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  • Project planning |
  • What is project planning? (Plus, 7 ste ...

What is project planning? (Plus, 7 steps to write a successful project plan)

Julia Martins contributor headshot

Organize your projects with project plans to keep things on track—before you even start. A project plan houses all the necessary details of your project, such as goals, tasks, scope, deadlines, and deliverables. This shows stakeholders a clear roadmap of your project, ensures you have the resources for it, and holds everyone accountable from the start. In this article, we teach you the seven steps to create your own project plan.

Project plans are essential to keeping your project organized and on track. A great project plan will help you kick off your work with all the necessary pieces—from goals and budgets to milestones and communication plans—in one place. Save yourself time (and a few headaches) by creating a work plan that will make your project a success.

What is a project planning?

Project planning is the second stage in the project management process, following project initiation and preceding project execution. During the project planning stage, the project manager creates a project plan, which maps out project requirements. The project planning phase typically includes setting project goals, designating project resources, and mapping out the project schedule.

What is a project plan?

Get started with a free template in asana.

Kick off work the right way, every time. Use templates to standardize and scale business processes across your organization.

If you're still unsure about what a project plan is, here's how it differs from other project elements:

Project plan vs. work plan: A project plan and a work plan are the same thing. Different teams or departments might prefer one term or another—but they both ultimately describe the same thing: a list of big-picture action steps you need to take to hit your  project objectives .

Project plan vs. project charter: A project charter is an outline of your project. Mostly, you use project charters to get signoff from key stakeholders before you start. Which means your project charter comes before your project plan. A project charter is an outline of a simple project plan—it should only include your project objectives, scope, and responsibilities. Then, once your charter has been approved, you can create a project plan to provide a more in-depth blueprint of the key elements of your project.

Project plan vs. project scope: Your project scope defines the size and boundaries of your project. As part of your project plan, you should outline and share the scope of your project with all project stakeholders. If you’re ever worried about scope creep , you can refer back to your pre-defined scope within your project plan to get back on track.

Project plan vs. agile project: Agile project management is a framework to help teams break work into iterative, collaborative components . Agile frameworks are often run in conjunction with scrum and sprint methodologies. Like any project, an Agile project team can benefit from having a project plan in place before getting started with their work.

Project plan vs. work breakdown structure: Similar to a project plan, your work breakdown structure (WBS) helps you with project execution. While the project plan focuses on every aspect of your project, the WBS is focused on deliverables—breaking them down into sub-deliverables and project tasks. This helps you visualize the whole project in simple steps. Because it’s a visual format, your WBS is best viewed as a Gantt chart (or timeline), Kanban board , or calendar—especially if you’re using project management software .

Why are project plans important?

Project plans set the stage for the entire project. Without one, you’re missing a critical step in the overall project management process . When you launch into a project without defined goals or objectives, it can lead to disorganized work, frustration, and even scope creep. A clear, written project management plan provides a baseline direction to all stakeholders, while also keeping everyone accountable. It confirms that you have the resources you need for the project before it actually begins.

A project plan also allows you, as the person in charge of leading execution, to forecast any potential challenges you could run into while the project is still in the planning stages. That way, you can ensure the project will be achievable—or course-correct if necessary. According to a study conducted by the  Project Management Institute , there is a strong correlation between project planning and project success—the better your plan, the better your outcome. So, conquering the planning phase also makes for better project efficiency and results.

[Product UI] Brand campaign project plan in Asana, spreadsheet-style list (Lists)

7 steps to write a project plan to keep you on track

To create a clear project management plan, you need a way to track all of your moving parts . No matter what type of project you’re planning, every work plan should have:

Goals and project objectives

Success metrics

Stakeholders and roles

Scope and budget

Milestones , deliverables , and project dependencies

Timeline and schedule

Communication plan.

Not sure what each of these mean or should look like? Let’s dive into the details:

Step 1: Define your goals and objectives

You’re working on this project plan for a reason—likely to get you, your team, or your company to an end goal. But how will you know if you’ve reached that goal if you have no way of measuring success?

Every successful project plan should have a clear, desired outcome. Identifying your goals provides a rationale for your project plan. It also keeps everyone on the same page and focused on the results they want to achieve. Moreover, research shows that employees who know how their work is contributing to company objectives are 2X as motivated . Yet only 26% of employees have that clarity. That’s because most goal-setting happens separate from the actual work. By defining your goals within your work plan, you can connect the work your team is doing directly to the project objectives in real-time.

What's the difference between project goals and project objectives?

In general, your project goals should be higher-level than your project objectives. Your project goals should be SMART goals that help you measure project success and show how your project aligns with business objectives . The purpose of drafting project objectives, on the other hand, is to focus on the actual, specific deliverables you're going to achieve at the end of your project. Your project plan provides the direction your team needs to hit your goals, so you can create a workflow that hits project objectives.

Your project  plan  provides the direction your team needs to hit your goals, by way of your project objectives. By incorporating your goals directly into your planning documentation, you can keep your project’s North Star on hand. When you’re defining your project scope, or outlining your project schedule, check back on your goals to make sure that work is in favor of your main objectives.

Step 2: Set success metrics

Once you’ve defined your goals, make sure they’re measurable by setting key success metrics. While your goal serves as the intended result, you need success metrics to let you know whether or not you’re performing on track to achieve that result. The best way to do that is to set  SMART goals . With SMART goals, you can make sure your success metrics are clear and measurable, so you can look back at the end of your project and easily tell if you hit them or not.

For example, a goal for an event might be to host an annual 3-day conference for SEO professionals on June 22nd. A success metric for that goal might be having at least 1,000 people attend your conference. It’s both clear and measurable.

Step 3: Clarify stakeholders and roles

Running a project usually means getting  collaborators  involved in the execution of it. In your project management plan, outline which team members will be a part of the project and what each person’s role will be. This will help you decide who is responsible for each task (something we’ll get to shortly) and let stakeholders know how you expect them to be involved.

During this process, make sure to define the various roles and responsibilities your stakeholders might have. For example, who is directly responsible for the project’s success? How is your project team structured (i.e. do you have a project manager, a project sponsor , etc.)? Are there any approvers that should be involved before anything is finalized? What cross-functional stakeholders should be included in the project plan? Are there any  risk management factors  you need to include?

Consider using a system, such as a  RACI chart , to help determine who is driving the project forward, who will approve decisions, who will contribute to the project, and who needs to remain informed as the project progresses.

Then, once you’ve outlined all of your roles and stakeholders, make sure to include that documentation in your project plan. Once you finalize your plan, your work plan will become your cross-functional source of truth.

Step 4: Set your budget

Running a project usually costs money. Whether it’s hiring freelancers for content writing or a catering company for an event, you’ll probably be spending some cash.

Since you’ve already defined your goals and stakeholders as part of your project plan, use that information to establish your budget. For example, if this is a cross-functional project involving multiple departments, will the departments be splitting the project cost? If you have a specific goal metric like event attendees or new users, does your proposed budget support that endeavor?

