What is Project Plan?
Before going to the project plan template in excel, it is necessary to understand what the project plan is. A Project Plan is a project description that includes the following: Goals, Objectives, due Dates, Activities, Deliverables, Resources, and skills needed, team members. These are all essential components that a project entails when a project is planned.
Although project plan refers to a document that also explains all aspects of a project including Project Name, Project ID, Client name, Project manager, Start date, End date, Days required, Team members, list of Tasks, Flowchart, Project Budget, Progress, Findings & Remarks.
What is Project Plan Template Excel?
A project plan template is a management tool that helps to create and organize your project. It shows the main phases of your project. It is a tool to help you make your plan, to follow the different phases of the project.
If you have a project plan, it is possible to track and control the project to evaluate whether your project is running according to the plan or not and how much the project has been completed, or detail of the main milestones.
Types Project Plan Template
Here I will explain 3 major types of project plan templates that help you to choose the right one for your project:
- Task-focused template: This tool creates a pathway that helps team members how they can complete their daily tasks and assignments. This type is used for a small project that does not requires more than 1 year of completion.
- Schedule-focused template: This tool split the project plan into small phases. This technique helps team members to stay focused on milestones. However, the duration of a phase is directly linked to the project time frame.
- Timeline-focused template: This type of template produced due dates for all pending activities. This tool is very helpful for a large project where there are many phases in a project.
Why is Project Plan Important?
It’s important to understand why a project plan is important? And the reasons are:
A project plan helps to see the whole picture of your project from start to endpoint on a single document. This management document creates a strategic pathway from one specific point to another.
A project plan document also provides us a vision to consider those aspects and factors that have a direct or indirect influence on our project. Like they may impact stakeholders’ interest, project cost, budget, project delay, etc.
This plan helps us to gather all team members, clients, stakeholders, and partners on the same page by defining what is this project, what we will get, and who will do it.
Project Management Plan – Key Elements
It is important to understand a project management plan’s key elements that help us to plan better. Our project plan cannot be completed without these core elements. Here I will discuss these core elements.
The key elements of a project management plan are the following:
- Scope Statement
- Project Charter
- Critical Success Factors
- Work Breakdown Structure
- Resources Plan
- Stakeholder Management
- Risk Register
- Procurement Plan
In project management, it is very important to understand project limits or boundaries, whether a project is going out of budget or within the limit. For example, every business purchasing a project that includes a pen to a heavy machine must be noted and analyzed its cost. If the cost goes up then it became out of scope. So, it becomes necessary for the project to define scope definition, as it’s one of the biggest reasons for project failure; if an issue arises in it.
Another term is “Scope Creep”, It refers to the addition of anything in a project or product that is not according to the agreed document, or any change in the project plan or addition of a new feature in the product after beginning the project is scope creep.
A project charter is a core document that is prepared to explain why this project is necessary (reasons), the objectives of the project and its constraints, what we can get from this project in terms of profit or product, and major stakeholders according to their interest in the project, what kind of risk that we can face in this project, major benefits of this project and how much capital we need to complete this project (budget).
Some basic elements of the Project Charter are:
- Project requirements
- Risk assessment
- Major milestones
- Success factors
- Project Budget
- Stakeholder’s requirements
- Role & Responsibilities
- Project Sponsor requirements
Critical Success Factors
Now it’s time to set the criteria for the success of a project. These factors vary from project to project here are some critical success factors that are essential to every project plan.
- Due Dates (time-span)
- Project Budget (cost management)
- Quality Management (SOPs)
- User benefits
- Change orders
- Minimum product rejection rate
- Employee satisfaction
Deliverables are the final result of the project plan or end product that deliver to the project sponsor or customer at end of a project. This could be in any form a document, software, product, etc. Each project plan has deliverables.
Work Breakdown Structure
WBS is a technique that split up project plan into small tasks that we can easily allocate to the working staff. Basically, this method helps project managers to manage employees’ duties on daily bases to weekly bases. Also, we can manage the project plans in different phases throughout the project life cycle.
It’s another project plan core element, in this phase we make a project work plan, time, and set due dates for all tasks, deliverables, and milestones. However, stakeholders are also involved in this process of setting time.
After scheduling, it’s time to assign a budget and evaluate how much we need a specific amount of budget to complete our project in time. This process is the backbone of any project because our assumptions and calculation go wrong, it results in project disaster. So, make sure to assign more than a set amount that helps in case of any change during a project.
Quality is the key to project success. But first, we have set quality standards and SOPs for a project. These standards and SOPs help us to evaluate whether a project is completed according to the standards or not. For example, your company has the plan to construct a road in a populated area, if they build a road in such a way that disturbed residents of the area, it will called bad Quality standards.
Resource planning is very important for a successful project because a well-managed resource plan ensures resource availability for each department or team member when needed. For example, a construction engineer and HR manager need a van, in this case, you have to full fill their requirement in such a way that both can use the van according to their required time.
