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Many professionals think of a Project Management Plan as a Gantt chart or a Schedule . Professionals who carry this misconception into the PMP® certification exam are the least likely ones to pass the exam. As you will see in this article, a Project Management Plan is a document that defines how a project is executed, monitored, and controlled; it is much more than a schedule chart. A solid understanding of the project plan can pay rich dividends throughout your preparation for the PMP® certification , and also help in managing projects.
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What Is a Project Management Plan?
The Project manager creates the project management plan following inputs from the project team and the key stakeholders. A Project management plan is a formal, approved document that defines how the project is executed, monitored, and controlled. It may be a summary or a detailed document and may include baselines, subsidiary management plans, and other planning documents. This document is used to define the approach the project team takes to deliver the intended project management scope of the project.
As the work proceeds, the performance of the project is measured against the performance measurement baseline included in the project management plan. The scope baseline, schedule baseline, and cost baseline are collectively referred to as the performance measurement baseline. If there is a deviation from the baseline while the work is being done, the project manager deals with them by making adjustments to correct the deviation. If these adjustments fail to correct the deviations, then formal change requests to the baselines become necessary.
Project managers spend a substantial amount of time ensuring baselines are achieved, ensuring the project sponsor and the organization get the full benefits of their projects. Besides proper planning, a project manager’s abilities also lie in efficiently controlling the project and ensuring project deliverables are on time—and that the project is completed per the project management plan.
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What Is a Project Management Plan Used For?
There are no shortcuts to a thorough understanding of your project than through a well-written, well-structured project plan document.
When compared to the project charter, which is a high-level strategy for the program, your project management plan breaks down that high-level perspective into the practical day-to-day operation of your project, addressing everything you must accomplish in order to achieve your project objectives.
Everything from timeframes to budgets , resources to deliverables, and more will be plotted out in a complete project plan, providing you with a roadmap of what needs fixing that you could use to manage and analyze your project.
What are the Components of a Project Management Plan?
A project management plan is a collection of baselines and subsidiary plans that include:
- Baselines for scope, schedule, and cost
- Management plans for scope, schedule, cost, quality, human resources, communications, risk, and procurement
- Requirement management plan
- Change management plan
- Configuration management plan
- Process improvement plan
The Importance of Project Management Planning
There is a tremendous amount of planning that goes into any successful project. When you're a project manager, you'll have a lot to remember at all times. As a result of your project plan, you will know precisely what to concentrate on at each stage of the project, where to allocate resources and time, as well as what to watch out for in case things run over schedule or over budget.
In order to get the most out of a project, you need to put in a lot of effort upfront to create a project plan that will serve you well throughout the project's lifespan. Here are five reasons why project management planning is essential.
It Serves as a Starting Point for Your Project
Your project plan, based on the agreed-upon scope, timeframe, and budget, will be developed in accordance with the authorized project charter. Having these baselines in place, specified, and authorized by the project owner will allow you to compare the actual progress of your project to how it was expected to be achieved.
This is very beneficial since it allows you to rapidly assess whether or not your project is progressing according to plan and, if it isn't, what needs to be done to fix the situation.
The Project Is More Organized
There are no alarms or surprises when your project is written out in a clear project plan. To make sure there is no space for misunderstanding or miscommunication, your thorough project plan will lay out all of the deadlines and deliverables in great detail so that everyone involved is aware of exactly what is expected of them.
It Lays Down the Project’s Scope in Detail
Another advantage of this alignment is that it prevents scope creep. When the project plan document clearly defines the stakeholder's expectations and all agreed-upon deliverables, it's easy to identify when anything is out of scope.
In addition, it makes it simpler to deal with these issues. As a result, everyone can be persuaded of what they initially committed to, and there is no doubt about what is (or isn't) within the scope of the project, owing to a written contract or project planning sheet.
It Provides for More Efficient Project Management
Breaking down the project's work into digestible parts like deliverables, goals, or tasks makes it much simpler to figure out what resources you'll need to get it done.
Once again, you may have begun to explain this in the scope statement at a basic level, but your project management plan would be where you become more specific about how you're going to utilize the resources you have available.
It Instills Confidence in Your Endeavor
Project sponsors, stakeholders, and the project team (and, if you're feeling really down, even yourself) might be comforted by knowing where you're heading and why.
When you have a project plan document, everyone can understand how your expertise as a project manager is advancing the project's and the organization's objectives in unambiguous terms.
Things You Need to Know Before Writing a Project Plan
You need to know these five things before you begin developing a project plan.
Determine the Project’s Baselines
The first step in creating a project strategy is to ensure you understand the fundamentals. Start with establishing the project's scope, timeline, and cost baselines, since these restrictions will dictate the remainder of your project planning.
Aside from the project charter, here is the place where you truly begin to map out these baselines and establish reliable estimations. Because you'll be comparing them to other projects to see how well yours does, be as specific as possible.
Determine the Repercussions of Your Project’s Failure to Meet Its Goals
Alternatively, you may ask yourself: what must happen first in order for the next step to be possible? Establishing your project's dependencies early on allows you to better manage your timetables, identify possible roadblocks, and minimize delays.
Select Key Players in the Undertaking
There are likely to be additional project stakeholders as you go through the project management plan as well as go through each step in more depth than you identified during your stakeholder analysis.
During this time, you should also consider which stakeholders have to be informed and engaged at which stages of the project in order to create a more thorough stakeholder management plan.
Identify the Project’s Key Milestones
What are the most important signs that your project is moving forward? Your project may be broken down into a series of smaller, more manageable parts, each with a clearly stated objective. This keeps the team engaged, enables you to celebrate your successes, and shows how the overall development is moving along.
Establish the Responsibilities of Everyone Involved in the Situation
With a clear picture of the labor and resources required, you can begin choosing who should be doing what. Each item must have a designated owner to ensure that it is completed.
Creating a Project Management Plan
As per the PMBOK® Guide , the project management plan is an output of the Develop Project Management Plan process in the Project Integration Management Knowledge Area.
The Project management plan is not created all at once. It is progressively elaborated, which means it is developed, refined, revisited, and updated. Since the project management plan integrates all the knowledge area management plans into a cohesive whole, it needs to be assembled after all the component plans have been created.
Most of the components of the project management plan are created in various processes defined in the PMBOK® Guide; for instance, the Communications Management Plan is developed in the Plan communications process.
However, the Schedule Management Plan, Cost Management Plan, and Scope Management Plan are created in the Develop Project Management Plan process. When a project charter is created in the initiating process group, it contains a summary of scope, budget, and a summary (milestone) schedule.
Since you already have these things at the time you begin developing the project plan, you can go ahead and develop the scope management plan, cost management plan, and schedule management plan. Later, when you perform the Plan Scope, Estimate Costs, and Develop Schedule processes, you can revise the components of the project plan with more detail to reflect a deeper understanding of the project.
