The project plan (also known as the project management plan) is a document that formalizes all planning to execute, control and close the project . Through it it is possible to know the objective of the project, what are the estimated costs and time, what resources will be involved for its execution, and much more.
As this is such an important part of the project, which will serve as a guide for everything that comes after, the preparation of the project plan can be somewhat complex. But to help you with this we will explain to you, in a practical and simplified way, how to create a project plan in just 3 steps. Follow!
How to create a project plan
The sixth edition of PMBOK®, a good practice guide for project management, brings the development of the project management plan as a process in the area of project integration management .
Therefore, the guide describes the inputs , tools and techniques, and the outputs ( outputs ) of this process. Follow to better understand:
The first element to develop the project plan is the project charter (or project charter ). This is the document that authorizes the start of the project and contains its main information, such as: name, need of the project and who will be the project manager.
The project team, led by the manager, will meet to analyze and detail this document, which will serve as the basis for the entire management plan.
Outputs from planning processes
The PMBOK has ten areas of knowledge in project management, and each of them presents a specific management plan (called auxiliary plans ). These plans are integrated and consolidated as a sub-plan of the project plan.
Here it is worth mentioning that, once the auxiliary plans are integrated with the management plan, they cannot be modified without first having these changes approved by the project manager. In addition, it is important to understand that not all projects will have ten auxiliary plans (for each management area), this will depend on their complexity. For example: in a low complexity project, it may not be necessary to have a risk management plan.
Company environmental factors
The company’s environmental factors are elements of the organization itself that can influence the development of the project plan, such as: corporate governance, legal restrictions of the institution, infrastructure and organizational culture.
These factors need to be taken into account when drawing up the plan because they may represent restrictions on the project manager. For example: what is the organization’s quality policy?
Organizational process assets
Organizational process assets are information about the organization’s processes that can influence the development of the project management plan.
An organizational process asset can be, for example, historical information from other projects already carried out in the organization.
Tools and techniques
Tools and techniques are instruments and procedures used to assist the execution of some activity within the project.
In the case of the development of the plan, the tools and techniques help to involve the interested parties to collect and analyze information that will compose the document.
The expert opinion consists of hiring external agents with specialized knowledge to assist in the development of the project plan, such as an outsorcuing specialist in project management. The expert opinion technique can help:
- Determine what human resources will be employed in carrying out the projects and what skills they should have.
- Determine what management processes are required for the project.
Data collection consists of techniques that can be used by the project team to seek solutions to problems, discuss the project management approach, project integration, and more.
Some of the data collection techniques are:
- Brainstorming : group dynamics that aims to gather new ideas for the project.
- Checklists : a checklist that helps the project manager to confirm that all information essential to the project is available in the plan.
- Discussion groups: meetings with stakeholders to discuss specific points in project planning.
- Interviews : questionnaires conducted with interested parties to obtain information that will compose the project plan.
Interpersonal and team skills
They are a set of skills that the project manager must have and / or develop to lead the development of the project plan. The main ones are:
- Conflict management : Ability to resolve differences between the team that is developing the document.
- Facilitation : ability to circumvent obstacles and guide the parties that are involved in the development of the project to reach problem solving together.
- Meeting management: manage meetings so that they are clear and objective.
Meetings are used to decide details of the project plan and involve stakeholders in this process. They are especially important to mark the beginning and end of the process of developing the plan.
Project management plan
After collecting all the inputs and using the tools and techniques, you will generate the project management plan, which will contain the basic information about the project , the auxiliary plans , the cost baselines , schedule and scope, and some additional components that will be needed for your project (such as the project lifecycle and the change management plan).
Thus, the structure of the project plan may be, for example:
- Project title
- Manager name
- Sponsor and / or client name
- General aspects of project management
- Project life cycle
- Scope management
- Schedule management
- Cost management
- Quality management
- Procurement management
- Communications management
- Risk management
- Stakeholder management
- Resource management
- Integration management