One of the critical factors for project success is having a well-developed project plan. This article provides a 10-step approach to creating the project plan.
Step 1: Explain the project plan to key stakeholders and discuss its key components. One of the most misunderstood terms in project management, the project plan is a set of living documents that can be expected to change over the life of the project.
Step 2: Define roles and responsibilities. Not all key stakeholders will review all documents, so it is necessary to determine who on the project needs to approve which parts of the plan.
Step 3: Hold a kickoff meeting. The kickoff meeting is an effective way to bring stakeholders together to discuss the project. It is an effective way to initiate the planning process. It can be used to start building trust among the team members and ensure that everyone's idea is taken into account.
Step 4: Develop a Scope Statement. The Scope Statement is arguably the most crucial document in the project plan. It's the foundation for the rest of the project. It describes the project and is used to get standard agreement among the stakeholders about the scope.
Step 5: Develop the scope baseline. Once the deliverables are confirmed in the Scope Statement, they need to be developed into a work breakdown structure (WBS), which is a decomposition of all the deliverables in the project.
Step 6: Develop the schedule and cost baselines. To involve in developing the schedule and cost baselines, you need to identify activities and tasks required to produce each of the work packages, creating a WBS of tasks, resources for each task, if known, and estimate the time and money needed to complete the task.
Step 7: Create baseline management plans. Once the scope, schedule, and cost baselines have been established, you can create the steps the team will take to manage variances to these plans. All these management plans usually include a review and approval process for modifying the baselines.
Step 8: Develop the staffing plan. The staffing plan is a chart that shows the periods, usually a month, quarter, year, that each resource will come onto and leave the project. It is similar to other project management charts, like a Gantt chart, but does not show tasks, estimates, begin and end dates, or the critical path.
Step 9: Analyze project quality and risks.
Project Quality: Project quality consists of ensuring that the end product not only meets the customer specifications but is one that the sponsor and key business experts want to use. The emphasis on project quality is on preventing errors, rather than inspecting the product at the end of the project and then eliminating mistakes.
Step 10: Communicate! A critical aspect of the project plan is the Communications Plan. This document states such things as:
Who on the project wants which reports, how often, in what format, and using what media.