How to Create a Project Management Plan? [ Explained in 6 Steps]
Step 1 - create a high-level template for project planning.
When it comes to your company, what does a project plan appear like? Starting with any existing resources that you can use as a reference, such as project plan examples or project plan templates, is a good place to start when developing a project strategy.
Make use of whatever resources your company makes available, such as a high-level template for planning projects, a project planning worksheet, model plans, or a calendar for preparing projects
Step 2 - Define Your Project Objective
There are many free templates and examples available to lend a helping hand with your preparation, but remember to choose the proper one for your project type when using one.
Your project management plan should be personalized to your project type, workforce type, and specific demands. IT project plans for new equipment rollouts, for example, are likely to vary from agile project plans, which in turn are likely to differ from more comprehensive strategic project plans.
Gantt charts, task lists, and other project management elements may help you ensure that your plan is effective.
Step 3 - Identify All Stakeholders
Once your project outline is ready, you have to identify the key stakeholders in the project success. Hence, it is important to collect all your requirements. Once you have collected this information, you need to define the scope of the project for each stakeholder and mention clear deliverables. To ace this step of project management good communication skills are required.
Step 4 - Get Feedback From Your Customers, Project Stakeholders, and Team Members
A strategy written in a vacuum is less likely to acquire the support it needs when the time comes. Your stakeholders will feel more involved in the project planning process if you include them, and it sets the stage for an integrated team atmosphere that will benefit your project.
Make sure you gather feedback from the project's leading characters when you establish a project plan, whether it's a planning meeting, a brainstorming session, or a one-on-one interview. Also, as an additional perk? It's an excellent chance for you to continue establishing connections with key stakeholders that you began developing throughout the stakeholder and project charter and analysis.
Step 5 - Any Previous Project Management Planning You’ve Done Should Be Included
If you've already completed stages 1-5 of project planning, you should include the results of those steps into your project management plan, as well as any research you've done up to this point.
The Project Management Institute's Project Management Body of Knowledge Guide and Standards recommend the following strategies for your project management plan:
- Plan for scope management
- Plan for the management of requirements
- A strategy for time management
- A cost-cutting strategy
- Plan for quality control
- A strategy for managing resources
- A strategy for managing communications.
- A strategy for risk management
- The procurement strategy
- Stakeholder outreach strategy
While the PMBOK suggests implementing these 10 strategies as a baseline, you may discover that various projects need different methods.
Each of these areas should be covered at some point in your project management planning, even if they aren't comprehensively documented.
Step 6 - Choose a Central Location for Your Project Management Strategy
Your project management plan, including your project charter, should be kept centrally so that all parties involved, including stakeholders, the team members, management, and clients, can easily access it.
How to Turn Your Project Management Plan Into a Plan of Action
Using a project management tool, you can bring your defined project management strategy to life, ensuring that you remain on schedule, hold your team responsible, and promote openness throughout the project.
Project Management Plan Approval
Since the project management plan is a formal document that is used to manage the execution of the project , it must receive formal approval. Who grants the approval for the project management plan depends on the organizational structure and a number of other factors.
Usually, the customer or the senior management of an organization does not approve the project management plan document. The customer signs the contract but often leaves the internal workings of the organization delivering the project. Typically the project plan is approved by the project manager, project sponsor, or the functional managers who provide the resources for the project.
It becomes less difficult for a project manager to get the project management plan approved, if:
- All the stakeholders are identified along with and their requirements and objectives.
- The project manager handles conflicting priorities in advance.
How Is Project Management Different From Financial Management?
Project Management involves all the practices required for managing a project to maintain its activities from its initiation till its termination, ensuring that the organizational goals and stakeholder demands are met.
Financial Management is all about managing resources and financial operations to increase profit while achieving the organization’s and stakeholder’s objectives as soon as possible in a satisfactory manner.
1. How can I write a project management plan?
Writing a project management plan requires you to identify your project baselines. Write an executive summary and create your timeline/ team charts. Next, you will have to perform and write a risk assessment. Note down your communications and resource sub plans. Lastly, present your project management plan to the stakeholders. Collect their insights, feedback, and suggestions. You must try to incorporate the relevant ones before finalizing your plan.
2. What are the six parts of a project management plan?
A project management plan comprises an executive summary, Gantt chart/ timeline, stakeholder or team chart, risk assessment, communication sub-plan, and resource sub-plan.
3. What is the purpose of a project management plan?
With all the details and necessary steps laid, a project management plan reduces confusion, boosts confidence, and prevents obstacles during project execution. It provides a clear outline and value proposition, assigning essential roles, identifying and preventing risks, outlining milestones, and ensuring clear communication and availability of essential resources.
4. What is project management methodology?
A project management methodology comprises a set of principles, processes, and values that gauge how a team will complete a project. It structures several factors that would influence the project competition, including planning, design and documentation, communication methods within and outside of the team, timelines, and assessment modes.
5. How can project planning software help plan projects?
Project planning software lends a helping hand and simplifies project planning from the beginning to the end. It supplies much-needed project management features and transparency in the planning and execution. It facilitates effective communication among and within teams, helps track key performance factors, store data in a central location, generate reports, and overcome any other project management challenges.
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What Is a Business Plan?
Understanding business plans, how to write a business plan, common elements of a business plan, how often should a business plan be updated, the bottom line, business plan: what it is, what's included, and how to write one.
Adam Hayes, Ph.D., CFA, is a financial writer with 15+ years Wall Street experience as a derivatives trader. Besides his extensive derivative trading expertise, Adam is an expert in economics and behavioral finance. Adam received his master's in economics from The New School for Social Research and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in sociology. He is a CFA charterholder as well as holding FINRA Series 7, 55 & 63 licenses. He currently researches and teaches economic sociology and the social studies of finance at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
A business plan is a document that details a company's goals and how it intends to achieve them. Business plans can be of benefit to both startups and well-established companies. For startups, a business plan can be essential for winning over potential lenders and investors. Established businesses can find one useful for staying on track and not losing sight of their goals. This article explains what an effective business plan needs to include and how to write one.
- A business plan is a document describing a company's business activities and how it plans to achieve its goals.
- Startup companies use business plans to get off the ground and attract outside investors.
- For established companies, a business plan can help keep the executive team focused on and working toward the company's short- and long-term objectives.
- There is no single format that a business plan must follow, but there are certain key elements that most companies will want to include.
Investopedia / Ryan Oakley
Any new business should have a business plan in place prior to beginning operations. In fact, banks and venture capital firms often want to see a business plan before they'll consider making a loan or providing capital to new businesses.
