Sunday 2 January 2022

How to create a project plan to keep work on track

The project planning is essential to organizing all the elements related to a project and making sure your work is on track. a good project plan can help you get everything you need to do in one place, from goals and budgets to milestones to communication plans. save time and reduce your headaches by creating a work plan to make your project a success.

What is a project plan?

A project plan (or work plan) is a blueprint that shows the important tasks that a team must complete to successfully achieve project goals. project plans should be built on a platform that is accessible to all members and must contain information about project schedules, scopes, due dates, and deliverables. when you create a project plan in a work management system, you can plan, track, and report on your work all in one place.

  • differences between project plans and project charters
  • the project plan and the work plan are the same thing. different teams and departments call it differently, but both ultimately show the same thing. in other words, a list of the big-lot action steps needed to achieve a project goal .

differences between project plans and project charters
a project charter is a tool that you use to gain approval from key stakeholders before you start a project. in other words, this must be created before you can plan your project. the project charter is a simplified version of the project plan and should include three things: the purpose, scope, and responsibilities of the project. once the project charter is approved, create a project plan to provide a detailed blueprint for the key elements of the project.

  • the difference between a project plan and a project scope
  • a project scope defines the size and boundaries of a project. as part of your project plan, you should outline the project scope and share it with all stakeholders in the project. if you're worried about scope creep, you can make sure you're working hard by reviewing the predefined scopes in your project plan while the project is in progress.

to fine-tune your strategic plan, you must first have a project schedule. however, the work plan is not completed by itself. you should also direct other important points, such as stakeholders, goals, and milestones.

the difference between project planning and agile projects
agile project management is a framework for teams to divide their work into iterative and collaborative components. agile frameworks often run in conjunction with scrum and sprint methodologies. as with any project, having a project plan in place before you start working can benefit agile teams.

why is project planning important?

the project plan prepares the entire project. without a project plan, the first important step in the overall project management process is not enough. by creating a well-written project plan, all stakeholders can understand the direction and responsibilities of the project, ensuring that the project has the resources they need before it actually starts.

with a project plan, the person responsible for leading the project execution can anticipate potential challenges during the project planning phase. that way, you can make sure your project is achievable, otherwise you can track it as needed. according to a study by the project management association, project planning is strongly correlated with project success. creating a good plan means you can do better. this means that mastering the planning phase will also improve project efficiency and results.

7 steps to creating a project plan to keep your work on track
to have a clear project management plan, you need to know all the parts in motion. regardless of the type of project, all work plans require:

if you're not sure what each item is, read the description below.

step 1: set medium- to long-term goals

there must be some reason for working on a project plan, such as a team or company achieving its end goal. but without a way to measure success, you won't know if you've achieved your goals.

all project plans should clearly set the desired results. identifying goals not only allows you to articulate the rationale for your project plan, but also allows all members to have a common understanding and focus on delivering the results you want. and a study also shows that employees who know how their work contributes to the company's goals are twice as motivated. nevertheless, only 26% of employees know that. that's because most goal settings are done away from the actual work. by defining goals in your work plan, you can connect your team's work directly to project goals.

what is the difference between the long-term and medium-term goals of the project?
in general, the long-term goals of a project are higher than the medium-term objectives. when writing long-term goals for a project, summarize what will happen if the project is successful and how the project meets the overall goals of the business. on the other hand, when writing medium-term goals, focus on the specific deliverables you want to achieve by the end of the project.

the project plan provides the direction the team needs to achieve its long-term goals through the project's mid-term goals. by incorporating long-term goals directly into your plan, you can always see the end goals of your project. when you define a project scope or outline a project schedule, review your long-term goals to make sure that your work supports you achieving your key goals.

article: how to write effective project mid-term  goals (with examples)

step 2: set success metrics

Once you've defined your goals, set key criteria for success so you can measure your success. Goals are the ones you expect, but you need success metrics that show whether your work is on track to achieve the results. The most convenient way to do this is to setsmart goals. Smart goals make success metrics clear and measurable, making it easy to see if you've met your goals at the end of your project.