Stakeholder management is involved in managing them in the order of their power to influence and interest in the project. This is curial to manage because in it you have to see all aspects that go in the project’s favor and minimize the impact of those factors that can put your project in danger.
|Project Owner||High||High||In-time project completion,
No project issues, Good Reputation
|Landowner||Medium||Low||Expecting high price for land|
|Electricity Utility||High||Low||Gain more time to deliver electricity to the project,
Agreements between company and supplier.
Communication is another essential part of a project plan because it provides a communication structure within and outside the company. So, we have to make this plan simple and clear. If our communication plan has some loopholes or is complex then it will lead to miscommunication and that will be very bad for the project. 27% of the project fails due to a lack of communication or bad communication structure.
A risk register is a log that records all kinds of risk factors that has a direct or indirect impact on our project. Basically, it’s a record book that provides enough data to make risk management or risk mitigation plan. However, a risk is measured on the scale of Probability and Impact. To evaluate risk level first we conduct a risk assessment analysis.
Moreover, a risk register includes the following:
Risk Description. It’s a risk statement that describes risk and its type. A good risk statement helps to understand it better and avoid confusion.
Probability. It’s the graphical scale that has numbers from 1-to 10 which classifies occurrence chances of risk during a project execution phase.
Impact. It’s also a scale that has a number from 1-to 10 which classifies the possible impact of risk on our project.
Priority. The set priority between risk factors, first we do multiply probability figures with impact figures that give us priority number. After that, we rearrange risk factors according to the bigger priority numbers.
Trigger. It is a specific act, condition, or environment that increases the occurrence of a risk. For example, during construction weather conditions (rain, thunderstorm, heatwave, twister, snowfall, etc.) can trigger risk factors like delay factors.
Risk Response. Now it’s time to take a risk plan that helps you to deal with risk. A risk response plan is a set of actions that reduce its impact or eliminate risk. This plan also, describes who will do what and when in what circumstances.
Effective Way To Write A Simple Project Plan in Excel
If you don’t know how to write a project plan here is the guide that you can use to make your project plan (simple project – complex).
STEP 1 – List down project scope & goals
According to research, 38% of project fails due to unclear goals. So, to avoid this failure, you have to write down your goals that must be SMART. However, you must define the project scope, objective of the project, resources that are required to complete the project, project deliverables, and methodologies to make the project successful. These definitions make a clear pathway to your project’s success.
STEP 2 – Create a Timeline
After creating the project scope and goals, it’s time to create a timeline for your project. A timeline is a strategic map of your project that provides directions and timing for the project management process. In which we set a time for each task to complete.
Moreover, you have to compensate for delays in your timeline, because a project plan is a live document in which we manage different changes and rearrange activities according to scenarios. So, you set margins!
STEP 3 – Assign Tasks
It is the most important part of the whole project plan because in this step we assign tasks among our working team according to their skill set. Now, this task management goes in such a way that no team member faces difficulty or heavy workload. And along with this task management, you need to conduct meetings with department and team members when the execution phase starts.
STEP 4 – Set up Milestones
Basically, milestones spilt a project plan into small parts or phases that can be easily identifiable. And you can make different strategies, plan, and set a budget for each part or phase according to requirements. However, when setting up milestones, project goals, and tasks must be considered.
Step 5: Evaluate risks & Risk Management Plan
In this step, first, we evaluate and analyze risk factors that we can face during project execution and their impact on a project.
It is important to note, that risk surveillance goes on throughout the whole project and keeps going on until the project is complete.
After identification and evaluation of major types of risk factors, we make a risk mitigation plan or risk management plan, which set SOPs on how to handle risk to minimize their impact or eliminate risk.
Step 6: Assign Roles & Responsibilities
Now it’s time to assign roles & responsibilities among team members. This technique helps you to identify who is capable of this work, who will do it, when, and who is responsible.
Basically, it’s our project work hierarchy that explains who is what and their role in a project plan.
Step 7: Resource management
In this step of a Project Plan Template Excel, we analyze and evaluate what kind of resources are needed to complete this project successfully. As we know, there are different types of resources are required that are following:
Human resource. includes team members, project managers, stakeholders, staff, labor, etc.
Material resource. includes all kinds of material, tools, chemicals, etc.
Technology. software, devices, etc.
Logistics. includes transportation
Professional Services or consultancy: includes any type of professional services or consultancy that we are purchasing for our project.
Step 8: Communication Plan
A communication plan can play a vital role in project success. A poor or complex communication plan leads a project toward failure.
So, always make a communication plan simple in hierarchical order. A good project communications plan should include the following:
- Objectives: A message must be brief, clear, and simple.
- Target audiences. before you send any message you must know who is your target audience or the concerned person. For example, if you want to send a task completion report then your target audience will be your project manager.
- Content of communication. it is also important to keep your communication content simple, clear, and understandable. And must be according to the audience. It means if you are communicating with labor then your content will be different than you communicating with a project manager.
- Communication Channel. You can use a different channel for communication within or outside the company but it depends. You can use the postal service, mobile devices, emails, etc. In case, if you need to talk urgently with your supervisor you can use the mobile device for instant communication.