Even if a business isn't looking to raise additional money, a business plan can help it focus on its goals. A 2017 Harvard Business Review article reported that, "Entrepreneurs who write formal plans are 16% more likely to achieve viability than the otherwise identical nonplanning entrepreneurs."
Ideally, a business plan should be reviewed and updated periodically to reflect any goals that have been achieved or that may have changed. An established business that has decided to move in a new direction might create an entirely new business plan for itself.
There are numerous benefits to creating (and sticking to) a well-conceived business plan. These include being able to think through ideas before investing too much money in them and highlighting any potential obstacles to success. A company might also share its business plan with trusted outsiders to get their objective feedback. In addition, a business plan can help keep a company's executive team on the same page about strategic action items and priorities.
Business plans, even among competitors in the same industry, are rarely identical. However, they often have some of the same basic elements, as we describe below.
While it's a good idea to provide as much detail as necessary, it's also important that a business plan be concise enough to hold a reader's attention to the end.
While there are any number of templates that you can use to write a business plan, it's best to try to avoid producing a generic-looking one. Let your plan reflect the unique personality of your business.
Many business plans use some combination of the sections below, with varying levels of detail, depending on the company.
The length of a business plan can vary greatly from business to business. Regardless, it's best to fit the basic information into a 15- to 25-page document. Other crucial elements that take up a lot of space—such as applications for patents—can be referenced in the main document and attached as appendices.
These are some of the most common elements in many business plans:
- Executive summary: This section introduces the company and includes its mission statement along with relevant information about the company's leadership, employees, operations, and locations.
- Products and services: Here, the company should describe the products and services it offers or plans to introduce. That might include details on pricing, product lifespan, and unique benefits to the consumer. Other factors that could go into this section include production and manufacturing processes, any relevant patents the company may have, as well as proprietary technology . Information about research and development (R&D) can also be included here.
- Market analysis: A company needs to have a good handle on the current state of its industry and the existing competition. This section should explain where the company fits in, what types of customers it plans to target, and how easy or difficult it may be to take market share from incumbents.
- Marketing strategy: This section can describe how the company plans to attract and keep customers, including any anticipated advertising and marketing campaigns. It should also describe the distribution channel or channels it will use to get its products or services to consumers.
- Financial plans and projections: Established businesses can include financial statements, balance sheets, and other relevant financial information. New businesses can provide financial targets and estimates for the first few years. Your plan might also include any funding requests you're making.
The best business plans aren't generic ones created from easily accessed templates. A company should aim to entice readers with a plan that demonstrates its uniqueness and potential for success.
2 Types of Business Plans
Business plans can take many forms, but they are sometimes divided into two basic categories: traditional and lean startup. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) , the traditional business plan is the more common of the two.
- Traditional business plans : These plans tend to be much longer than lean startup plans and contain considerably more detail. As a result they require more work on the part of the business, but they can also be more persuasive (and reassuring) to potential investors.
- Lean startup business plans : These use an abbreviated structure that highlights key elements. These business plans are short—as short as one page—and provide only the most basic detail. If a company wants to use this kind of plan, it should be prepared to provide more detail if an investor or a lender requests it.
Why Do Business Plans Fail?
A business plan is not a surefire recipe for success. The plan may have been unrealistic in its assumptions and projections to begin with. Markets and the overall economy might change in ways that couldn't have been foreseen. A competitor might introduce a revolutionary new product or service. All of this calls for building some flexibility into your plan, so you can pivot to a new course if needed.
How frequently a business plan needs to be revised will depend on the nature of the business. A well-established business might want to review its plan once a year and make changes if necessary. A new or fast-growing business in a fiercely competitive market might want to revise it more often, such as quarterly.
What Does a Lean Startup Business Plan Include?
The lean startup business plan is an option when a company prefers to give a quick explanation of its business. For example, a brand-new company may feel that it doesn't have a lot of information to provide yet.
Sections can include: a value proposition ; the company's major activities and advantages; resources such as staff, intellectual property, and capital; a list of partnerships; customer segments; and revenue sources.
A business plan can be useful to companies of all kinds. But as a company grows and the world around it changes, so too should its business plan. So don't think of your business plan as carved in granite but as a living document designed to evolve with your business.
Harvard Business Review. " Research: Writing a Business Plan Makes Your Startup More Likely to Succeed ."
U.S. Small Business Administration. " Write Your Business Plan ."
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Project Planning: How to Make a Project Plan
This guide is brought to you by projectmanager, the project planning software trusted by 35,000+ users worldwide. make a project plan in minutes.
What Is a Project Plan?
How to create a project plan, project planning phase, what is project planning software, benefits of online project planning software, must-have project planning software features, project planning terms, project planning steps, how to create a project plan with projectmanager, what is the purpose of a project management plan, the elements of a project plan, how long does the project planning phase take, techniques for the project planning process, how to manage your project plan.
A project plan is a series of formal documents that define the execution and control stages of a project. The plan includes considerations for risk management, resource management and communications, while also addressing scope, cost and schedule baselines. Project planning software is used by project managers to ensure that their plans are thorough and robust.
ProjectManager allows you to make detailed project plans with online Gantt charts that schedule task dependencies, resource hours, labor costs, milestones and more. Plus, your team can execute the plan in any of our five project views, while you track progress along the way with dashboards. Start today for free.
The project plan, also called project management plan, answers the who, what, where, why, how and when of the project—it’s more than a Gantt chart with tasks and due dates. The purpose of a project plan is to guide the execution and control project phases.
As mentioned above, a project plan consists of the following documents:
- Project Charter : Provides a general overview of the project. It describes the project’s reasons, goals, objectives, constraints, stakeholders, among other aspects.
- Statement of Work : A statement of work (SOW) defines the project’s scope, schedule, deliverables, milestones, and tasks.
- Work Breakdown Structure : Breaks down the project scope into the project phases, subprojects, deliverables, and work packages that lead to your final deliverable.
- Project Plan : The project plan document is divided in sections to cover the following: scope management, quality management, risk assessment, resource management, stakeholder management, schedule management and the change management plan.
This guide aims to give you all the information and resources you need to create a project plan and get it approved by your customers and stakeholders. Let’s start with the basics of writing a project plan.
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Project Plan Template
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Your project plan is essential to the success of any project. Without one, your project may be susceptible to common project management issues such as missed deadlines, scope creep and cost overrun. While writing a project plan is somewhat labor intensive up front, the effort will pay dividends throughout the project life cycle.
The basic outline of any project plan can be summarized in these five steps:
- Define your project’s stakeholders, scope, quality baseline, deliverables, milestones, success criteria and requirements. Create a project charter, work breakdown structure (WBS) and a statement of work (SOW) .
- Identify risks and assign deliverables to your team members, who will perform the tasks required and monitor the risks associated with them.