For example, if your goal was to hold an annual conference for seo professionals for three consecutive days starting june 22, you could use having at least 1000 participants as an indicator of the success of that goal. it's an easy-to-understand, measurable goal.

step 3: identify stakeholders and roles

collaborators are most often involved in running projects. when planning project management, organize which team members are involved in the project and what role each member plays. doing so will help you decide who is responsible for each task (which we'll discuss later) and let stakeholders know how you want them to be involved.

during this process, you define the different roles and responsibilities that you want to give stakeholders. for example, who will be directly responsible for the success of the project? who should be involved before finalizing something? which members of the cross-functional team should be included in the project plan? are there any risk management factors that need to be included in the plan? and so on.

Consider using a system likeraci diagrams so that you can determine who is going to work on the project, who approves the decision, who contributes to the project, and who needs to communicate information as the project progresses.

then, after you have all the roles and stakeholders together, include the document in your project plan. once you've finalized your plan, your work plan is the only source of trust that can be trusted across departments.

article: 9 strategies  for managing multiple projects

step 4: set a budget

when you run a project, it usually costs money. you'll spend some money, hiring freelancers for content writing or asking events for catering services.

now that you've defined goals and stakeholders as part of your project plan, you'll use that information to budget. for example, if a cross-functional project with multiple departments, will the cost of the project be shared between departments? if i have specific goal metrics, such as the number of participants or new users for an event, can i take that action with the proposed budget? etc.

by establishing a budget during the project planning phase (and before costs occur), you can make smarter and more economical decisions during the project execution phase with approval. now that you've established goals and stakeholders as part of your project plan, it's easier to allocate that budget appropriately. with a plan, you can determine which parts of the project require and how much you need, and you can avoid sudden costs later.

step 5: focus on milestones and deliverables

an important part of planning a project is setting milestones and specific goals that indicate what you are accomplishing. milestones don't require a start or end date, but once you reach the milestone, you've achieved significant results in running the project. milestones are used to measure progress. for example, let's say you're developing a new product for your company. setting a prototype completion milestone in the project timeline can help you measure the progress of your work.

Project deliverables, on the other hand, are those that have actually been completed as achievements when a milestone is reached. In the product development example used here, the milestone was achieved when the prototype artifact was completed. Asana's free templates for project planning make it easy to organize your projects around deliverables and milestones. This gives everyone on your team clear visibility into the work within the project scope and the milestones the team is aiming for.

article: how  to set, achieve, and celebrate project milestones

step 6: put together a timeline and schedule

to achieve project goals, you need to clarify the timeline and schedule of the entire project. to do this, it's important to prioritize when making strategic plans.

a project may not have a clear timeline. if you have some unknown dates for large projects, consider creating a project roadmap instead of a full-fledged project timeline. roadmaps can help you clarify the order of work for different tasks without necessarily having to set the exact date.

once you've got a rough person in charge, it's time to focus your energy on the details. the work plan template first divides the project into tasks to ensure that all processes run. larger tasks can also be broken down into smaller subtasks for manageable.

next, you assign start and finish dates to each task or subtask. see visually how all your work is connected in a cohesive project timeline. add stakeholders to plan closely who is responsible for what and by when.

article: how  to create a project timeline in seven steps

step 7: share your communication plan

we've seen earlier that most projects involve multiple stakeholders. this also means that different people communicate differently. in a project plan, you can preconfigur the work that is expected of the person responsible for the project. it's also important to have a communication plan in order to ensure everyone knows what's going on, progress, and what's next. a clear communication system can help you respond in the event of a failure.

ask yourself the following questions as you create your communication plan:

how many project-related meetings do i need to have? what are the goals of the meeting?

how do i manage status updates? where to share?