By establishing your project budget during the project planning phase (and before the spending begins), you can get approval, more easily track progress, and make smart, economical decisions during the implementation phase of your project. Knowing your budget beforehand helps you with resource management , ensuring that you stay within the initial financial scope of the project. Planning helps you determine what parts of your project will cost what—leaving no room for surprises later on.

Step 5: Align on milestones, deliverables, and project dependencies

An important part of planning your project is setting milestones, or specific objectives that represent an achievement. Milestones don’t require a start and end date, but hitting one marks a significant accomplishment during your project. They are used to measure progress. For example, let’s say you’re working to develop a  new product for your company . Setting a milestone on your project timeline for when the prototype is finalized will help you measure the progress you’ve made so far.

A project deliverable , on the other hand, is what is actually produced once you meet a milestone. In our product development example, we hit a milestone when we produced the deliverable, which was the prototype. You can also use project dependencies —tasks that you can’t start until others are finished. Dependencies ensure that work only starts once it’s ready. Continuing the example, you can create a project dependency to require approval from the project lead before prototype testing begins.  

If you’re using our free project plan template , you can easily organize your project around deliverables, dependencies, and milestones. That way, everyone on the team has clear visibility into the work within your project scope, and the milestones your team will be working towards.

Step 6: Outline your timeline and schedule

In order to achieve your project goals, you and your stakeholders need clarity on your overall project timeline and schedule. Aligning on the time frame you have can help you better prioritize during strategic planning sessions.

Not all projects will have clear-cut timelines. If you're working on a large project with a few unknown dates, consider creating a  project roadmap  instead of a full-blown project timeline. That way, you can clarify the order of operations of various tasks without necessarily establishing exact dates.

Once you’ve covered the high-level responsibilities, it’s time to focus some energy on the details. In your  work plan template , start by breaking your project into tasks, ensuring no part of the process is skipped. Bigger tasks can even be broken down into smaller subtasks, making them more manageable.

Then, take each task and subtask, and assign it a start date and end date. You’ll begin to visually see everything come together in a  cohesive project timeline . Be sure to add stakeholders, mapping out who is doing what by when.

[Product UI] Brand campaign project in Asana, Gantt chart-style view (Timeline)

Step 7: Share your communication plan

We’ve established that most projects include multiple stakeholders. That means communication styles will vary among them. You have an opportunity to set your expectations up front for this particular project in your project plan. Having a communication plan is essential for making sure everyone understands what’s happening, how the project is progressing, and what’s going on next. And in case a roadblock comes up, you’ll already have a clear communication system in place.

As you’re developing your communication plan, consider the following questions:

How many project-related meetings do you need to have? What are their goals?

How will you manage project status updates ? Where will you share them?

What tool will you use to manage the project and communicate progress and updates?

[inline illustration] Communication plan for brand campaign in Asana (example)

Like the other elements of your project plan, make sure your communication plan is easily accessible within your project plan. Stakeholders and cross-functional collaborators should be able to easily find these guidelines during the planning and execution phases of your project. Using project planning tools or task management software that integrates with apps like Slack and Gmail can ensure all your communication happens in one easily accessible place. 

Example project plan

Next, to help you understand what your project management plan should look like, here are two example plans for marketing and design projects that will guide you during your own project planning.

Project plan example: annual content calendar

Let’s say you’re the Content Lead for your company, and it’s your responsibility to create and deliver on a content marketing calendar for all the content that will be published next year. You know your first step is to build your work plan. Here’s what it might look like:

Goals and success metrics

You establish that your goal for creating and executing against your content calendar is to increase engagement by 10%. Your success metrics are the open rate and click through rate on emails, your company’s social media followers, and how your pieces of content rank on search engines.

Stakeholders and each person’s role

There will be five people involved in this project.

You, Content Lead: Develop and maintain the calendar

Brandon and Jamie, Writers: Provide outlines and copy for each piece of content

Nate, Editor: Edit and give feedback on content

Paula, Producer: Publish the content once it’s written and edited

Your budget for the project plan and a year’s worth of content is $50,000.

Milestones and deliverables

Your first milestone is to finish the content calendar, which shows all topics for the year. The deliverable is a sharable version of the calendar. Both the milestone and the deliverables should be clearly marked on your project schedule.

You’ve determined that your schedule for your content calendar project plan will go as follows:

October 15 - November 1: The research phase to find ideas for topics for content

November 2 - November 30: Establish the topics you’ll write about

December 1 - January 1: Build the calendar

January 1 - December 31: Content will be written by Brandon and Jamie, and edited by Nate, throughout the year

January 16 - December 31: Paula will begin publishing and continue to do so on a rolling basis throughout the year.

You’ll have a kick-off meeting and then monthly update meetings as part of your communication plan. Weekly status updates will be sent on Friday afternoons. All project-related communication will occur within a  project management tool .

How ClassPass manages project plans from start to finish

Kerry Hoffman, Senior Project Manager of Marketing Operations at  ClassPass , oversees all marketing projects undertaken by the creative, growth, and content teams. Here are her top three strategies for managing project plans:

Identify stakeholders up front: No matter the size of the project, it’s critical to know who the stakeholders are and their role in the project so you ensure you involve the right people at each stage. This will also make the review and approval process clear before the team gets to work.

Agree on how you want to communicate about your project: Establish where and when communication should take place for your project to ensure that key information is captured in the right place so everyone stays aligned.

Be adaptable and learn other people’s working styles: Projects don’t always go according to plan, but by implementing proper integration management you can keep projects running smoothly. Also, find out how project members like to work so you take that into account as you create your plan. It will help things run smoother once you begin executing.

Write your next project plan like a pro

Congratulations—you’re officially a work planning pro. With a few steps, a little bit of time, and a whole lot of organization, you’ve successfully written a project plan.

Keep yourself and your team on track, and address challenges early by using project planning software like Asana . Work through each of the steps of your project plan with confidence, and streamline your communications with the team.

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Project Management Plan: Samples, Examples & Free Template

Learn how to create a project management plan that actually works and ensures you get your project over the line on time and on budget, with samples and examples

Table of Contents

What is a project management plan, what is a project management plan used for, what are the main elements of a project plan, how to write a project management plan, sample project management plan outline, using our project management plan template to build your project plan, project management plan: faq's.

A project management plan is a comprehensive document that outlines how a project will be executed, monitored, controlled and closed. For project managers and their teams, it's the ultimate toolkit for achieving their objectives while managing day-to-day pressures such as time, cost, scope, resourcing and risk. This guide outlines what a project management plan is used for, why it's important , and offers a step-by-step guide on how to make one that actually works.

Your project plan document is where you go deep on the ins, outs, overs, and unders of your project. It's where you break this vision down into the day-to-day execution of your project, covering everything you need to do to reach your project goals.

A detailed project plan will plot out everything from timelines to budget, resourcing to deliverables, and more, giving you a blueprint of what needs to be done (and when) that you can use to guide — and assess — your project.

The key components of a project management plan are:

Project Objectives

Scope Statement

Schedule Management

Cost Management

Resource Management

Communication Plan

Stakeholder Management

Procurement Management

Closure Criteria

Project Organization

Ready to get down to business? Here are 5 key things you need to do when writing a project plan.