- Organize your project team (customers, stakeholders, teams, ad hoc members, and so on), and define their roles and responsibilities.
- List the necessary project resources , such as personnel, equipment, salaries, and materials, then estimate their cost.
- Develop change management procedures and forms.
- Create a communication plan , schedule, budget and other guiding documents for the project.
Each of the steps to write a project plan explained above correspond to the 5 project phases, which we will outline in the next section.
What Are the 5 Phases of the Project Life Cycle?
Any project , whether big or small, has the potential to be very complex. It’s much easier to break down all the necessary inclusions for a project plan by viewing your project in terms of phases. The Project Management Institute , within the Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK), have identified the following 5 phases of a project:
- Initiation: The start of a project, in which goals and objectives are defined through a business case and the practicality of the project is determined by a feasibility study.
- Planning: During the project planning phase, the scope of the project is defined by a work breakdown structure (WBS) and the project methodology to manage the project is decided on. Costs, quality and resources are estimated, and a project schedule with milestones and task dependencies is identified. The main deliverable of this phase is your project plan.
- Execution: The project deliverables are completed during this phase. Usually, this phase begins with a kick-off meeting and is followed by regular team meetings and status reports while the project is being worked on.
- Monitoring & Controlling: This phase is performed in tandem with the project execution phase. Progress and performance metrics are measured to keep progress on the project aligned with the project plan.
- Closure: The project is completed when the stakeholder receives the final deliverable. Resources are released, contracts are signed off on and, ideally, there will be an evaluation of the successes and failures.
Free Project Plan Template
Address all aspects of your project plan with this free project plan template for Word . This in-depth template will guide you through every phase of the project, as well as all the elements you need to outline for a proper document. Download your template today.
Now that we’ve learned how to make a project plan, and identified the stages of the project management life cycle, we need to emphasize on the importance of the project planning phase.
The project planning process is critical for any kind of project because this is where you create all the documents that will guide how you’ll execute your project plan and how you’ll control risks and any issues that might occur. These documents, which are part of the project management plan, cover all the details of your project without exception.
There are project plan templates out there that can help you organize your tasks and begin the project planning process—but we here at ProjectManager recommend the use of project planning software. The feature set is far more robust and integrated with every project phase compared to an Excel project plan template, and is a great way to ensure your actual progress stays aligned with your planned progress.
Once you write a project plan, it’s time for implementation . Watch the video below to see how project planning software helps organize a project’s tasks, resources and costs.
Project planning tools has become an invaluable tool for project managers in recent years, as it provides them the ability to maintain and automate the components we outlined above. Project planning software is a great tool to facilitate project management processes such as schedule development, team management, cost estimation, resource allocation and risk monitoring.
Beyond that, planning software also allows managers to monitor and track their plan as it moves through the execution phase of the project. These features include dashboards, for a high-level view of the project’s progress and performance, and in-depth reports that can be used to communicate with stakeholders.
Project planning software comes in all different sizes and shapes. There are some that focus on a single aspect, and others that offer a suite of planning features that can be used in each one of the project planning steps. What’s right for your project depends on your specific needs, but in general terms, project planning software is a much more powerful tool than project planning templates .
Related: 20 Must-Have Project Management Excel Templates
Online project planning software is highly flexible and adaptable to your team’s style of work. It has features that are designed to assist you throughout your project planning process.
Before the rise of planning software, project managers would typically have to keep up with a disjointed collection of documents, excel spreadsheets and so on. Savvy managers, however, make use of the project management tools available to them to automate what they can, and streamline what they can’t.
Some of the time-saving benefits of project planning software include the following.
- Organize, prioritize and assign tasks
- Plan and schedule milestones and task dependencies
- Monitor progress, costs and resources
- Collaborate with team
- Share project plans with team and stakeholders
- Generate reports on plans
Gantt Charts for Superior Planning
A Gantt chart is the most essential tool for the project planning process. Organize tasks, add their duration and they automatically populate a project timeline . Set milestones to break the larger project into manageable phases, and link task dependencies to avoid bottlenecks later in the project.
Get More Than a To-Do List
When planning a project, you need more than a to-do list. Seek out a planning software with a task list feature that lets you set priority levels, filters and collaborate. It’s a big plus if you can also make personal task lists that are private to manage your own work.
Use Kanban for Workflows
Workflows ensure proper execution of your plan, and no feature does this better than kanban boards. Customize boards to match your workflow and drag and drop cards as teams get their work done. See what work needs to be done and keep the focus on productivity with this feature.
Be Able to Track Progress
A dashboard can keep your project plan on track. Try and find a dashboard that’s synced with your planning tools, so everything updates automatically. It will make reporting easier too.
Get Transparency Into Teams
For a plan to go smoothly, you have to know what your team is working on. Find a way to balance your team’s availability with the project schedule. Workload features that map out resource allocation and holidays can be a big help here.
Be Able to Manage Multiple Projects
Rarely do you need to only focus on one project at a time. Give yourself the flexibility to manage multiple projects at once in the same tool. A roadmap feature that maps all of your projects on one timeline can be a lifesaver.
Before we dive into how to create a project plan, it helps to be familiar with some of the terms that you’ll run across. Here is a list of general terms you’ll encounter in this guide.
- Deliverable: The results of a project, such as a product, service, report, etc.
- Stakeholder: Anyone with a vested interest in the project—project manager, project sponsor, team members, customers, etc.
- Tasks: Small jobs that lead to the final deliverable.
- Milestone: The end of one project phase, and the beginning of the next.
- Resources: Anything you need to complete the project, such as personnel, supplies, materials, tools, people and more.
- Budget: Estimate of total cost related to completing a project.
- Tracking & Monitoring: Collecting project data, and making sure it reflects the results you planned for.
The project planning process is critical for the success of your project, and as a project manager, you have to think about all the elements that make up your project management plan such as work, time, resources and risks.
Now, we’re going to take you through the main project planning steps :
- Outline the business case
- Meet with key stakeholders
- Define project scope
- Assemble a project team
- Determine a project budget
- Set project goals & objectives
- Outline project deliverables
- Create a project schedule
- Assign tasks to your team members
- Do a risk analysis
- Create your project plan
- Report your progress
By following these project planning steps, you’ll clarify what you need to achieve, work out the processes you need to get there and develop an action plan for how you are going to take this project plan outline forward.
1. Outline the Business Case
If you have a project, there’s a reason for it—that’s your business case . The business case outlines reasons why the project is being initiated, its benefits and the return on investment. If there’s a problem that is being solved, then that problem is outlined here. The business case will be presented to those who make decisions at your organization, explaining what has to be done, and how, along with a feasibility study to assess the practicality of the project. If approved, you have a project.
2. Meet with Key Stakeholders
Every project has stakeholders , those who have a vested interest in the project. From the ones who profit from it, to the project team members who are responsible for its success. Therefore, any project manager must identify who these key stakeholders are during the project planning process, from customers to regulators. Meeting with them is crucial to get a better picture of what the project management plan should include and what is expected from the final deliverable.
3. Define Project Scope
It refers to the work required to accomplish the project objectives and generate the required deliverables. The project scope should be defined and organized by a work breakdown structure (WBS). Therefore, the project scope includes what you must do in the project (deliverables, sub deliverables, work packages, action items ), but also what is nonessential. The latter is important for the project plan, because knowing what isn’t high priority helps to avoid scope creep ; that is, using valuable resources for something that isn’t key to your project’s success.
4. Assemble a Project Team
You’ll need a capable project team to help you create your project plan and execute it successfully. It’s advisable to gather a diverse group of experienced professionals to build a multi-disciplinary team that sees your project management plan from different perspectives.
5. Determine a Project Budget
Once you define your project scope, you’ll have a task list that must be completed to deliver your project successfully. To do so, you’ll need resources such as equipment, materials, human capital, and of course, money. Your project budget will pay for all this. The first step to create a project budget is to estimate the costs associated with each task. Once you have those estimated costs, you can establish a cost baseline , which is the base for your project budget.
6. Set Project Goals & Objectives
Goals and objectives are different things when it comes to planning a project. Goals are the results you want to achieve, and are usually broad. Objectives , on the other hand, are more specific; measurable actions that must be taken to reach your goal. When creating a project plan, the goals and objectives naturally spring from the business case, but in this stage, you go into further detail. In a sense, you’re fine-tuning the goals set forth in the business case and creating tasks that are clearly defined. These goals and objectives are collected in a project charter , which you’ll use throughout the project life cycle.
7. Outline Project Deliverables
A project can have numerous deliverables. A deliverable can be a good, service or result that is needed to complete a task, process, phase, subproject or project. For example, the final deliverable is the reason for the project, and once this deliverable is produced, the project is completed. As defined in the project scope, a project consists of subprojects, phases, work packages, activities and tasks, and each of these components can have a deliverable. The first thing to do is determine what the final deliverable is, and how you will know that the quality meets your stakeholder’s expectations. As for the other deliverables in the project, they must also be identified and someone on the team must be accountable for their successful completion.
8. Create a Project Schedule
The project schedule is what everything hangs on. From your tasks to your budget , it’s all defined by time. Schedules are made up by collecting all the tasks needed to reach your final deliverable, and setting them on a project timeline that ends at your deadline. This can make for an unruly job ahead, which is why schedules are broken into phases, indicated by milestones , which mark the end of one project phase and the beginning of the next.
9. Assign Tasks to Your Team Members
The plan is set, but it still exists in the abstract until you take the tasks on your schedule and begin assigning them out to your team members. Their roles and responsibilities must be clearly defined, so they know what to do. Then, when you assign them tasks from your plan, they should be clear, with directions and any related documentation they will need to execute the tasks.
10. Do a Risk Analysis
Every project has some level of risk . There are several types of risk such as scope risk, technical risks and schedule risk, among others. Even if your project plan is thorough, internal and external factors can impact your project’s time, cost and scope (triple constraint). Therefore, you need to regard your planning as flexible. There are many ways to prepare for risk, such as developing a change management plan, but for now, the most important thing to do is to track your progress throughout the execution phase by using project status reports and/or project planning software to monitor risk.
11. Create your Project Plan
As discussed above, a project management plan is a document that’s made of several elements. Before we get into a detailed explanation of each of them, it’s important to understand that you should include them all to have a solid project plan. The components that you’ll need might vary depending on your project, but in general terms, you’ll need these main documents to create your project management plan:
- Project charter
- Project schedule
- Project budget
- Project scope statement
- Risk management plan
- Change management plan
- Cost management plan
- Resource management plan
- Stakeholder management plan
12. Report Your Progress
Your ultimate goal is to ensure a successful project for your stakeholders. They’re invested, and will not be satisfied twiddling their thumbs without looking at project status reports to track progress. By constructing a work breakdown structure (WBS) during the project planning phase you can break down the project for them so that they understand how your project plan will be executed. Keeping stakeholders informed is important to manage their expectations and ensure that they’re satisfied. Having regular planning meetings where you present progress reports are a great way to show them that everything is moving forward as planned and to field any questions or concerns they might have. Your stakeholder management plan will specify how you’ll engage stakeholders in the project.
Project planning software is a tool that helps to plan, organize and manage the schedule and resources needed to complete a project. ProjectManager is an award-winning project management software that organizes projects from planning to completion. Sign up for a free 30-day trial and follow along to build a thorough project plan that covers every detail.
1. List Your Tasks for the Plan
Tasks are the building blocks of any project and the start of any plan is identifying all the tasks that lead to your final deliverable.
Open the tool to add your tasks on the Gantt chart or one of the other multiple project views. You can import a task list from any spreadsheet or use one of our templates to get started.
2. Add Duration and Costs to Tasks
Every task has an estimated duration, which is the time it will take to complete it. They will also require a certain amount of funding, which needs to be collected to formulate your plan.
Add the start and end dates for each task in the Gantt and they populate a project timeline, so you can see the whole project laid out in one place. There’s also a column for task costs.
3. Link Dependent Tasks
Tasks are not always separate from one another. Often one cannot start or stop until another has started or stopped. That’s called a task dependency and needs to be noted in your plan.
Link dependent tasks by dragging one to the other. A dotted line indicates that they’re linked, so you stay aware of the fact and can avoid bottlenecks later in the project.
4. Set Milestones & Baseline
A milestone indicates the end of one phase and the beginning of another, which helps with tracking and morale. The baseline sets your plan so you can compare it to actual progress.
There is a filter on the Gantt that automatically sets the baseline, so you can use it to track your actual progress against the plan. The baseline can also be locked with a click.
5. Onboard Team & Assign
Getting the team and the tool together is how a project plan becomes actualized. The easier and seamless this transition, the faster you’ll get to work on the project.
Invite your team from the software and it generates an email with a link. Once they follow that link, they’re in and have access to the tools they need to manage their tasks.
6. Monitor Progress & Report to Stakeholders
Keeping track of your progress and then updating stakeholders is both how you stay on track and manage your stakeholders’ expectations.
See progress as it happens on our real-time dashboard, which calculates data and displays it over six project metrics. Reports can be filtered and shared for a deep dive into those numbers.
7. Adjust Plan As Needed
No plan remains the same throughout a project. Things happen and changes are demanded. Therefore, being able to edit your plan easily is key to the project planning process.
Edit your plan on the Gantt by a simple drag and drop. Move the old date to the new date and not only is that task fixed, but any impacted tasks are also updated automatically.
