The complexities of a project plan unravelled
In this article, you’ll learn about creating a project plan – one of the core project documents in PRINCE2 projects.
What is a project plan?
A PRINCE2 project plan provides a statement of intent, describing how and when the project’s objectives are to be achieved. It outlines the major activities and resources required to produce the products within the project’s scope.
Why do you need a project plan?
By producing a project plan, the project manager informs the business case about planned costs. It is used as a benchmark to monitor progress of the project. It also identifies the required management stages of the project.
It is usual for the project plan to include the current stage plan, which is like a mini plan that details the products, resources, activities and controls required to move through the current stage and prepare for the next.
What is included in the project plan?
In order to meet its objectives, the project plan must provide detail to manage the creation of project products, and not simply which activities are required to produce those products. Such management activities include:
Project plan contents
The project plan should include all of the following:
- Plan description – Outlining what the plan covers and the approach taken to planning
- Plan prerequisites – Providing the fundamentals which must be in place and remain in place for the project to succeed
- External dependencies – Outside influences which may affect the project plan
- Planning assumptions – The assumptions used when designing and writing the project plan
- Lessons incorporated – Lessons learned from similar previous projects, and how they are applied to this project plan
- Monitoring and control – How the project plan will be controlled and monitored
- Budget – The costs associated with the project plan
- Tolerances – The tolerances that are acceptable for the plan to be successful, including stage-specific tolerances
- Product descriptions – Covering the project’s products and outcomes, including at the stage level
- Schedule – The timing of the plan and the current stage
Tips on producing a project plan
The project manager will use the following documents when writing the project plan:
- Project Brief
- Quality Management Strategy
- Risk Management Strategy
- Communication Management Strategy
- Configuration Management Strategy
He or she will also need to consider the availability of required resources, and the project registers and logs.
The project plan should be achievable, with team managers agreeing that their part of the plan is also achievable. It must comply with corporate standard, current laws and regulations, and customer specifications.
Of all PRINCE2 project documents, the project plan is one of the most extensive and complex to write, as it requires input and information from so many other sources.
In my next article in this series discussing the seven core project documents in PRINCE2 projects, we will examine the last of the core documents, the Project Initiation Plan. In the meantime, for all your project needs, contact Your Project Manager today: