Frank G. Scarpaci

Article Summary:

This project management plan includes six steps to ensure your project is completed on time and meets its goals.

Project Management Plan

When you're facing a large project or assignment, it's easy to become overwhelmed by the scope of the thing, or mired down in the small details. The first important tool for managing a project is the simple "Project Plan." Before you take another step, you must have a Project Plan that includes the following six elements:

1) Goals
Define the opportunity to be seized or problem to be solved. Write your goals using the SMART method: Are your goals Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound? Be sure to clearly identify all your stakeholders' needs and expectations (i.e. customers, employees, etc.)

Examples:

  • Launch XYZ product by [date] to the [ABC] market segment.
  • Create and deploy web-based XYZ product training to all sales representatives by [date]
  • Create an web-based confidential customer satisfaction survey that is accessible on all major web-browsers by [date.]


2) Deliverables
Create a list of things (items, features, services, etc.) the project needs to deliver to meet the goals. Specify how and when each deliverable must be achieved. Assess whether each deliverable is absolutely necessary to achieve your project goals.

Examples:

  • Product Features and Benefits Matrix: Marketing team will develop matrix during the Design phase
  • Competitive Analysis: Marketing team will conduct a through competitive analysis during the Research phase
  • Web-survey: IT department will perform quality control check during the Test phase.

3) Tasks and Schedule
Identify the specific tasks required, estimate the time required to complete, and who will carry out each task. Be sure to include your project team in estimating the work effort required to complete each task.

Examples:

  • Conduct Competitive Analysis: 80 Hours, Erica Gonzalez, [Start Date], [Due Date]
  • Design Survey Web-form: 20 Hours, Sally Jones, [Start Date], [Due Date]
  • Test Web Survey: 20 Hours, Michael Smith, [Start Date], [Due Date]


4) Resources
Define the roles and responsibilities of the individuals on your team.

Examples:

  • Delores Chang, Project Manager, Develop and lead project and project team.
  • Erica Gonzalez, Marketing Manager, Marketing liaison and subject matter expert
  • Bill Johnson, Sales Director, Project stakeholder and Sales Department liaison


5) Reporting
Define how you will report and track your progress and establish a mechanism to ensure your team is aware of all key milestones and work planned.

Examples:

  • Project Timeline and Schedule to be updated weekly and made available to team on Mondays via company intranet.
  • Sub-team Status Reports prepared and reviewed with project team during weekly team conference calls.
  • Budget Report prepared and reviewed with CFO monthly.


6) Risks
Identify the risks that may impact your project and how you plan to deal with them.

Examples:

  • Customer firewall prevents access to web survey: Risk Level Medium
    » Increase testing phase to include testing various firewall programs.
  • Sales Managers may "skip" web-based product training: Risk Level Low
    » Develop enrollment and training completion reports and submit to Sales Director.
  • Competitor releases comparable product: Risk Level Medium
    » Develop additional value-add features


A project plan like the one outlined here is one of the many simple project management tools and techniques available. Using this project plan will help ensure your project is completed on time and that it meets the goals initially laid out.

Frank G. Scarpaci is the owner and founder of Project Designworks, a project, event, and organizational development consulting firm dedicated exclusively to progressive businesses, nonprofit organizations, and social entrepreneurs. His diverse experience in the small business, corporate and nonprofit sectors enables him to provide the right blend of strong leadership, creative solutions and project management expertise to help his clients bridge the gap between vision and results. Visit Project Designworks at www.projectdesignworks.com

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