ProjectManager is an award-winning software that helps managers plan and helps teams get organized. Gantt charts control all aspects of your project plan from scheduling to assigning tasks and even monitoring progress. Multiple project views provide transparency into workflow and give everyone the tools they need to be at their best.
Ready to make your plan? Try ProjectManager today with this free 30-day trial.
The project manager is responsible for producing the project plan, and while you can’t make up all the content yourself, you’ll be the one banging the keys to type it all out. Use templates where you can to save time. Download our free project plan template and write your plan in double-quick time!
The purpose of a project management plan is to serve as a guide for the execution and control phases. The project plan provides all the information necessary for the execution phase such as the project’s goals, objectives, scope of work, milestones, risks and resources. Then, this information helps project managers monitor and control the progress of the project.
We plan at the beginning to save time later. A good project plan means that you don’t have to worry about whether the project participants are going to be available on the right dates—because you’ve planned for them to be. You don’t have to worry about how to pay those invoices—you’ve planned your financial process. You don’t have to worry about whether everyone agrees on what a quality outcome looks like—you’ve already planned what quality measures you are going to use.
A good project plan sets out the processes that everyone is expected to follow, so it avoids a lot of headaches later. For example, if you specify that estimates are going to be worked out by subject matter experts based on their judgement, and that’s approved, later no one can complain that they wanted you to use a different estimating technique. They’ve known the deal since the start.
Project plans are also really helpful for monitoring progress. You can go back to them and check what you said you were going to do and how, comparing it to what you are actually doing. This gives you a good reality check and enables you to change course if you need to, bringing the project back on track.
Tools like dashboards can help you make sure that your project is proceeding according to plan. ProjectManager has a real-time dashboard that updates automatically whenever tasks are updated.
The project planning process already discussed only scratches the surface of what is a deep well of practices created to control your project. They start with dialogue — speaking to stakeholders, teams, et al.
The deliverable for your planning phase is a document called the project plan. A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) – Fifth Edition says that the project plan is made up of lots of subsidiary plans. These include:
- A project scope statement to define all the tasks and deliverables that are needed to complete the project
- A risk management plan for dealing with project risk including the processes for logging and tracking risks
- A change management plan to manage any changes that will be made to the project plan
- A cost management plan for managing costs and the budgeting elements of the project including any procurements or supplier engagements you might have
- A resource management plan for managing the material resources such as equipment and the human resources on the team both in terms of availability and skills
- A stakeholder management plan setting out who is going to receive messages about the project, when and in what format
- A quality plan that specifies the quality targets for the project
That’s a lot of documentation.
In reality, it’s rare that you’ll produce these as individual documents. What you need is a project plan that talks about the important elements of each of these. There’s no point creating a big document that sets out exactly how your business works anyway. If you already have a structured risk management process , then don’t waste time writing it all down again in your project plan.
Your project management plan needs to include enough information to make sure that you know exactly what processes and procedures need to be followed and who needs to be involved. Get your project plan approved by your stakeholders, your project sponsor and your team so there are no surprises later. As explained above, project planning charts and techniques such as Gantt charts, CPM, WBS or PERT can help you create your project plan.
This is hard to answer. It’s going to take longer to plan the moon landing than a new dating app.
The best way to estimate how long your project planning phase will take is to look at similar projects that have happened before, and see how long it took them to plan. Talk to the project manager as well, if you can, because they’ll have a view on whether that length of time was enough or not!
It’s easy to see how long other projects took if you have a project management tool that archives your old project schedules and makes the data available to everyone who needs it. You can then search for similar projects and study their schedules in detail.
A project plan is all about working out what to do and how to do it, so you need to get a lot of people involved. There are several good tools and project planning techniques for getting information from other people including:
- One-to-one meetings or interviews
- Surveys or customer focus groups to gather and validate requirements.
You should also arm yourself with a task management tool , like a list or a kanban board. They are incredibly useful for noting down important things that should be in your project plan. Kanban board software can help structure your plan by writing down the key headings and then moving them around as required until you have a flow that looks right.
Finally, you’ll need an online project management system to store your project management plan in. Make sure that everyone in the team can access the latest version of the project plan.
Your project plan is not a document written in stone. You should be referring back to it and making changes to it as often as you need to. Parts of it, like your project schedule, will change almost daily. Other parts, like your procurement plans and cost management processes, won’t change at all during the life of your project.
The important thing to remember is that if your project management plan isn’t working for you, think about what you can do to change it. It’s there to guide your project management, not restrict you from doing the right thing. If you need to review how you manage work and project resources, then go back and review it. Make the changes you need, get the plan approved again and share it with the team.
How To Make a Project Plan When You Don’t Have All the Answers
Yes, this happens–most of the time! It’s rare to have all the information at the beginning of a project. Most managers want you to dive in and get started, but you might not have the luxury of knowing all the details.
That’s OK; we have techniques to help deal with uncertainty.
First is the project assumption. You use these to put caveats on your plan and to document the things that you assume to be true at this point in time. For example:
- We assume that the resources will be available.
- We assume that the required funding is available.
- We assume that the colors requested will be in line with the company brand and that Marketing sign off is not required.
You get the picture. Then, if the design team comes back and says that they want the product to be a totally new palette of colors and that Marketing has to approve that, you are justified in saying that you’ll have to change the timescales on the schedule to make that possible.
You planned based on an assumption (that everyone agreed to, because you got the document approved) and that assumption turned out not to be true.
Next Steps for Project Planning
The most important thing to remember is that you shouldn’t rush the project planning process. Done properly, project planning takes time. And it’s worth doing it properly because if you don’t, we guarantee that you will hit problems later on as people won’t understand what they are supposed to do and why.
Great planning sets you up for success. It gives you the confidence of knowing that you’ve got all your processes, tools and systems in place to deliver the perfect result.
Now that you’ve learned all about project planning, it’s time to take action. Sign up for a free 30-day trial of ProjectManager and start planning your project today!
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Project Planning Resources
- Best Project Planner Tools: Apps, Software & Templates
- Best Project Planning Software of 2023 (Free & Paid)
- 25 of the Best Planning Quotes
- 3 Best Planner Apps for Mac in 2023
- 3 Best Project Management Charts for Project Planning
- Project Management Trends
- How to Create a Project Roadmap (Example Included)
- What Is Aggregate Planning? Strategies & Tips
- What Is Rolling Wave Planning?
- How to Create a Project Execution Plan (PEP) – Free Template Included
- Sample Project Plan For Your Next Project
- Operational Planning: How to Make an Operations Plan
- Project Planning Software
- Gantt Chart Software
- Project Scheduling Software
- Work Breakdown Structure Software
- Project Timeline Software
- Resource Planning Software
- Project Proposal Template
- Project Charter Template
- Project Timeline Template
- Implementation Plan Template
- Work Plan Template
- Action Plan Template
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What Is Business Project Management?