1. Identify the baselines for your project

Before you begin writing a project plan, you need to make sure you have the basics down. Start by identifying the baselines for the project’s scope, schedule and cost, as the rest of your project planning will need to fit in around those constraints.

As mentioned above, these baselines should already be roughly outlined in your project charter — but here’s where you really start to map them out and create accurate estimates. And the more detailed, the better, because these are what you’ll be using for comparison to measure how your project performs.

2. Identify your project dependencies

Or in other words, ask yourself: what needs to happen before this other thing can happen? Identifying your project dependencies at the outset of your project means you can plan your timelines more efficiently, spot potential blockers, and ensure that you avoid unnecessary delays.

3. Identify project stakeholders

You’ll already have done the groundwork for this in your stakeholder analysis, but as you flesh out your project management plan and think through the phases of your project in more detail, you’ll likely start to find more project stakeholders at each phase.

Now is also a good time to go deeper on which stakeholders need to be informed and involved at which stages, for a more comprehensive stakeholder management plan you can use at each phase of your project.

4. Identify project milestones

What are the key markers of your project’s progress? It can be a concrete deliverable, the end of a phase in a stage-gate process — whatever milestones make sense to you, breaking your project down into manageable chunks, each with a defined goal, helps to keep the team motivated, allows you to celebrate each achievement, and signposts how the overall progress is coming along.  Learn more about using Milestones here .

planned vs actual milestones Teamwork

5. Identify who’s responsible for what

Once you start to get a big-picture understanding of the work that’s needed and the resources you have to complete it, you can start deciding who should do what. Giving each item an owner is essential to getting things done. No more “oh, was I supposed to do that?” — once you identify who’s responsible for what, you can ensure accountability and transparency.

The 5 Stages of Team Development

The 5 Stages of Team Development

All teams develop according to some natural patterns and using that knowledge, you can offer some guidance to build the kind of team that communicates well and finds better ways to collaborate and achieve the goals you’ve established. Here’s what you need to know.

Now let's go through a sample project plan. In the below example, we highlight the main sections of the plan and what needs to be included in each one to set your project up for success.

Section 1: Executive summary

The executive summary offers a concise overview of the entire project. It includes key highlights such as the project's purpose, objectives, scope, timeline, budget, and major stakeholders. It's often the first section stakeholders read to get a high-level understanding of the project.

Section 2: Project introduction

This section sets the stage by providing context and background information about the project. It explains why the project is being undertaken and introduces the main objectives and scope of the project.

Section 3: Project objectives

Here, the project's specific goals and objectives are outlined in detail. Objectives should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) to provide clarity and guidance.

Section 4: Project scope

The scope section defines what is included and excluded from the project. It helps prevent scope creep by establishing clear boundaries and also mentions any assumptions and constraints that may affect the project.

Section 5: Schedule management

This section details the project's timeline, including milestones and deadlines. It breaks down the project into tasks and identifies task dependencies. Often, visual representations like Gantt charts are used for clarity.

Section 6: Cost management

Here, the project budget is presented, including cost estimates for various project components. It may also outline cost control measures to ensure the project stays within budget.

Section 7: Quality management

This section focuses on the quality standards and objectives for the project. It describes quality control and assurance processes, as well as any inspection and testing procedures that will be implemented.

Project management template

Save time on setup without sacrificing attention to detail. With our project management template, you can quickly create project management plans that help you complete your project on time and on budget.

Section 8: Resource management

In this section, the project team is introduced, and roles and responsibilities are defined. It addresses resource allocation, scheduling, and, if applicable, procurement needs.

Section 9: Risk management

The risk management section identifies potential risks and uncertainties that could impact the project. It discusses risk assessment, prioritization, and mitigation strategies to reduce the impact of these risks.

Section 10: Communication plan

The communication plan outlines how project information will be shared with stakeholders and team members. It specifies communication methods, frequency, and reporting channels to ensure effective communication throughout the project.

Section 11: Stakeholder management

This section lists project stakeholders and analyzes their interests, influence, and expectations. It also outlines strategies for engaging and managing these stakeholders to ensure their needs are addressed.

Section 12: Procurement management

If procurement of goods or services is involved, this section explains the procurement strategy, vendor selection criteria, and how contracts will be managed.

Section 13: Change management

Change management procedures are detailed here, including how changes to the project scope, schedule, or other aspects will be requested, evaluated, approved, and communicated.

Section 14: Closure criteria

Criteria for determining when the project is complete and ready for closure are specified in this section. It may also include plans for project handover and post-project evaluation.

Section 15: Project organization

This section describes the project team's structure, roles, and responsibilities, ensuring everyone understands their positions and reporting lines. It may also mention external stakeholders and their roles if applicable.

Once you’ve documented your project management plan, bring it to life with a project management tool that will help you to stay on track, keep your team accountable, and promote transparency.

Here are 3 ways you can use Teamwork.com to supercharge your project management plan.

Add your supporting documentation to Teamwork Spaces

Spaces

Use the Teamwork.com and Teamwork Spaces integration to link a project in Teamwork.com with a space in Teamwork Spaces, so your important project documents are only ever a click away.

Some documents you might want to add in addition to your project charter and project management plan include:

Scoping documents

Risk assessments

Change management plans

SOPs for important project processes

List of stakeholders and their roles

Outline of approval processes

Communications management plan

Any other best practices documentation or supporting info as necessary

You can even embed task lists into your pages and mark tasks as complete right from Teamwork Spaces, so you can keep work flowing without even needing to switch tabs.

Start adding your Milestones

Break down your work into Milestones and task lists that are going to help you reach them. With Teamwork.com, you can assign an owner to each Milestone, map out your Milestone due dates and see them represented in the project calendar, and even get a full change history for milestones so you can track any edits.

Visualize your task dependencies with a Gantt chart

Gantt chart-style views are a useful way to get a visual representation of your tasks and their dependencies, allowing for better scheduling and resourcing. In Teamwork.com, you can drag and drop to quickly rearrange your project schedule , without throwing everything out of order or straying off-plan.

Remember: software should support the way you work, not dictate it. So regardless of methodology or team type, create a project plan that works for you and your team — and find a tool that helps you put it into action.

Use our project plan template

Now that you know how to create a project management plan that actually works, you’re ready to implement using our team management software . To help you get up and running quickly, we’ve created a ready to use project plan template . Our project template will help you quickly create project plans that ensure all of your projects are completed on time and on budget

What is a project management plan template?

A project management plan template is a pre-designed framework that provides a structured format for creating a project management plan. It serves as a starting point for project managers and teams to develop their specific project plans, saving time and ensuring that key project management components are properly addressed.

How can a template help you build a great project management plan?

A template can help you build a great project management plan by saving time, ensuring comprehensive coverage of project management aspects, and incorporating industry best practices and visual aids for clarity. They also support collaboration, version control, and customization to fit the unique needs of each project, making them a valuable tool for project managers in achieving successful project outcomes.

What is the main purpose of a project management plan?

The main purpose of a project management plan is to provide a comprehensive and structured roadmap for successfully executing, monitoring, controlling, and closing a project. It serves as a central document that outlines project objectives, scope, schedule, budget, quality standards, resource allocation, risk management strategies, and communication approaches.

