Wednesday 14 April 2021

How to make a project plan: 7 steps to success

All processes, concepts or objects start with something. This moment of origin happened a few days or years ago, and everything looked different - not as it is now. Looking at the car, for example, we realize that it was not like this in the beginning: first the idea appeared, then the idea was conveyed to other people, which caused the discussion; Designers joined the work, the assembly process was launched and more.

The above is a small example. But he perfectly explains the essence - everything has a beginning.

Project management is no exception. Being a complex chain of tasks and processes, it also starts with something. This first step is to plan the project.

In this article, we'll talk about the planning plan and process, as well as the "how to create such a plan" We've set aside seven steps.

What is a project plan?



You may have noticed that we mentioned the planning process in addition to the plan. What's the difference?

It's as simple as that.

Planning is a process, a discussion. During it, it reveals the amount of work, goals and paths necessary to achieve them.

The plan is an official document containing all planning decisions, approved volume, costs. Its main functions are monitoring, facilitating communication between participants and scheduling.

Creating a project plan, the manager should already have key knowledge and skills. This increases the chances of its successful implementation. In addition, the plan will help you anticipate and avoid unnecessary mistakes and bad decisions, as well as save time and reduce costs.

Project plan goals

A well-prepared plan should answer the following questions.


The reasons for the project should be clarified; what a problem needs to be solved.

A what?

The question concerns the work that needs to be done to achieve the result and the ultimate goals.


The question of the people involved, their roles and responsibilities; about how they should be organized.


Here we are talking about the schedule/duration of the project.

How to make a project plan?

Before you start compiling, the manager should be aware of the large number of questions that will arise throughout the project and the answers to them. Each question can be singled out separately. Still, it is better to identify common patterns and patterns. So, what does a manager need to do to make a project plan.

1. Communicate

The first step to success is to communicate with the team about goals, participants, tasks, etc. The manager should know who is responsible for what task, about the timing, as well as just about everything that happens in the project.

It should be added that communication is not only the first step. Communicating throughout the project is the key to success.

2. Identify participants and targets

Identifying all project participants sometimes causes difficulties: there can be a lot of them. Moreover, they can have a more or less impact on the project, directly or indirectly. That is why it is important to identify all those who have a direct impact on the plan and take their wishes seriously.

Who can be a member of the project:

  • The customer is the person directly financing and approving the work;
  • The project manager is the person involved in planning, then creating, executing and controlling the project;
  • The project teamthat creates the final product. Team members are involved in many important processes, including development, quality assurance, design work, etc.
  • end user;
  • Others. This list can include a wide variety of people: risk analysts, supply specialists, etc.
  • What can be done at this stage? Conduct interviews with key players. This way you will understand what requirements are set and what goals should be achieved. The most effective way to achieve goals is a SMART goal setting technique.

The interview also allows the manager to understand the problem the project is solving and why it is funded at all.

That's our question.

3. Determine the entire amount of work

Undoubtedly the most important part of any planning. All the key points are highlighted and discussed here: justification, product description, compliance criteria, goals and results, limitations, assumptions, valuation and some others. All participants in the project must come to a full understanding and agreement at this stage. As soon as the discussion ends, everything important is recorded in the document, which captures the content and scope of the project.

At this stage, the risks of misunderstandings that could lead to uncontrolled expansion of the project are also reduced.

That's our question.

4. Identify roles and responsibilities

One of the most important tasks of the manager is to distribute tasks among the team members. They need to know their roles and responsibilities. And, of course, we should not forget that teams are formed units with a certain number of participants.

That's our who the question.

5. Make a project schedule

This point is a direct continuation of the previous one. Once roles and responsibilities are distributed, the next step is to establish a duration for each resource with start/end dates.

That's when it's a question.

At the same stage, the manager sets key events, the critical path - in general, deals with the schedule of work.

What kind of project tool to choose?

6. Visualize the project plan with the Gant diagram
Note that some people, speaking of graphics, imply the whole project. That's not quite true. A visualized schedule is just part of the planning and plan as such. The whole project is a more complex structure.

Use GanttPRO, an online project planning tool. With it, the manager can:

  • Create and distribute tasks
  • Set their duration with start and end dates.
  • Set dependencies between tasks. The manager follows all the events and knows when the final task gives rise to the next one;
  • Follow the progress of individual events and the project as a whole;
  • Identify the resources needed to complete tasks
  • Set the cost of resources;
  • Interact with team members and see all the changes they make.
  • Keep an eye on key events;
  • Visualizing a critical path is the shortest period of time it takes to complete a project.
  • With GanttPRO Ganta diagrams it is easy to manage planning processes and draft.

7. Manage risks

All stages of the project may be at risk. Therefore, managing them is one of the most important moments in planning.

An experienced manager is able not only to assess and anticipate such situations, but also to create a plan with ways to solve them. The team, in turn, also needs to know how to respond to any changes.

What are the risks?

  • Optimistic expectations about time and cost;
  • Poorly defined requirements and wishes;
  • Poorly designated roles and responsibilities;
  • Changes in requirements;
  • New requirements
  • Budget cuts;
  • Poor interaction.
  • Let's sum it up

There are no identical projects. 

One can be perfectly implemented without risks and postponed deadlines. The other may fail even if it has the same participants, costs, schedules, and goals. Risks and changes in the project are inevitable. But still to facilitate the planning itself and make a plan will help competently planned volume of work, schedule, estimated risks and excellent teamwork. In this case, even difficult projects can bring pleasure.

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