kanban, agile boards, and to-do lists. What are you waiting for to become better at project management planning?