what tools do you use to manage your projects and communicate progress and updates?

as with any element of a project plan, make it easy to see your communication plan in your project plan. stakeholders and multi-departmental collaborators need to be able to easily find these guidelines during the planning and execution phases of a project.

article: why  a clear communication plan is surprisingly important
project plan example
to help you understand what your project management plan looks like, here are two examples: a marketing project and a design project. please refer to it when you create your own project plan.

project plan example: annual content calendar
let's say you're the company's content manager and it's all about creating and delivering a content marketing calendar for all the content that's coming next year. the first step is to create a work plan. the image above and the description below should look something.

goals and success metrics

Set the goal of creating a content calendar and creating content to increase engagement by 10%. success metrics include email open and click-through rates, your company's social media followers, and content search rankings.

stakeholders and the roles of their respective members
five members will participate in this project.

you in charge of content: create and manage your calendar

Content writers Brandon and James:Provides manuscripts for each content and copy

Editor Nate:Edit content and provide feedback/p>

Paula, producer:Publish content that has been created and edited

  • budget
  • milestones and deliverables
  • timelines and schedules
  • communication plan

the budget for project planning and a year's worth of content is $50,000.

the first milestone is to complete the creation of a content calendar that shows all topics for the year. deliverables are actual calendars that can be shared. clearly mark milestones and deliverables on your project schedule.

the schedule of the content calendar project plan was set as follows.

as part of your communication plan, we will hold a kickoff meeting, followed by a monthly progress sharing meeting. send weekly status updates on friday afternoons. all communication related to the project is done within the project management tool .

free editorial calendar templates

Example project plan: website redesign

In this example, the company's website was finally redesigned and completely renewed. this project requires extensive work and high expectations from a variety of stakeholders, so detailed planning is required. here's an example of this project plan:

goals and success metrics

The overall goal of your work plan is to increase conversions on your company's website by 15% by the end of the year. success metrics are the number of daily visitors enrolled in a free trial and the conversion rate for your registration.

  • stakeholders and the roles of their respective members
  • you in charge of the project: plan and manage the project
  • Sophie in charge of UXR:Research and provide insights
  • James and Jenny:Providing new designs for the website
  • Content Rep Shelly:Create new building blocks, copies of web pages, and content
  • Web Developer Kate:Implement a new website
  • Rob, Head of Web Developer:Announces New Website, Reflecting QA Results
  • Marketing Director Emily:Provides feedback and approves the project


the budget for redesigning the new website is $30,000.

milestones and deliverables

Once the research phase is complete, Sophie submits a report with recommended ways to create designs and content (deliverables), you'll reach the first milestone.

timelines and schedules

March to May: Sophie does all the research needed to redesign the website.

May to July: James and Shelly create designs and content in parallel.

Early August: Kate publishes a new website designed by James and created by Shelly.

Communication plan



A communication plan can be found by using a project management tool that allows you to manage all your tasks, communications, and assets in one place. have a kickoff meeting before you start, and then meet after you've achieved each milestone. other communication, such as status updates and receiving work requests, is also performed in the Project Management tools.

  • free templates for web design
  • How Class Pass manages project plans from start to finish
  • Kerry Hoffman, Senior Project Manager, Marketing Operations at Class Pass, oversees all marketing projects that the Creative, Growth, and Content teams work on. Here are three key strategies for her managing her project plan:


Identify stakeholders in advance: regardless of the size of the project, it's important to know who will participate and what role they will play so that the right people are involved at each stage of the project. this also clarifies the assessment and approval process before the team starts working.

Agree on how to communicate about your project: establish rules about when and where to communicate about your project, ensure that important information is communicated in the right place and everyone on your team is aligned.

Know and adapt to other members' work styles: projects don't always go as planned. however, with proper project integration management in place, you can keep your project running smoothly. also, understanding how project members prefer to work and making them accounted for when creating plans can help you keep your work on track after you start your project.

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