What tools do I need to help manage a project plan?

To effectively manage a project plan, you'll need a set of tools and software that cover various aspects of project management. These include project management software, communication and collaboration platforms, file and document management solutions, time and task tracking apps, and budgeting and financial management tools.

What steps are involved in the project planning process?

The steps involved in the project planning process include defining specific project objectives and scope, identifying deliverables and key milestones, budgets, risk assessment and quality control measures. It should also include a communication plan and stakeholder engagement strategies.

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How to Create a Realistic Project Plan with Templates & Examples

project planning manager

As a project manager, a huge part of your role is to write project plans that help you keep projects on track. But that’s not all a project plan should do. 

A project plan is arguably the most important document you’ll create for a project. At its core, a plan should communicate your project approach and the process your team will use to manage the project according to scope.

Let’s take a closer look at how you can develop a rock-solid planning process that guides your team and projects to success.

What is a project plan?

Project plan example: what to include, why you should always write a project plan, 5 steps to an effective project planning process, how to create a project plan in teamgantt, free project plan templates.

A project plan is a document that maps out the tasks, effort, timing, and resources needed to meet project goals within a predefined scope. It’s often presented in the form of a gantt chart because it’s easy to visualize the project timeline and ensure work stays on track.

Any solid project management plan should answer the following questions:

  • What are the major deliverables?
  • How will we get to those deliverables and the deadline?
  • Who’s on the project team, and what role will they play in those deliverables?
  • Which stakeholders need to provide feedback on deliverables, and when?
  • When will the team meet milestones?

A project plan communicates this information in a simple, straightforward way so everyone clearly understands the objectives and how they contribute to project success. It may also be accompanied by other planning documents, such as a project charter , risk assessment , or communication plan .

While no two project plans are alike, they all share the same common building blocks. Be sure to include the following components in any project plan you create:

  • Project tasks : A detailed list of work to be done organized by project phase, process step, or work group
  • Project schedule : A visual timeline of task start dates, durations, and deadlines, with clear progress indicators
  • Key milestones : Major events, dates, decisions, and deliverables used for tracking forward progress
  • Dependencies : A line connecting tasks that need to happen in a certain order
  • Resources : Assignments that indicate the person or team responsible for completing a task

Here’s a simple example of what a project plan looks like with these basic elements highlighted:

An example of a project plan in gantt chart format with the following components highlighted: project tasks, project schedule, key milestones, dependencies, and resources.

Some people don’t understand the power of a good project plan. If you feel pressured to skip the plan and jump right into the work, remind your team and stakeholders that having a plan benefits everyone by making it easier to:

  • Build consensus before work begins : A detailed project plan ensures everyone has a clear understanding of—and agrees on—the overall process, scope, staffing, and even communications from the outset. That goes a long way in keeping project confusion and pop-up requests from gumming up the works.
  • Avoid scheduling conflicts : Project plans enable you to organize tasks so it’s clear who's responsible for what and when. If your team is juggling multiple projects, you can cross-reference other plans to see who’s available to take on new work before committing to a timeline.
  • Monitor project goals and scope : When new tasks creep in, it’s easy to lose sight of the original objectives. Spelling out the work you need to complete in a time-based plan keeps project goals front and center so you can ensure project scope stays intact.  ‍
  • Hold your team and stakeholders accountable : A good project plan sets expectations around the process and pacing you'll follow each step of the way. When plans are shared with teams and stakeholders, it keeps folks honest about what is—or isn’t—happening and forces you to resolve issues in a timely way.

Easy drag and drop features with templates for faster scheduling. Plan a project in minutes, collaborate easily as a team, and switch to calendar and list views in a single click.

project planning manager

Poor planning can lead to some pretty ugly consequences—from missed deadlines and budget overages to team burnout and client frustration. That’s why it’s important to establish a solid process you can use to plan any project. 

Planning a project doesn’t have to be difficult. These basic project planning steps can help you write a plan that’s both realistic and on target.

A chart that outlines 5 steps of the project planning process: 1. Discover & define; 2. Outline & draft; 3. Formalize & format; 4. Present & confirm; 5. Execute & adjust

  • Start with project discovery & definition
  • Draft a rough outline of your plan
  • Formalize your project management plan
  • Present & confirm your plan
  • Execute your plan & adjust as needed

Step 1: Start with project discovery and definition

A project plan is more than a dry document with dates. It’s the story of your project, and you don’t want it to be a tall tale! So make sure you know all the facts before you start creating a project plan.

Understand the project scope and value

Understanding the ins and outs of the project will help you determine the best process and identify any snags that might get in the way of success. Conduct your own research to dig deeper on:

  • Project goals and outcomes
  • Partnerships and outlying dependencies
  • Potential issues and risks

Review the scope of work , and dive into any documents or communications relevant to the project (maybe an RFP or notes from sales calls or client meetings). Be thorough in your research to uncover critical project details, and ask thoughtful questions before you commit to anything. 

Interview key stakeholders

If you want to dazzle stakeholders with a stellar project delivery, you’ve got to know how they work and what they expect. Schedule time with your main project contact, and ask them some tough questions about process, organizational politics, and general risks before creating a project plan. 

This will give project stakeholders confidence that your team has the experience to handle any difficult personality or situation. It also shows you care about the success of the project from the start.

Be sure to discuss these things with your stakeholders:

  • Product ownership and the decision-making process
  • Stakeholder interest/involvement levels
  • Key outages, meetings, deadlines, and driving factors
  • Related or similar projects, goals, and outcomes
  • The best way to communicate with partners and stakeholders

See a list of sample interview questions to ask stakeholders so you can develop better project plans.

Get to know your team

The last step in the research phase is to take time to learn more about the people who’ll be responsible for the work. Sit down with your team and get to know their:

  • Collaboration and communication styles
  • Availability and workload

Understanding these basics about your team will help you craft a thoughtful plan that takes their work styles and bandwidth into consideration. After all, a happy team delivers better projects.

Step 2: Draft a rough outline of your plan

Now that you’ve gathered the basic project details, the next step is to knock out a rough draft of your plan. Take some time to think about the discussions you had in the pre-planning phase and the approach your team might take to meet the project goals.

Sketch out the main components of your project plan

Sit down with a pen and paper (or a whiteboard), and outline how the project should work at a high level. Be sure you have a calendar close by to check dates.

If you’re at a loss for where to begin, start with the who, what, when, and how of the project. A first outline can be very rough and might look something like a work breakdown structure . Make sure your project outline includes the following components:

  • Deliverables and the tasks required to create them
  • Your client’s approval process
  • Timeframes associated with tasks/deliverables
  • Ideas on resources needed for tasks/deliverables
  • A list of the assumptions you’re making in the plan
  • A list of absolutes as they relate to the project budget and/or deadlines

Considering these elements will help you avoid surprises—or at least minimize them. And remember, you’re doing this as a draft so you can use it as a conversation-starter for your team. It’s not final yet!

