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A project plan is a formal document intended to direct a project's control and implementation. It's the key to every successful project and is the number one thing that should be created first before starting any kind of project. Project planning may also be applied in project management, project execution plan, project communication plan, project implementation, project quality plan, and project reports. The term project plan is defined according to what sector it is used for. In IT for instance, the term project plan refers to a Gant Chart that displays timeline project operations. If you think it thoroughly though, you'll probably notice that these documents alone can't be considered as a project plan in general. In IT, they are accounted for as project schedule and is only considered as part of the whole project plan.
A project plan is mainly used for different purposes. First, it helps in the documenting and communicating products and project expectations of stakeholders, through project planning you will be able to follow a timeline of activities and control the delivery, and lastly, it helps avoid unlikely risks to happen. To successfully construct an effective and functional project plan, we have provided a simple guide step for you to follow.
Before you start making a project plan in Microsoft Word or Excel, the first thing that you should do is to know your stakeholders. When we say stakeholders, it means the people who are affected by the results of your project plan. These people can be your clients, customers, or end-users. Make sure that their interest are your number one priority in making a project plan.
Statistics show that only 64% of projects actually meet their goals. If you don't want to be a part of that 64%, you probably need to establish clear and persuasive goals for your project planning. These goals should outline the project objectives and the benefits that you wish to achieve in the implementation of your task plan.
Be agile in accomplishing different tasks by setting a project schedule. The schedule should state and determine the amount of time needed to accomplish a certain task, the resources needed, and the person responsible for the execution. Through project scheduling, you will be able to finish the project on or before the given time frame.
When there is a project, there will also be a risk. So before you construct a project, asses yourself first whether there are any issues you know that will affect the project planning process. By identifying them, you should also provide safety cautions on how to avoid them from happening or limit the impact it brings. You may develop a risk management strategy for you to be prepared.
After applying the steps above in your plan outline, you are now ready to present them. Present and deliberate with your stakeholders the accomplished project plan. Explain to them how your plan addresses their expectations, and show solutions to the different problems that they may raise.