Salesforce Project Management Software by Aprika

Developing a Project Management Plan in 6 Steps

Developing a Project Management Plan in 6 Steps

Getting a new project is exciting. Tempting as it may be to jump right into the project and figure things out as you go along, it’s vital to go in with a plan. Without a basic project plan, you may be setting yourself up for failure. That’s why Developing a Project Management Plan is vital.

When you have everything outlined and well-planned, you’ll increase your chances of managing a project that delivers on every expectation.

This guide outlines the steps to develop a project management plan that results in quality deliverables on time and within budget.

What Is a Project Management Plan?

A project management plan is a document outlining how the project will be executed and managed, in order to meet its stated objectives. It communicates vital information such as project deadlines, key milestones, and assignments to all project stakeholders.

The project plan helps the project manager map out the steps and resources needed to complete a project on time and within budget. It’s often presented as a Gantt chart to make it easy to track the project’s progress.

A project management plan helps prevent scope creep, overblown budgets, and missed deadlines and minimizes stress and frustration.

Project plans provide a shared vision for what the project aims to accomplish. This enables the team to work together to achieve the project’s goals and deliver excellent results.

Additionally, project plans clarify the responsibilities of each team member and stakeholder in the project. They also organize the project’s work from start to finish, preventing confusion and enabling prioritization.

Essential Elements of Developing a Project Management Plan

There are essential elements you must include to create a good project plan.

  • Scope statement: This is a statement of the work the project team will complete throughout the project. It clearly outlines the project requirements and deliverables. A scope statement is the foundation of a good project plan and significantly reduces the risk of budget and time overruns.
  • Schedule: The project schedule communicates to all stakeholders when the project is to be delivered. A schedule lists all tasks and deliverables and estimates how long it will take to complete each task.
  • Budget: Every project must have an estimate of the costs to be incurred to deliver the project successfully.
  • Statement of requirements: This is a written statement of stakeholders’ expectations and what they require from the project. Understanding requirements helps deliver the project to their expectations.
  • Quality assurance (QA) plan: A QA plan outlines the project standards, acceptance criteria, and metrics, including pass/fail requirements, that the project manager will use to ensure project requirements and deliverables meet quality expectations. It’s used to conduct quality reviews and inspections during the project.
  • Resource allocation plan: The plan identifies all available resources for each task and estimates their costs and contributions. It also identifies gaps in resources and offers a plan to bridge them.
  • Stakeholder list: Lists all the stakeholders (anyone that has an interest in the project) involved in the project, their roles in the project execution, and expectations.
  • Risk management plan: It identifies potential risks and how the team should respond if these events happen.
  • Communications plan: It outlines what, when, and how each stakeholder will receive their communication. It also outlines who prepares updates, how often, and who receives them. A communication plan explains which decisions need to be reviewed and approved and who’s responsible for each action.

Your steps to Developing a Project Management Plan

It’s essential to establish a solid process you can use to plan any project. Follow these basic project planning steps in Developing a Project Management Plan:

Step 1: Research and pre-planning

The idea here is to make sure that you know everything there is to know about the project before you start planning.

Make sure that you understand the project scope and value. Find out the:

  • Project goals and outcomes
  • Partnerships and outlying dependencies
  • Potential issues and risks

Be thorough in your research to find critical project details, and ask thoughtful questions before committing to the project.

Interview key stakeholders to know how they work and what they expect. This shows the stakeholders that you care about the project’s success and instills their confidence in you.

It’s also vital that you get to know your team. Take time to learn more about every team member. Get to know their expertise, interests, skills, collaboration and communication styles, availability, and workload.

The research and pre-planning step helps you understand the project fully so that you’re able to plan better and increase your success rate.

Step 2: Define the scope of the project

Once you’re familiar with the project and its stakeholders, you need to define the scope. When describing the scope, ask yourself what the team needs to produce or deliver and what problems the stakeholders are trying to solve. Once you have the answers to this, develop a comprehensive project scope statement in collaboration with the stakeholders. The statement should contain a description of the project and the product deliverables, as well as the boundaries of the project.

In the statement, prioritize stakeholder needs and set specific project goals. Also, describe the project objectives and the outcomes you hope to deliver.

Clearly write your project scope statement so that everyone can understand and make it easily shareable.

Step 3: Define deliverables

Now that the project scope is clear break it down into smaller, more manageable deliverables. Then assign resources to each deliverable based on the skills needed.

Next, estimate the amount of work needed for each deliverable and how long it will take. This will help you to come up with a proposed timeline.

Breaking your project scope into deliverables enables you to plan and coordinate tasks more efficiently. It also makes it easier to track your progress once work begins to ensure your team completes tasks on time and keeps stakeholders satisfied.

Step 4: Create the project schedule

The next step is to analyze each deliverable and define groups of related tasks (work packages) that team members should complete. Then determine the time each task will take, the resources necessary, and who will execute it.

You also need to determine whether there are any dependencies, i.e., any tasks that need to be completed before others can begin.

Use a visual tool such as a Gantt chart to create your project schedule. A visual layout of project tasks, durations, milestones, and dates is easy to follow and track.

Step 5: Run a risk assessment

Every project comes with risks. Preparing for threats adequately will buffer your project from its effects. Run a risk assessment to determine any issues that might affect the project and any unforeseen circumstances that could hold the project back.

Once you’ve identified potential risks, come up with a mitigation plan to prevent them from occurring or minimize their negative impact should the risks arise during project execution.

Step 6: Present and confirm your plan

The last step is to confirm that your plan is airtight. Run your final plan by your internal team to get their thoughts on it and to verify that it’s realistic and achievable. It will also help confirm that everyone on the team is comfortable with the assigned tasks and deadlines.

Once your team okays the project plan, you can go ahead and present it to stakeholders. Provide an executive summary in the form of a project brief or project charter. The summary should be a short rundown of the overall methodology, resources, assumptions, deadlines, and related review times.

Remember to let your stakeholders know how your plan addresses their expectations and the solutions you have to any conflicts. Clearly communicate to the stakeholders what’s expected of them and what actions they need to take.

Once the stakeholders sign off on the project plan, distribute it to all relevant parties and start putting your plan into motion.

How Mission Control Can Help You Create Your Project Plan

Mission Control project management software is full of features that make creating a project plan effortless. You can use the Launch Pad to create a project planning template that you can use for all your current and future projects. You can also clone an existing project to create a plan for a new project quickly.

Create a detailed project schedule using our Gantt chart. You can quickly add task dependencies, milestones, deadlines, resource hours, labor costs, and more.

The Kanban board will also come in handy when creating Work Breakdown Structures for your project deliverables. Quickly assign tasks to appropriate team members, add deadlines and create Work In Progress Limits to help members focus on the most urgent tasks.

Ready to start planning your projects more strategically? Request a demo to see how Mission Control can help you.



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