The main purpose of a project plan is to serve as an important basis for assessment and decision-making. This type of plan provides a detailed overview of the status of a project in terms of both the broad and the key aspects of the overall project, including the expected outcome and what each team expects to achieve within a given time period. In other words, a plan covers the entire gamut of activity associated with the whole project, including its beginning, its development, its completion, and the ongoing management of that activity. The process involves identifying, outlining, planning, carrying out, and reporting all activities related to the entire project.
There are two major types of projects that require a plan in order to function effectively: the internal ones and the external ones. Internal projects, such as those conducted by business units, departments, and even teams, typically entail a large number of tasks and responsibilities, many of which are very time consuming, complex, and difficult to understand at a glance. On the other hand, an external project requires only that certain goals are achieved, although the exact time frame for this goal may vary from project to project.
Internal projects usually occur within organizations, and the projects themselves are known as “internal works”. External projects, however, generally occur outside of an organization, such as in the course of a foreign country, a private organization, or an international research collaboration. External projects, on the other hand, are commonly referred to as “external works”. In most cases, these projects are characterized by their size, scope, and complexity.
The primary purpose of a project plan, therefore, is to provide managers and project managers working in an organization with an objective description of how the entire project will be carried out, as well as its ultimate goals, including timelines and resources. For instance, the process involves identifying the various elements of the project, determining the nature of each element, planning strategies for achieving each element, identifying and assessing the consequences of any changes in the planned direction, and developing an appropriate action plan for completing the entire project.
A plan, by its very nature, is not an exhaustive list of every detail related to the project. In fact, it’s actually a list of items that have been assigned to specific people, departments, or teams in the overall project. Although there is a definite order in which these items are listed, these items are more often categorized in a way so as to provide the organization with an idea of their relative importance. In addition, the list of things is also ordered so as to provide general guidelines for assessing progress, providing a sense of consistency in the work flow of the entire project.
The process begins with identifying the objectives of the plan. This can be done by asking yourself, “What would be the major benefits for the organization as a whole, which can be clearly defined in a single sentence?” Once you have identified the main objective, you need to focus on developing a clear, precise statement that clearly explains this objective.
Next, you’ll need to focus on identifying the main factors involved in achieving this goal. These could be anything ranging from the “big picture” that encompasses the major purpose or objectives, to the details of implementing those goals or objectives, or even the “small picture,” which is the specifics of how each part of your plan will contribute to the overall goal. The details of your plan should include a concise list of everything that will be necessary for reaching the objective, and a detailed description of each element of your plan. It’s important to describe the process by which you reached your objective, including the steps taken to achieve it, and the time, cost, and/or quality of each element.
Finally, you should write down the overall goal of your plan, and the sequence in which you are required to complete the process. You should also list all of your staff, and their roles within the overall process, along with their corresponding responsibilities. By doing this, you’ll have a clear and precise outline that outlines the entire project, while providing an accurate guidepost for the entire project.