Get input from your team on process, effort, and timing

You don’t want to put yourself or your team in an awkward position by not coming to a consensus on the approach before presenting it to your client. That's why a project manager can’t be the only one writing a project plan.

Once you’ve created a basic project outline, take those rough ideas and considerations to your team. This enables you to invite discussion about what might work rather than simply dictating a process. After all, every project must begin with clear communication of the project goals and the effort required to meet them. 

Be sure to get input from your team on how they can complete the tasks at hand without killing the budget and the team’s morale. As a project manager, you can decide on Agile vs. Waterfall approaches , but when it comes down to it, you need to know that the team can realistically execute the plan.

You can also use this review time to question your own thinking and push the team to take a new approach to the work. For example, if you’re working on a digital product, could designers start creating visual concepts while the wireframes are being developed? Or can you have two resources working on the same task at once?

Running ideas by the team and having an open dialogue about the approach not only helps you build a more accurate project plan. It gets everyone thinking about the project in the same terms. This type of buy-in and communication builds trust and gets people excited about working together to solve a goal. It can work wonders for the greater good of your team and project.

Step 3: Formalize your project management plan

You should feel comfortable enough at this point to put together a rock-solid project schedule using whatever tool works for you. 

Build out a detailed project schedule that’s easy to read

Any good online project planning tool will help you formalize your thoughts and lay them out in a consistent, visual format that’s easy to follow and track. (Ahem, TeamGantt works nicely for a lot of happy customers. ) 

Make sure tasks have clear start and end dates so there’s no question when work needs to happen to hit project deadlines. Organize work into phases, and use labels and/or color-coding to improve scannability. The easier your project plan is to understand at a glance, the better!

See how to create a project plan in TeamGantt

Consider how your team likes to work

Be as flexible as possible when it comes to how your project plan is presented. There's no absolute when it comes to how to format your plan as long as you and your team understand what goes into one.

Remember, people absorb information differently. While you might be partial to a gantt chart, others might prefer to view tasks in a list, calendar, or even a kanban board. You can make all of those variations work if you’ve taken the steps to create a solid plan.

For example, here’s an Agile project plan we built that lists each sprint as its own task group with milestones for sprint planning and deployment.

Agile project plan example with 2 sprints scheduled on a timeline

And here’s what that same project plan looks like if you turn it into a kanban board in TeamGantt. Simply click the Board tab and set up your columns so your team can manage their daily workflows more easily.

Sample Agile project plan in a kanban board view with columns for to do, in progress, and done

If your team currently prefers spreadsheets and isn’t quite ready to use TeamGantt yet, try our free Excel gantt chart template .

Step 4: Present and confirm your plan

You’re almost finished! Now it’s time to do your due diligence. It’s easy to throw stuff in a plan, but you have to make sure you get it right.

Run your final plan by your internal team

Your team needs to know the reality of your plan as it stands after you’ve built it out in TeamGantt. And you want to be sure they’re comfortable committing to the details. If they don’t, things will quickly fall apart!

Always review your final plan with your team before delivering it to stakeholders. Why? Because things like dates and tasks—and even assignments—will shift as you formalize the rough sketch of your plan. 

Here are a few things you’ll want to discuss with your team as you review the final plan together:

  • Review times
  • Team work times
  • Dependencies
  • Time off, meetings, and milestones
  • The final deadline
  • Any assumptions you’ve made
  • Major changes since your last talk

There’s nothing more embarrassing than delivering a plan with an error or a promise you can’t keep. Taking a few minutes to get buy-in from your team will give everyone peace of mind about your plan.

Review your project plan with stakeholders

Once you’ve confirmed the plan with your team and have their full sign-off, you’re ready to share your project plan with stakeholders . 

When delivering your project plan, make sure you provide an executive summary. This might come in the form of a project brief . A short recap of the overall methodology, resources, assumptions, deadlines, and related review times will help you convey what the plan means to the project and everyone involved.

Project plans can be daunting, so schedule time to present your project plan to stakeholders at a high level. Here are some things you’ll want to point out about your plan during this review:

  • Overall process and pacing
  • Major deliverables and timing
  • The time they’ll have to review deliverables
  • Overall timing for task groups or phases
  • How far off you are from the deadline
  • Wiggle room on the final deadline

If a stakeholder is interested in the day-to-day details, feel free to walk them through the plan line by line. Otherwise, start by explaining overall sections or phases, and be sure to come back to your plan at intervals throughout the project to remind them of tasks, next steps, and overall progress.

Step 5: Execute your plan and adjust as needed

Some projects are smooth and easy to manage, and others are a complete nightmare that wake you up at 3 a.m. every other night. Thankfully, having a solid project plan is your best defense against project chaos once work gets underway.

Keep in mind that project plans are living documents. Projects change constantly, and someone has to stay on top of—and document—that change. Remember to:

  • Update your plan regularly as work progresses and things change
  • Communicate changes to your team, partners, and stakeholders
  • Monitor and communicate risks as your project evolves

Ready to plan your project in TeamGantt? Follow these easy steps to build a plan that’s structured well and includes the elements you need for project success.

1. Enter your basic project details.

To create a new project plan in TeamGantt, click the New Project button in the upper right corner of the My Projects screen. Then enter your project name and start date, and select the days of the week you want to include in your plan. Click Create New Project to move on to the next step.

Example of the project creation screen in TeamGantt

2. List out your project tasks and milestones.

Now the real planning fun begins! Enter all the different tasks it will take to get the job done. If there are any key meetings, deliverable deadlines, or approvals, add those as milestones in your project plan.

List of tasks organized into 2 task groups in a project plan

3. Organize tasks into subgroups. 

Scrolling through one long list of tasks can be mind-numbing, even to the best of us. Break tasks down into phases or sections to ensure your project plan is easy to read and understand. 

4. Add task durations and milestone dates to the project timeline.

A visual project plan makes it easy to see exactly what needs to get done by when. Make sure every task has a start and end date so nothing falls through the cracks. TeamGantt’s drag and drop feature makes this planning step quick and easy.

Example of TeamGantt's drag and drop scheduling for task durations

5. Connect related tasks with dependencies.

Adding dependencies between tasks ensures work gets done in the right order and also helps you plan for delay risks. If your plan shifts and you need to move tasks around, dependencies speed up the process.

Example of a dependency line connecting a task assigned to Peggy to a subsequent task assigned to Don

6. Assign responsible team members to tasks.

That way there’s no confusion about who’s doing what, and your team can update and manage their daily tasks . Don’t forget to check team availability along the way to avoid overloading anyone with too much work.

Task assignment in TeamGantt

7. Use the RACI chart to define task roles more clearly.

This feature takes accountability one step further by letting you assign more specific roles to each task: Responsible , Accountable , Consulted , and Informed . Learn how RACI charts work and what each role means.

Example of RACI assignments in TeamGantt for a digital marketing campaign project plan

8. Add hourly estimates and/or points to each task. 

This makes it easy to see the lift each task involves at a glance. Including hourly estimates in your project plan also enables you to manage workloads and track overages more accurately.

Example of estimated hours for tasks in a project plan with actual vs estimated hours progress indicators

9. Color-code tasks for better scannability.

You can use colors to categorize tasks by project phase, priority, department, or team member—whatever makes visual sense to you and your team.

