Project Plan Template
It is created before the start of the project and tells us what it is prepared to achieve and what it consists of to accomplish the objectives.
What is Project Plan Template?
Among the several tasks in managing projects namely the initiation, design, execution, monitoring, closure, etc planning is the key task. Project Plan Template is a document that consists of a scope statement, a stakeholders list, a project schedule, cost baselines, schedule baselines, communication plan, and baseline management plans. Once these high-level requirements are entered into the document then it consists of time, cost, resources, and more. Learn by taking up PMP certification at StarAgile institute and explore more on the project plan template.
What is the Project Plan?
The project plan must answer the following questions such as
Why? - Why this project is needed? And what problems are solved by working on this?
What? - What do we accomplish from this? And what are the major goals and deliverables?
Who? - Who are the members and what their responsibilities are
When? - When should the project start and end? What are the milestones that we plan to achieve?
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We will now discuss the 8 steps of how the project plan is made.
- Discuss the deliverables with the key stakeholders and define goals and make the initial buy-in for the project.
- Enumerate the goals and outline of the projects in the project plan document.
- Document the project scope.
- Make a detailed project schedule with tasks, dependencies, duration, and milestones
- Add resources and define roles and responsibilities for the resources.
- Define the project tracking processes and define the communication process
- Plan for the timelines, budget, and assign the tasks to the resources.
- Plan for the launch of the project with a kick-off meeting.
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What is Project Management Template
It is a file or document or software that consists of the management charts and information such as a plan that can be used for different projects in an organization. This template is created with different task items, start and end dates, the owner’s name, duration, and Task status. This also consists of various tasks one would use in the project such as initiation, development, execution, operations, and launch tasks in the vertical column. The same template can be used in different projects with slight modifications and customizations. This is useful as it consists of all the required fields and it can be used with little modifications or no modifications for all the projects.
You can use the historical items in the template as baselines and best practices as you now know what to consider for the current project and what not to consider.
How to make Project Plan Template Excel
The first step is to add headers to the columns. Start from the second row and create headers for easy identification. You can choose the following headers such as Task, Project Owner, Start date, End date, Project Duration, and Project Status.
Project information addition
Now provide the project detail under each header namely Task, status, dates, etc. Provide the project details including project initiation, development, operations etc under the task. Likewise mention the details like who is the owner of the project, how much time is required to complete the work. The tentative start date and the current status of the project etc.
Highlight cells for visibility
This step is very critical and don’t underestimate it as just a coloring step. Highlight each task and write the subtasks in individual cells under them. Then use different colors to indicate the status to allow everyone to know the project progress in a glance of the excel.
Now it's time to be more specific about the plan and hence start using the columns after status and in the header, mention dates one after the other in each column. Shorten the cell size as the date to be mentioned as dd/mm which requires less space. So now we can color-code each date based on the task completion. Find the image below for better clarity.
Top 3 Benefits of the Project Plan
A project plan is an important item of any project. It is used to describe a lot of things such as to control the schedule, control the delivery, and communicate the expectations, and to manage the risks. It provides the roadmap for everyone involved in the project.
1. Communication - It increases the communication between the stakeholders and provides a feedback mechanism early in the project so that the milestones are created and project deliverables are updated and timelines are made for the progress of the projects.
2. Transparency - It increases the transparency and provides the guidelines on where to look for the information about every step of the project. Here in the project plan, the expectations of the project deliverables and timelines are set so that everyone is on the same page regarding the objectives and priorities.
3. Organization - It increases the organization of the projects in the sense it consists of a lot of information about the project tasks, dependencies, and milestones without which it is difficult to track the progress of the project. It also provides the timing of each activity and how it affects the project. It provides a view of how to accomplish things at the same time and how much time we need to spend on each activity.
Different Project Plan Templates
There are various types of project management plan templates available and suited to different types of projects.
The commonly used project management plan templates are as follows,
- Simple project plan templates
- Project timeline templates
- Project status report templates
- Project schedule templates
- Project management checklists
- Nonprofit strategic plan templates
- Marketing project plan templates
- Healthcare process mapping templates
- Financial services marketing templates
There small and basic deviations and differences in each of the templates and they are not the same. However, the fundamentals of each of the project plan templates remain the same. For example - Each consists of tasks, owner, start date, end date, duration, and project status. However what changes are the tasks in each of the sub-heading such as project initiations, project development, project execution, project operations, and project launch? The headings are commonly the same but the tasks differ in each of the templates.
Conclusion – Why need a simple Project Plan Template
We need project plan templates for the following reasons they are as follows,
- To track and analyze the projects in a single platform
- To see the best practices and historical data of the past projects to be used in the current project.
- To track and see the progress of the project
- To visualize the complex project schedules, costs, durations, tasks, dependencies, and project status in a single platform
- To monitor the work of the project team members
- To enhance the efficiency of the project
- To make the project transparent in terms of work and resources assigned
- To save money, resources, and time by properly planning the deliverables of the projects
- To prioritize the work tasks and items and manage the work to successful completion.
Now that you have got an idea of what a project plan is and how to make a simple project plan template, we recommend you to register for the PMP certification online at StarAgile for better hands-on with the project plan template for real-world examples. StarAgile is a training partner to Project Management Institute (PMI) for conducting the PMP online training. What are you waiting for register now and reap the benefits of certification in PMP?