The comprehensive project plan should bring together information obtained from all the various planning processes you ve undertaken in an organized, cohesive fashion. You can organize data in a number of ways to produce an integrated project plan. Many organizations use a standard template for project plans. Although the format and structure may vary, the key components of a project plan, as we mentioned in the chapter introduction, usually include (but are not limited to) the following:
Administrative information regarding the organization and revision of the document
Outputs of your planning processes
Any reference material
No standard sequence
If your organization has a program management office (PMO), there is probably a standard project plan template. If you do not have a template, you can use examples of project plans from previous projects to develop your particular plan. (You could try visiting well-known
It is a good idea to review
Let s take a closer look at the components of a typical project plan.
A comprehensive project plan can be a very lengthy document. To facilitate ease of use and ensure that updates are properly tracked, a project plan may include the following administrative components:
This section contains information regarding the update and maintenance of the plan. A document history lists the version
Table of Contents The table of contents displays how the information is organized, so that the reader can access a particular component. If you do not have a project plan template to follow, find examples from other projects in your organization. It is helpful to the people who will be referencing the plan to have the data in a recognizable sequence.
The planning components are the main body of the document, and they appear as
Executive Summary An executive summary is included to communicate with executives who are responsible for corporate business strategy or funding decisions, and any managers whose personnel the project will impact. It should contain high-level information written in nontechnical terms.
The executive summary typically starts with a brief project description that explains the business need or problem that generated the project request. It should include the overall goal of the project as it
Requirements The requirements section lists the functional, technical, and business requirements for the project, as defined during project initiation.
Scope The project scope defines the boundaries of the project based on the deliverables agreed to by the client.
Remember, this section describes both what is included and excluded in the product being produced by the project.
The stakeholder component identifies the people responsible for the success of the project. This includes the sponsor, client(s), project manager, and project team
There is debate among project managers as to the amount of detail to include in this section. For large projects that will last over six months, it may not be practical to list all of the project team members, as the baseline resource list you create during planning may change significantly multiple times over the course of the project. (For example, Kimmie may be the programmer initially, but she resigns to
Expected Resources The expected resources section lists non “human resources such as servers, software, etc., that you anticipate using. You may also list vendors in this section.
Assumption and/or Constraints The assumptions that were agreed on during the planning process and any known constraints that will impact the outcome of the project are documented in this section. These are outputs from your planning process. A typical assumption statement might read: The vendor will deliver on time.
You may also be required to provide information on how to view the current version of the project schedule (e.g., intranet page or other electronic location).
A copy of the project schedule baseline may be included as an appendix.
Budget The project budget is discussed here. This section may be very high level with only a summary figure for the entire project budget or it may break the budget down into various spending categories. Some plans also detail the method used to purchase capital equipment and track project capital and expenses.
A copy of the budget baseline may be included as an appendix.
One project we were familiar with (but did not work on) used a cute way to
Unfortunately, the project was a flop ”but hey, the baseline board has stuck in our minds all these
Risks The identified risks that could affect the success of the project and plans to avoid or mitigate the risks are listed in this section.
Issues The method used to identify project issues, assign responsibility for resolution, define escalation procedures, and track and report progress is described in this section. This section can also include a discussion of the overall environmental issues the project could run into, including the overall computing environment as well as the political, geographical, and integrated systems environments.
The communications component describes the method and frequency of communication with sponsor,
Implementation Plan The implementation plan is an overview of the methodology used to implement the project schedule. The plans you ve created for development, hardware, installation, securing, configuration, testing as well as other plans for correct implementation of the project schedule are included.
The support plan documents how the new system will be supported once the project is complete. Support may be limited to the update and maintenance of a new system or piece of hardware, or it may include a technical
Training Plan The training plan documents how training on the new system will be accomplished. This includes training for end users, help-desk staff, operations staff, or other groups, as applicable.
If you are using any existing checklists or have developed checklists during the planning processes, you can include copies in this section. Examples of checklists in this section are:
Other quality checklists
The reference section lists any sources used for project methodology, corporate standards, or best practices. A reference list may include:
A Guide to the PMBOK
Your Corporation s quality standards
Your corporation s system development methodology
Your corporation s project management methodology
ISO 9000 standards
Any applicable regulations or standards
An appendix can be used to provide a copy of detailed documents not normally included in the body of the project plan:
Project schedule baseline
Project budget baseline
With all of these components to consider, writing a comprehensive project plan can overwhelm a new project manager. Don t worry, we can share a lot of tips on how to make this come together smoothly with all of the data you need to oversee the project.
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