Example of color selection menu in TeamGantt for color-coding taskbars on the timeline

10. Add notes to clarify tasks or spell out important details.

There’s no such thing as too much information if it means your team has what they need to deliver quality work on time. Use the Notes section of your Discussion tab to enter any pertinent details your team will find helpful.

Task detail window example with notes on scope and word count, as well as a creative brief attached to the task

11. Upload important documents to the project.

This ensures project files are accessible to everyone in a centralized hub.  For example, you might attach your creative brief to the project so your content and design teams have clear direction for completing their deliverables.

If you’re planning a project for the first time or taking on a totally new type of project, you might be struggling to get your plan off the ground. We created a simple project management plan template to help you get started.

TeamGantt gives you the ability to quickly and easily build and adjust your plan using drag and drop scheduling. Plus, it comes with customizable views to fit every team member’s work style. 

Try our basic project plan template for free!

Basic project plan template in TeamGantt with placeholder tasks that can easily be customized

Looking for more specific project plan examples to jumpstart your process? Use these project planning templates to generate ideas and save time building out your plan:

  • Construction project plan template
  • Event planning template
  • Strategic marketing plan template
  • Tactical marketing plan template
  • Software development plan template
  • Video production schedule template
  • Website project plan template

Plan your next project in minutes

Discover just how easy project planning can be with TeamGantt. Create your first gantt chart for free!

project planning manager

Project Management

12 minute read

How to Create a Project Management Plan (Step by Step)

Devan Ciccarelli

Devan Ciccarelli

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Here’s how to create a project management plan, even if you have zero experience doing so.

Whether you’re a newly hired project manager or one who’s been slaying the game for years, having the right plan in place is essential to the success of your project. After all, when you have everything outlined and neatly organized, you’ll score a much better chance of managing a project that runs smoothly from start to finish.

Bad news: It’s this step, actually creating the plan, that trips many managers up. Fortunately, with the help of today’s article, you won’t fall into that trap. I’ll show you everything you need to know about how to create a project management plan so you have a roadmap to run with.

We’ll cover how to:

Step 1: Identify the goal of the project

Step 2: map out the scope, step 3: develop an outline or plan, step 4: share this initial idea with your team, step 5: finalize your plan.

  • Step 6: Use a Gantt chart to keep things organized

Step 7: Distribute your project management plan

Step 8: hold a project post mortem.

So let’s jump right in.

Want to learn more?

Take your project management skills to the next level with our comprehensive (and free) ebook!

How to create a project management plan

Follow these eight steps to build a solid project management plan from the ground up:

To build anything of substance, the first step you’ll want to tackle is creating the right foundation.

Ask yourself these questions to lay the groundwork:

  • Why are you creating this project?
  • What’s the goal of it?
  • How will this affect your stakeholders?
  • What about your team?

And to help you answer those, make sure you do the following:

Research and homework

  • You may already have a good idea of why you’re creating this project, but it’s essential to back this up with research.
  • How is your company doing things right now? What’s working? What doesn’t work?
  • Are there enough resources available? What else is needed?
  • Figure out the real the problem at hand and gain a deep understanding of the current mechanics before you try to improve them.

Meet with your team for feedback

  • Meet with anyone who could be involved in this project during this stage. Before narrowing things down, be sure to speak with any employees who will be involved in this project.
  • You need to see things from their perspective so you have all your ducks in a row when it comes time to introduce the plan to your stakeholders.
  • Once that’s taken care of, you can then meet your stakeholders with confidence.

Figure out who is a stakeholder

  • Sure, you may have a Board of Directors or some other stakeholders involved, but don’t forget, those aren’t the only people to consider.
  • Your customers and employees may also be stakeholders in this project.
  • In short, anyone who could be affected by these changes is a stakeholder and must be considered as such.
  • After you nail down your “why” and meet with both your team and all prominent stakeholders, you’re ready to set your priorities and goals.

Identify priorities

  • Before you dive into your goals, consider your priorities first. What is more important here? What can take a backseat?
  • Identify your priorities before moving on to finalizing your goals.

Set clear goals

  • Once you’ve tackled all of that, you’re ready to set specific, measurable goals.
  • These goals serve as the foundation of your project management plan so it’s crucial that you spend enough time figuring them out before moving on to the rest of our steps.

You’ll need to answer:

  • What are you hoping to achieve here?
  • How will you measure that?
  • What’s considered a success?

With that important information nailed down, you can then map out your project’s scope.

Map out the scope

If you were to compare your project management plan to building a house, your first step is the concrete foundation.

This next step is the blueprint for how things will get done and what your project will look like once it’s in motion.

So answer these next questions before proceeding:

What is your budget?

  • Before you create an elaborate project scope that’s out of reach, you need to consider your budget first. And I’m not only referring to your financial investment here.
  • You must also take into account your other valuable resources, such as time and manpower. How much of these can you afford to use?
  • Outline your budget in terms of financial investment, time, and resources needed. Only then will you be able to create a realistic project scope, which is also your next step.

What is your project scope?

  • As with setting goals, it’s important to stretch your project to the right limits. You don’t want to go so far that your team can’t reach its targets, yet you also don’t want to create a project that doesn’t accomplish much.
  • To help strike the right balance, create a project scope that is crystal clear and outlines all of the details — both big and small.
  • Your project scope should also include your deliverables and the deliverable schedule .
  • For more on keeping your project's scope within bounds, check out our definitive guide to scope creep .

What are your deliverables?

  • Everyone on your team should know what needs to be delivered and when. By spelling this out in your project scope, you’ll do just that.
  • Not only does this deliverables list create a workflow everyone can follow, it also helps keep everyone on track.
  • You’ll also show stakeholders or clients what they can expect, which naturally builds accountability into your project management plan.
  • So when you account for all the deliverables you’re responsible for, your next task is to plot out your deliverable schedule.

What is your deliverable schedule?

  • It’s crucial that you don’t over promise during this step. Do that and your team will be left scrambling throughout the project and your deliverables will suffer in quality.
  • A better approach is to use the research you conducted in step 1 to hone in on a realistic delivery schedule.
  • If your research uncovered that the task takes 2 weeks to complete, it’s not a good idea to only give your team a few days and hope everything somehow falls into place within a shorter time frame.
  • It’s also smart to add a buffer to any areas you’re not sure of, just to be safe. This gives your project and your team the breathing room needed to get the job done correctly.
  • If you’re worried that your stakeholders will be concerned about the amount of time needed, reassure them that to do the job right the first time, it needs to take that much time. Otherwise you’ll be stuck re-working things for months to come.
  • Now that you have all of this sketched out, you’re ready to create the first draft of your project plan.

Your next step is to create an outline and plan of action based on everything you’ve learned so far.

While this is only a first draft at this point, it pays to finalize as much as you can (as if it were the real thing) so you can avoid multiple rounds of revisions.

In this outline, include the project’s:

  • “Why”
  • Stakeholders
  • Deliverables
  • Deliverable schedule

You should also include a page about your research to highlight your biggest key findings and discuss how they inspired your project management plan.

