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What Should Be Included in a Project Plan
By Stephen R Martin

It is very common for novice project managers to be daunted by what to include in their project plans. While Project methodologies like Prince 2 offer some guidance for those looking for more formal support, many PM’s remain (incorrectly) put off by their complexity and are left in the dark about how to construct a plan.

A good project plan gives direction and facilitates the delivery of your objective – a project plan that isn’t robust could impact your timeline and cost so it’s important that you spend the time in getting it right.

So what should you include? Most projects have some core aspects to them and a generic framework can be used pulled together and then iterated (depending on your deliverable) – here’s our top list of things to consider when putting your plan together

1. Your project team

What resources you have at your disposal will be one of the things that drives the pace of your project – consider whether your project will have a steering board and whether they require gate reviews

2. A breakdown of the product or service that you’ll deploy

An effective work breakdown structure can really make or break a project – breaking down your deliverable into constituent parts can help achieve this – consider an IT implementation it could consist of:

  • Implementing Hardware
  • Finding a software provider
  • Install & configure software
  • Training

Consider how your plan can be broken down into stages.

3. Project Scope

The scope of the project describes the boundaries which the project will operate in – again using our example of the IT implementation the scope might describe the user base or functionality that will be delivered

4. Project Finances

Similar to your Project team your project finances will determine your implementation approach consider the constraints that your finances will place on how you’ll deliver.

5. Transition Planning

If your project is delivering a product or service that will be managed after your project completes you’ll need to think about how the transition will occur.

6. Project Completion

Consider what criteria will be required to demonstrate closure of your project – consider this upfront early on in your project to ensure there’s no ambiguity on behalf of your customer.

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