Project plans are dynamic—they have to evolve with the project because of the changing nature of projects. The most successful plans address these three elements:
What is to be done?
When should it be done?
Who should do it?
Answering these three questions determines the shape of the project, what its technical approach is going to be, what resource skill sets are needed and how many, how long it is going to take, and how much it is going to cost.
One key component to developing a successful plan is the review process. Often organizations do not provide formal reviews of the plan on the erroneous notion that there is not enough time in the planning cycle to accomplish them. But every minute spent in the planning cycle pays dividends in the long run. When things go wrong in the implementation phase, the company will rue its decision not to spend the extra week to thoroughly review the plan and to obtain buy-in from all the stakeholders.