Polish up your document, add some branding elements, and you’ll be ready to share it with your team.

Before you get too excited and send your document to every one of your stakeholders, you need to finalize it with your team beforehand.

This step is one that many project managers overlook for time’s sake — and it’s a crucial and costly mistake.

When there’s a disconnect between the initial plan and how the work is implemented, you’re going to face several snags along the way.

You’re better off finalizing this draft plan with your team before it gets to the approval stage.

This ensures that your project will run as smoothly as your dreams.

So in this stage, hold a kickoff meeting to:

  • Explain the ins and outs of the project
  • Let your team know what’s expected of them and when
  • Work out any kinks that may come up

It’s especially important to pay attention to that last point.

No matter how hard you try to cover all of your bases, hiccups will inevitably surface in any project.

But with proper planning, you’ll minimize problems as much as humanly possible. I’ll touch more on this next.

Using the feedback from your team, you’re ready to finalize your plan.

This official plan will be the one you’ll send to stakeholders so it’s important to take your time here.

You should also add a section about any issues that may come up, including how you plan to handle them.

While it may seem counterintuitive to highlight possible hiccups to your stakeholders, you’ll be showing them that you’re taking a proactive, instead of reactive, approach. This foresight is always appreciated.

It’s also ideal to assign roles during this phase of the project plan so stakeholders know how to get in touch with your points of contact during each step.

The best way to display this type of information, both internally and externally for stakeholders, is through a Gantt chart.

Step 6: Use a Gantt chart to keep things organized

If you have Excel, you can use this free Gantt Chart template to create a timeline of deliverables.

Free Gantt Chart

This helpful tracker ensures that both your team and stakeholders know what to expect and when.

As the project unfolds, keep this updated throughout the day so anyone can see where your project presently stands.

Once you’ve finished creating your project management plan and created a timeline using a Gantt chart, you can finally share your plan with everyone.

When your plan is ready to send out to stakeholders and everyone else on your team, you’ll be able to answer questions and start putting your plan into motion.

To stay on track, plot out the big milestones first and then how you plan to achieve each one using smaller targets, such as daily, weekly, or monthly goals.

After that, you’re simply managing deliverables and your team. Easy peasy.

Now, before you use this template again on your next project, conduct a project post mortem as I’ll show you next.

This is similar to a kickoff meeting except that it happens after a project has finished.

I spoke in depth about the topic in this guide so I’ll keep things brief here. If you need more help, check out that guide when you’re done reading this one.

With a project post mortem, your goal is to find out how your project went from start to finish, including any bumps in the road you experienced.

  • Did you run on schedule?
  • If there were any milestones missed, what caused the delay? Can that be prevented for the next one?
  • Are there any other issues you ran into?

You should also compare how your results fared with your initial plan.

By taking this time to reflect, you’ll all but guarantee that your next project doesn’t fall victim to the same mistakes.

You also want to highlight what went well and give your team the kudos they deserve for a job well done.

This will help keep the positive momentum moving right into your next project.

Jot down everything you discover here so you can use this intel to improve your next project management plan.

Create your project management plan now

Don’t let the thought of creating a project management plan from scratch stress you out.

Follow these 8 steps and you’ll have everything you need to make your project a success starting today!

Want to brush up on your project management skills? Check out the Project Management Basics and Project Management for Team Members courses to get a solid foundation in how to better manage your projects.

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Devan Ciccarelli

Crafting fluff-free content is Devan’s jam. When she’s not writing for GoSkills, you’ll find her outside reading, soaking up the sun, or hiking her next adventure.

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The 9 stages of a successful project planning process

Find out what steps you can take to lay the foundation of a successful project.

Stella Inabo

Stella Inabo,   Content Marketer

  • project planning

The project planning process is essential to laying the groundwork for a successful project. 

But planning a project is not linear. The project manager might need to change things on the fly to adjust plans to reality. For example, you could need to adjust the project timeline after planning your resources to avoid burning out your employees.  As a result, the project planning processes can quickly become complicated!  

In this guide, we’ll share a structured approach to project management planning that will help you plan your future projects better.

What are the stages in project planning?

There are nine essential stages in the project planning process that should be adhered to. Follow these steps to create your project plan:

1. Determine the project goals and objectives 

The first step in the project planning phase is to define the goals and objectives of your project. 

Project goals and objectives help you decide if the project should be prioritized (or even undertaken—essentially you need to use a proof of concept ). They also assist you in deciding what to deliver to the client and in identifying problems early on, e.g., a short deadline.  

Your project goals provide a broad idea of what you’re trying to accomplish and help dictate the direction of your project. 

Your project objectives are similar to your goals, but they define the project in more specific terms like cost, time, and quality. Once you have your project objectives, it's easy to determine the deliverables . 

To set your project goals and objectives, refer to the information gathered in the project initiation stage . For example, the project brief or project proposal state that the client needs an e-commerce store to handle the volume of orders on their social media pages. Their goal, in that case, is to launch an e-commerce website. Their objectives might be to launch a fast and user-friendly e-commerce website by the end of Q4 at a cost of $20,000.

If you're wondering where to start, take a look at our project planning templates or the more specific project charter templates that will help you save time and effort.

2. Determine the project scope 

Stakeholders often request extra tasks or significant changes in direction (sometimes several of them) during a project that could derail it. 

Your project scope protects you from unrealistic expectations, conflicting interests, and unattainable demands as the project progresses.  

To determine your scope, look at your project goals and objectives. What do you need to do to achieve them? What isn’t necessary? For example, the scope of a new housing project may be limited to erecting and finishing the building but might not include landscaping or the construction of an outdoor pool. And it certainly does not include switching the design to a skyscraper!

It’s normal to feel uncertain about all the details. Stephen Whitworth, co-founder of incident.io, recommends being flexible in your approach. “You can scope with different levels of detail in your scope. It’s helpful to start vague, get early feedback, and then go precise.”

Using a scope document or a scope statement ensures you can refer back to it if the need arises (this can be achieved in several ways). 

3. Build your work breakdown structure (WBS)

At this stage, start determining which tasks, subtasks, and deliverables must be carried out to complete the project. You can do this by referring to your scope and creating a work breakdown structure—a structured decomposition of tasks needed to complete a project. A WBS is often accompanied by a resource breakdown structure (RBS) , where both represent what activities the project team needs to complete and what resources are necessary for each work package.

In his book Project Management for Humans , Brett Harned emphasizes the importance of work breakdown structure:  "Creating a work breakdown structure for any plan or set of tasks helps you get granular about the work that needs to be done on any given project."

You can create a written work breakdown structure by:

  • Breaking down your project using a Kanban board like Trello
  • Mapping out tasks and timelines using Gantt charts in a project management tool like Asana  

Start by taking the project itself and breaking it down into large chunks or workstreams. For example, your initial workstreams for an e-commerce website would be setting up the site infrastructure and authentication, creating the cart system, and connecting the payment gateway. 

You can go further by breaking your workstreams into smaller deliverables (don’t forget to add managerial tasks at each level!). For the e-commerce website, tasks like buying a domain name, instituting website hosting, and load balancing all fall under setting up the site infrastructure. 

