The purpose of a project plan is to maintain control of a project.
As a complicated process, a project always threatens to exceed the limit of your control. Some people are better than others at controlling complex problems, but all of us reach our limits at some stage. To maintain control you need help in the form of tools and your best tool is your plan. The project plan controls the project by:
- Breaking a complex process down into a number of simpler components
- Providing visibility for obscure or ambiguous tasks in the project
- Providing a single point of reference for everyone
- Enforcing scrutiny of the sequence and nature of events
- Providing a baseline against which execution of the project can be compared
- Anticipating likely events and providing pre-planned means of avoiding them.
A project plan must be as accurate, complete and as specific as possible. How accurate, complete and specific of course depends upon how much time and resources you have.
Nick Jenkins is an IT manager with 10 years experience in software development, project management and software testing. He’s worked in various fields of IT development in Australia, Britain and the USA and occasionally he learned something along the way. Now he lives on the banks of the Swan River in Perth, Western Australia, and he publishes the odd guide to help aspiring IT professionals. Nick’s website can be found at www.nickjenkins.net.