A plan of some description is absolutely paramount for any project. You need a good plan for any chance of getting your job done on time. But there are so many different potential plan structures out there, so how do you choose to create a plan that’s easy for everyone involved in the project to understand, yet that also allows the freedom for you to rearrange it when needed? We’ve looked into various ways to create the best project management plan to suit different needs. Here’s the seven tips we came up with:
Every project management plan should embrace the full scope of the project at hand. Some of the smallest details may be worked out later, but the plan itself must cover the full range of the project with the input and buy-in of all the major stakeholders, so you know that you are not missing a trick. If this is to be your blueprint that everything stems from, you simply cannot afford to overlook anything here and is perhaps the single most important consideration in terms of any plan.
“I always advise getting everything you possibly can in writing at the conception phase, which can then be used to input your plan. What you are doing here, in essence, is preparing for the changes that will naturally come about as the project commences: understanding how the project is deviating from the original plan enable you to maintain some semblance of control in an otherwise uncontrollable arena,” says Rick Stiepeman, a data manager at Essay Help and PaperFellows.
Get stakeholder buy-in
This point has already been touched upon, but a plan that does not have the buy-in and support of all the major stakeholders is not worth the paper it is written on. Imagine you have every key stakeholder working off of a different plan? One plan that is agreed by all is fundamental.
This is another critical aspect of an effective project management plan and may be the aspect that causes the greatest consternation among the various stakeholders at various aspects of the project commencement. Getting these timeframes right is immensely difficult, so the key here is always to be realistic, and again get the buy-in and agreement of those stakeholders from the outset. Also, accept that there will be delays and frustrations along the way, and try to build in contingencies as far as possible.
Just as important as time is cost: they are often synonymous. Again you can expect these costs to escalate as the project drives on, but that is why being realistic and not cutting corners is so important. Once again, and this cannot be emphasized enough, the expert insights of the key stakeholders are vital in shaping these costs, and it creates an atmosphere of collective responsibility. No one wants anyone pointing fingers at a later stage.
Expect the plan to evolve, and edit accordingly
Your project management plan is a living, breathing document, so not expecting it to change and adapt to the project is just senseless. Failing to edit the plan as changes arise is also a mistake as the plan must be accessible to all stakeholders at all times and must accurately reflect the current nature of the project as far as possible.
“Imagine a scenario when halfway through the project, the stakeholders review the plan, and it had failed to reflect all of the major, inevitable changes that have taken place through the project’s timeline. That original document is essentially useless now, other than a document which shows you how far you have deviated from reality,” warns Teresa Reilly, a tech writer at BoomEssays and State Of Writing .
There will be problems that are unforeseen, but there will be others that you saw coming a mile away. For the latter, failing to factor them into the original project management plan is just a basic failure to anticipate. For the former, it is just about giving enough leeway to acknowledge that we cannot control everything all the time.
You think that everyone understands their role and responsibilities in the project, right? That’s not enough. Responsibilities should be assigned in detail in the plan, and this can prevent major headaches at a later stage. Again, assigning roles has to be performed in agreement with all of those key stakeholders. Otherwise, you will be met with resistance when the time comes. This is another fundamental aspect of any effective plan.
When it comes to writing an effective project management plan, certain aspects of it, like attempting to anticipate unforeseen hurdles and inevitable changes, as well as making sure to assign responsibilities evenly, can be tough. But I hope these seven tips help you out with producing a great plan, whether this is your first time planning like this or whether you are experienced.