- 1. Project Management Basics
- 2. Project Management Methodologies
- 3. Project Management Life Cycle
- 4. Project Management Software
- 5. Team Collaboration Tips
- 6. Agile Methodology Basics
- 7. Agile Project Management Tools & Techniques
- 8. Project Management Frameworks
- 9. Resources
- 10. Glossary
- Advanced Terminology
- PM Software Features
- Basic Terminology
- Professional Development
- Agile Project Management
A business project is classified by content or purpose. Business projects are intended to achieve defined business objectives and are aligned with a company’s business strategy.
Business projects can be called many different names, such as internal projects, administrative projects, or functional projects. It’s important to note that all projects, regardless of type, must meet certain criteria to be considered projects. The primary two requirements are that they are both temporary and unique . This means they have a defined end date and are not repeatable, ongoing tasks.
Three types of business projects
There are three main types of business projects a company can implement:
- Strategic projects: These are focused on achieving a high-level business strategy. For example, a company may determine its marketing strategy is to offer the lowest-priced option. To achieve this, they may launch a project to create a process for analyzing market prices and lowering their prices accordingly.
- Operational projects: These projects are not tied to the overall strategy but taken on to meet some type of business objective. Upgrading a software system to the latest version could be an operational project.
- Recurring projects: Recurring projects happen regularly, but still must be unique and temporary. A good example is technology development projects. If you have a cell phone, it is likely part of a numbered series such as the Samsung Galaxy 9 or Apple iPhone 8. Releases come out every year, or even twice a year, meaning the project to upgrade a phone is recurring. However, each version has a defined release date and unique functionality or requirements.
What is business project management?
Business project management is the management of internal business projects undertaken to further a company’s strategy or objectives. The fundamentals are the same, but some aspects of business project management can be different:
- There is no external client. The end customer is the business.
- There is no revenue. The project will have a cost but no revenue, as it’s not for an external party.
- The project returns are measured differently. A business project does not have a profit margin (sale value minus costs). Other methods are used for assessing benefits, such as the internal rate of return.
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Basic Project Management
- Project Charter
- Project Management Stakeholders
- What is a Project?
- Work Breakdown Structure
- Project Objectives
- Project Baseline
- Project Management Scheduling
- Project Management Work Packages
- Project Management Scope
- Scope Creep
Advanced Project Management
- What is PERT?
- Network Diagram
- Risk Management
- Cost Estimation
- Feasibility Study
- Monte Carlo Analysis
- Project Integration
- Cost Management
- PMI Project Management
- What To Do With Certification
- Become Certified
- PMP Certification
- Best Certification
- Critical Success Factors
- Capacity Planning
- User Role Access Permissions
- Time Tracking
- Budget Tracking
- Request Forms
- Work Assignments
- Version Control
- Dependency Managements
- Project management Milestones
- Project Management Software
- Project Management Tools
- Project Management System
- Gantt Charts
Project Management Business Plan Template
Written by Dave Lavinsky
Project Management Business Plan
Over the past 20+ years, we have helped over 500 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans to start and grow their project management companies.
If you’re unfamiliar with creating a project management business plan, you may think creating one will be a time-consuming and frustrating process. For most entrepreneurs it is, but for you, it won’t be since we’re here to help. We have the experience, resources, and knowledge to help you create a great business plan.
In this article, you will learn some background information on why business planning is important. Then, you will learn how to write a project management business plan step-by-step so you can create your plan today.
Download our Ultimate Business Plan Template here >
What Is a Business Plan?
A business plan provides a snapshot of your project management business as it stands today, and lays out your growth plan for the next five years. It explains your business goals and your strategies for reaching them. It also includes market research to support your plans.
Why You Need a Business Plan
If you’re looking to start a project management business or grow your existing project management company, you need a business plan. A business plan will help you raise funding, if needed, and plan out the growth of your project management business to improve your chances of success. Your project management business plan is a living document that should be updated annually as your company grows and changes.
Sources of Funding for Project Management Businesses
With regards to funding, the main sources of funding for a project management business are personal savings, credit cards, bank loans, and angel investors. When it comes to bank loans, banks will want to review your business plan and gain confidence that you will be able to repay your loan and interest. To acquire this confidence, the loan officer will not only want to ensure that your financials are reasonable, but they will also want to see a professional plan. Such a plan will give them the confidence that you can successfully and professionally operate a business. Personal savings and bank loans are the most common funding paths for project management companies.
How to Write a Business Plan for a Project Management Business
If you want to start a project management business or expand your current one, you need a business plan. The guide below details the necessary information for how to write each essential component of your project management business plan.
Your executive summary provides an introduction to your business plan, but it is normally the last section you write because it provides a summary of each key section of your plan.
The goal of your executive summary is to quickly engage the reader. Explain to them the kind of project management business you are running and the status. For example, are you a startup, do you have a project management business that you would like to grow, or are you operating a chain of project management businesses?
Next, provide an overview of each of the subsequent sections of your plan.
- Give a brief overview of the project management industry.
- Discuss the type of project management business you are operating.
- Detail your direct competitors. Give an overview of your target customers.
- Provide a snapshot of your marketing strategy. Identify the key members of your team.
- Offer an overview of your financial plan.
In your company overview, you will detail the type of project management business you are operating.
For example, you might specialize in one of the following types of project management businesses:
- Marketing project management : this type of project management involves overseeing projects related to marketing and advertising.
- Construction project management: this type of project management involves overseeing responsibilities related to planning and the logistics of a construction project.
- Engineering project management: this type of project management is responsible for overseeing engineering projects to ensure they’re completed appropriately.
- IT project management: this type of project management involves overseeing job duties such as establishing IT goals, overseeing the IT team’s processes and ensuring all project-related employees have the necessary resources to complete the project.
In addition to explaining the type of project management business you will operate, the company overview needs to provide background on the business.
Include answers to questions such as:
- When and why did you start the business?
- What milestones have you achieved to date? Milestones could include the number of clients served, the number of clients with positive outcomes, reaching X number of clients served, etc.
- Your legal business Are you incorporated as an S-Corp? An LLC? A sole proprietorship? Explain your legal structure here.
In your industry or market analysis, you need to provide an overview of the project management industry.
While this may seem unnecessary, it serves multiple purposes.
First, researching the project management industry educates you. It helps you understand the market in which you are operating.
Secondly, market research can improve your marketing strategy, particularly if your analysis identifies market trends.
The third reason is to prove to readers that you are an expert in your industry. By conducting the research and presenting it in your plan, you achieve just that.
The following questions should be answered in the industry analysis section of your project management business plan:
- How big is the project management industry (in dollars)?
- Is the market declining or increasing?
