How To Create a Project Plan

If you're wondering how to create a great project plan, here are a few easy steps to get you started.
Written By
September 28, 2022
Written By

You don’t need in-depth project management knowledge to create a workable project plan. You only have to identify activities that must be done, who does the activities, and start & end times for each activity. 

No project plan looks the same as it should match the needs of the users. Following a systematic process can help set a clear direction for your planning decisions. Today, we are presenting six basic steps you can use to create a simple project plan. Let's get started: 

Step 1: Identify &  hold discussions with key stakeholders  to set goals

The first phase of your project planning process is to meet with key stakeholders. You should hold preliminary discussions to talk about what must be realised, brainstorm ideas,  and reach definite conclusions about the future of the project. 

You will need to set specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely goals. At this stage, you can prepare an executive summary document to summarise all the goals and objectives.

 Step 2: Define the project scope 

A project scope details the work that must be done. It should contain a full description of specific goals, deliverables, project justification, major milestones, tasks, technical requirements, cost estimates, constraints, customer reviews, and deadlines. 

You may need to work with direct and indirect stakeholders in the creation of clear and concise project scope. The outcome of this stage is a scope statement — describes the work to be done. You may also prepare a project charter document —which declares the existence of the project. 

Step 3: Establish a timeline 

After identifying tasks, you need to visually present them in a chronological order. The most common way to present project activities is to use a horizontal bar chart (Gantt Chart). It allows teams to visualize task dependencies, start and finish dates, and assigned roles.    

Step 4: Assess the project risk and create contingency plans 

Projects face internal and external risks that can interfere with their execution and desired outcomes. Some examples of risks include communication issues, budget constraints, new client requirements, or delayed milestones. 

It's important to have an overview of all potential risks and their severity. Creating contingency plans can help minimize their impact and ensure the longevity of the project.  

Step 5: Allocate resources 

Before allocating resources, you should have a clear project scope. Next, you identify available resources and match them to project tasks. It's also important to think of resource availability. For instance, you need to consider when certain team members will be off on a holiday. It's also important to identify resource dependencies, where one resource relies on another resource. 

Step 6: Assign roles and responsibilities 

There are several key roles you should assign to relevant stakeholders. For instance, the project manager oversees the completion of the project by assigning tasks, creating a schedule, recruiting staff, etc. Next, you must set out the responsibilities of the project team members. The project also needs a sponsor to champion its completion and may also have an executive sponsor who takes on the role of approving key phases and scope changes. Your team may also need a business analyst who verifies deliverables, gathers client requirements, identifies business needs, and documents requirements.  

Step 7: Hold a project kick-off require meeting 

The last phase of creating a project plan is to have a project kick-off meeting. You may go over the project objectives, timeline, and upcoming tasks with the team and client. It boosts morale and kicks off the project on a high note. 

Staying organised is critical during the project planning phase. You can use a workflow software such as WorkPilot to assign responsibilities, facilitate collaboration, create recurring checklists and establish clear workflows for the attainment of all project tasks. 

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