A project plan is a document that specifies the main guidelines to be followed when developing a project. This, indicating responsibilities, deadlines, budgets and other relevant data.
In other words, the project plan must detail all the necessary information so that a project can be carried out successfully, fulfilling the objectives set.
The idea is that this plan is a base that serves as a guide for a working group to focus in the same direction. This, based on certain guidelines.
Parts of the project plan
A project plan consists of several parts. Not all the reviewed sources coincide in including the same sections, so we will try to include those in which there is consensus.
Define goals and metrics
The first thing is to define the objectives of the project. These must be concrete, for example, increasing market share to 12%, relaunching a product or brand, etc.
The important thing is that the objectives are clear and ideally measurable through indicators or metrics. In that sense, the SMART approach can be followed.
This methodology consists of configuring the company’s objectives in such a way that they are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and temporary. Precisely, the name SMART refers to these concepts, but in its name in English: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.
Define responsible and roles of the project plan
It is essential to define who is responsible for each task. The idea is to know who should approve certain decisions, who should supervise certain activity, etc.
This, being shared among the entire team, will help better coordination and accountability in case of delays, for example.
Undoubtedly, a project requires an allocated budget. This can be distributed for each department, or based on a task or activity.
For the budget, you must be very precise in the measurements, both in expected income and projected expenses.
Set milestones and deliverables
Milestones are those relevant advances in the project. For example, if an audiovisual product, such as a series, is in development, a milestone might be the release of the pilot episode.
On the other hand, the deliverable is what is presented when the milestone is reached. In the given example, the deliverable is the pilot episode itself.
Define the project plan schedule
In planning time is very important. Otherwise, it could take a long time to complete the project. By having defined deadlines, this will allow the team to feel the pressure to complete the task on the agreed date and not fall into procrastination.
It is valuable to set the dates reasonably and taking into account that contingencies may arise.
Finally, once the plan has been designed, it must be shared with the entire work team.
An example of a project plan might be the relaunch of a news website.
Among the objectives we could have:
- Reach an X number of visits.
- Gain positioning as one of the main news media in the country.
- Generate revenue from advertisements on the website.
Likewise, a person responsible for the redesign of the web page is assigned, and a team of five editors and a video reporter who will edit the videos that will accompany the journalistic notes are hired. All of them, under the direction of an editor.
To hire this team, of course, a budget is required. In addition, among the most important milestones we could highlight the presentation of the prototype of the page, the presentation of the image of the new website to the directors of the journalistic medium and, finally, the launch of the renewed news portal.
The entire project could be developed in a period of five months, with the presentation of the web prototype at the end of the second month.
This would be, in very broad strokes, an outline of a project plan. However, as you might suspect, the actual document will need to be very detailed and rigorous. In this way, the achievement of the objectives will be guaranteed.