What is a project plan?
A project plan defines project goals and objectives, specifies tasks and how goals will be achieved, identifies what resources will be needed and associated budgets and timelines for completion. A project plan defines all work in a project and identifies who will do it. A typical project plan consists of: A statement of work, a resource list, work breakdown structure, a project schedule and a risk plan.
Having a well-developed project plan is one of the critical success factors for projects. A project plan is the Project Manager’s communications and control tool for use throughout the lifecycle of the project. Project plans are living documents, which provide project direction. Project plans contain all of the planning documents that are part of the entire process. Components of the project plan include baselines, baseline management plans, risk management, quality, procurement, resourcing and communications.
The project plan identifies the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders. The project manager gets clarity and agreement on what will be done, by whom, as well as which decisions each stakeholder will make. The scope of work statement is one of the most important documents in the project plan. The scope includes the business need and business problem, the project objectives, deliverables, and key milestones.
Project baselines are established in the project plan. These baselines include scope, schedule and cost baselines. The scope baseline will include all of the deliverables produced on the project. The deliverables can be developed into a work breakdown structure. Schedule and cost baselines will include estimates of the time to complete each task and the cost of each task. Task dependency is identified in order to develop the critical path.
The project plan will also include a scope change plan, a process for issue escalation, a risk management plan and most importantly a communications plan. Project managers spend a lot of time developing clear project plans. A well thought out project plan leads to smooth execution and successful completion.
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