- Who are the key competitors in the market?
- Who are the key suppliers in the market?
- What trends are affecting the industry?
- What is the industry’s growth forecast over the next 5 – 10 years?
- What is the relevant market size? That is, how big is the potential target market for your project management business? You can extrapolate such a figure by assessing the size of the market in the entire country and then applying that figure to your local population.
The customer analysis section of your project management business plan must detail the customers you serve and/or expect to serve.
The following are examples of customer segments: small businesses, midsize companies and corporations.
As you can imagine, the customer segment(s) you choose will have a great impact on the type of project management business you operate. Clearly, corporations would respond to different marketing promotions than small businesses, for example.
Try to break out your target customers in terms of their demographic and psychographic profiles. With regards to demographics, including a discussion of the ages, genders, locations, and income levels of the potential customers you seek to serve.
Psychographic profiles explain the wants and needs of your target customers. The more you can recognize and define these needs, the better you will do in attracting and retaining your customers.
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Your competitive analysis should identify the indirect and direct competitors your business faces and then focus on the latter.
Direct competitors are other project management businesses.
Indirect competitors are other options that customers have to purchase from that aren’t directly competing with your product or service. This includes in-house employees, online programs, or software. You need to mention such competition as well.
For each such competitor, provide an overview of their business and document their strengths and weaknesses. Unless you once worked at your competitors’ businesses, it will be impossible to know everything about them. But you should be able to find out key things about them such as
- What types of clients do they serve?
- What type of project management business are they?
- What is their pricing (premium, low, etc.)?
- What are they good at?
- What are their weaknesses?
With regards to the last two questions, think about your answers from the customers’ perspective. And don’t be afraid to ask your competitors’ customers what they like most and least about them.
The final part of your competitive analysis section is to document your areas of competitive advantage. For example:
- Will you provide your own staff?
- Will you offer products or services that your competition doesn’t?
- Will you provide better customer service?
- Will you offer better pricing?
Think about ways you will outperform your competition and document them in this section of your plan.
Traditionally, a marketing plan includes the four P’s: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. For a project management business plan, your marketing strategy should include the following:
Product : In the product section, you should reiterate the type of project management company that you documented in your company overview. Then, detail the specific products or services you will be offering. For example, will you provide consulting, scheduling, budgeting, or staffing?
Price : Document the prices you will offer and how they compare to your competitors. Essentially in the product and price sub-sections of your plan, you are presenting the products and/or services you offer and their prices.
Place : Place refers to the site of your project management company. Document where your company is situated and mention how the site will impact your success. For example, is your project management business located in a business district, a standalone office, or purely online? Discuss how your site might be the ideal location for your customers.
Promotions : The final part of your project management marketing plan is where you will document how you will drive potential customers to your location(s). The following are some promotional methods you might consider:
- Advertise in local papers, radio stations and/or magazines
- Attend industry events and tradeshows
- Reach out to websites
- Distribute flyers
- Engage in email marketing
- Advertise on social media platforms
- Improve the SEO (search engine optimization) on your website for targeted keywords
While the earlier sections of your business plan explained your goals, your operations plan describes how you will meet them. Your operations plan should have two distinct sections as follows.
Everyday short-term processes include all of the tasks involved in running your project management business, including answering calls, planning and providing project services, client interaction, billing clients and/or vendors, etc.
Long-term goals are the milestones you hope to achieve. These could include the dates when you expect to book your Xth client, or when you hope to reach $X in revenue. It could also be when you expect to expand your project management business to a new city.
To demonstrate your project management business’ potential to succeed, a strong management team is essential. Highlight your key players’ backgrounds, emphasizing those skills and experiences that prove their ability to grow a company.
Ideally, you and/or your team members have direct experience in managing project management businesses. If so, highlight this experience and expertise. But also highlight any experience that you think will help your business succeed.
If your team is lacking, consider assembling an advisory board. An advisory board would include 2 to 8 individuals who would act as mentors to your business. They would help answer questions and provide strategic guidance. If needed, look for advisory board members with experience in managing a project management business or successfully running a small consulting firm.
Your financial plan should include your 5-year financial statement broken out both monthly or quarterly for the first year and then annually. Your financial statements include your income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statements.
An income statement is more commonly called a Profit and Loss statement or P&L. It shows your revenue and then subtracts your costs to show whether you turned a profit or not.
In developing your income statement, you need to devise assumptions. For example, will you manage 5 clients per day, and/or offer consulting services? And will sales grow by 2% or 10% per year? As you can imagine, your choice of assumptions will greatly impact the financial forecasts for your business. As much as possible, conduct research to try to root your assumptions in reality.
Balance sheets show your assets and liabilities. While balance sheets can include much information, try to simplify them to the key items you need to know about. For instance, if you spend $50,000 on building out your project management business, this will not give you immediate profits. Rather it is an asset that will hopefully help you generate profits for years to come. Likewise, if a lender writes you a check for $50,000, you don’t need to pay it back immediately. Rather, that is a liability you will pay back over time.
Cash Flow Statement
Your cash flow statement will help determine how much money you need to start or grow your business, and ensure you never run out of money. What most entrepreneurs and business owners don’t realize is that you can turn a profit but run out of money and go bankrupt.
When creating your Income Statement and Balance Sheets be sure to include several of the key costs needed in starting or growing a project management business:
- Cost of equipment and office supplies
- Payroll or salaries paid to staff
- Business insurance
- Other start-up expenses (if you’re a new business) like legal expenses, permits, computer software, and equipment
Attach your full financial projections in the appendix of your plan along with any supporting documents that make your plan more compelling. For example, you might include your office location lease or a list of project management services you plan to offer.
Writing a business plan for your project management business is a worthwhile endeavor. If you follow the template above, by the time you are done, you will truly be an expert. You will understand the project management industry, your competition, and your customers. You will develop a marketing strategy and will understand what it takes to launch and grow a successful project management business.
Project Management Business Plan Template FAQs
What is the easiest way to complete my project management business plan.
Growthink's Ultimate Business Plan Template allows you to quickly and easily write your project management business plan.
How Do You Start a Project Management Business?
Starting a project management business is easy with these 14 steps:
- Choose the Name for Your Project Management Business
- Create Your Project Management Business Plan
- Choose the Legal Structure for Your Project Management Business
- Secure Startup Funding for Your Project Management Business (If Needed)
- Secure a Location for Your Business
- Register Your Project Management Business with the IRS
- Open a Business Bank Account
- Get a Business Credit Card
- Get the Required Business Licenses and Permits
- Get Business Insurance for Your Project Management Business
- Buy or Lease the Right Project Management Business Equipment
- Develop Your Project Management Business Marketing Materials
- Purchase and Setup the Software Needed to Run Your Project Management Business
- Open for Business
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