If you’re using a project management tool like Asana or Trello to create your WBS, you can integrate with Float to easily allocate tasks based on your team’s skills, availability, and capacity.

4. Set timelines  

Now that you have individual tasks created, you can set timelines for each activity. 

Project timelines help you estimate the completion date and keep things on track. Timelines are usually plotted on a Gantt chart or in a resource management tool like Float .

A view of projects in Float that supports the project planning process

A view of projects in Float that supports the project planning process.

A view of milestones in Float

A view of milestones in Float.

You can set timelines by comparing the duration of tasks in similar projects or asking your team how long specific tasks take them.  

Remember to add a buffer period for unplanned events like switching hosting providers or delays in getting approval from building control inspectors. "If there's a project I can get done in a week, I'll estimate two and half weeks for it. In case of unforeseen circumstances, I'd like to overestimate so I'll have more time," says David Ibia, CEO of BoxMarshall LLC .

Here are some other things to keep in mind when creating timelines: 

  • Set milestones for project phases : An example of a milestone could be that 2 months from the start date, the engineers will have completed their work on the backend of the e-commerce site . 
  • Be conscious of time constraints : Your timeline might have to fit the deadline given by clients. In this case, you may need to follow the critical path. 

Learn more about project timelines in our brief guide to project scheduling.

5. Determine and plan resources 

For a project to succeed, you need the right people and resources. 

The resource planning process in project management involves a lot of project assumptions and making estimates . But from the past steps—especially your WBS, scope, and goals—you should have a rough idea of what resources you need. 

For example, if you’re building an e-commerce website, you’ll need a developer, a designer, and a copywriter.  You’ll also need to purchase hosting and a domain name for the website. If they are a co-located team, you should provide a meeting room for collaboration. 

For a new house construction project, you’ll need masons, plumbers, electricians, HVAC technicians, and materials like sand, rocks, wood, pipes, and wires. 

When planning your resources, ensure you:

  • Determine the skills/criteria you need 
  • Confirm future availability of resources 
  • Identify costs of resources, e.g., hourly rates 
  • Find out about special requirements, e.g., do you need to find a contractor who is licensed through a guild?

You’ll want to make sure that you have the people with the right skills and capacity to make the project a success. Also, ensure your plan shows clear ownership of tasks. One easy way is to use your WBS to create an organizational structure.

6. Estimate costs 

One of the challenges in the project planning process is balancing your budget with your stakeholders' desire to save money.

However, if you underestimate costs, you might find yourself without funds in the middle of the project. To approximate the cost of the project , you can use: 

  • Ballpark estimation: What do you think the entire project will cost based on project objectives and client expectations? This is not an exact figure. It could cost less or more, so let your clients know. Use this method when you need to give a cost estimate before determining things like your WBS or resources. 
  • Parametric estimation: Use historical data in your resource management tool and the cost of variables to estimate costs. Turn your WBS into a cost breakdown structure. You can take the prices of a unit of labor, such as a mason working at $23 an hour, and multiply it by the amount of time the project will take.  

Choose your method and establish an initial cost baseline . Make sure to include details about the contact person and processes for releasing the funds. For example, the team lead could approve spending for limited amounts, while larger amounts must be approved by the finance department. 

A convenient way to manage project budgets

Easily manage project budgets with Float by selecting hourly or dollar-value options, tracking billable or non-billable tasks, and monitoring real-time progress through reports. Simplify your budgeting process and stay on target with Float!

7. Determine risks and constraints 

No project exists without risks or constraints. The key to avoiding a project failure is identifying the potential pitfalls and creating an action plan to handle them.  

One way to properly prepare is to create a risk register—a document that lists all of the potential risks and information about them. Also, include an action plan to counter each project risk in your risk register .

8. Plan out communication 

Creating a communication blueprint is essential in developing a project plan. "No matter what role you’re playing on a project, if you’re not making a strong effort to communicate with your team, you will likely fail," says Harned.

Be sure to include details about the following:

  • Communication channels: This may be via email for clients, while team members might communicate primarily over Slack.
  • Frequency: This may be weekly,  on-demand asynchronously, or per milestone.
  • Communication type/details: Execs typically need fewer details and more high-level information, while team members who are actively working on the project need more granular information. 
  • Contact persons: Define who you go to and with what type of information to avoid delays.

Did you know?

Float centralizes your people and projects, so everyone can always see who’s working on what and when. Automate notifications via Slack, email, and mobile to let the team know when plans change.

9. Make plans for quality control and assurance

Planning for project quality control involves providing guidelines for managing, assuring, and maintaining standards within the project. 

Without a plan, it will be very tough to achieve your desired results. You might end up with a slow e-commerce website or a leaky plumbing system!

To set quality control metrics, you should:

  • Leverage in-house experts' knowledge of best practices
  • Reference industry standards—for example,  e-commerce sites need to have a secure and fast payment system 
  • Work with key stakeholders to determine expectations of quality 

Your plan should also include acceptance criteria, define the people in charge of verifying work, and set any corrective actions.

What are the components of a project plan?

The elements will vary from project to project, but here are some essential components every successful project plan should have: 

  • Scope: Define the boundaries of your project. What will be included and excluded in the entire project? 
  • Deliverables: Define what products/deliverables need to be submitted at the end of the project. 
  • Budget: Define how much the project will cost. One easy way is to use your WBS to create a cost breakdown structure by assigning costs to each task. 
  • Quality: Define how quality will be assured and controlled on the project.  
  • Schedule: Assign time to each project activity and people to tasks.  
  • Resourcing: Define what human and material resources will be needed to complete the project. 
  • Stakeholder management/communication: How will you communicate with your stakeholders and keep them in the loop? Define which stakeholder will be given what information at what times.    
  • Governance: To keep your project transparent and compliant, define which team members are responsible for project monitoring and decision-making. 
  • Risk: Enter all risks in a risk register. Also, include details about each risk and plans to combat them. 

Learn about the factors to successful project planning .

Try the #1 project planning software

More than 400 of the world’s top teams choose Float to plan, schedule, and track their team’s time. Rated #1 on G2 for resource management, Float gives you the most accurate view of your resource capacity to plan project work.

Why is project planning software important? 

Planning a project involves a lot of guesswork. The truth is, as accurate as you try to be, your estimates may still end up a bit off track. 

Project planning software makes this work easier by providing a central place to document and share plans with stakeholders. It allows you to automate timeline planning and milestone setting. It also provides reliable historical data to inform decisions for future projects. 

With project planning software, you can forecast potential risks and resource shortages before they happen. You can track the availability and capacity of resources and find the right skills in your resource pool, effectively planning your project from start to finish.

Not sure which tool is best for you? Check out our listicle of project planning tools that helps you evaluate each tool and choose one that works.

Project plans are not set in stone 

The planning phase is iterative. More often than not, you will need to change your project management plan to match reality. 

Don't hesitate to find a way to redistribute resources or cut costs if you are falling behind schedule. If your communication plan isn't working, reassess and try new ways to keep your stakeholders informed .  

A successful project requires contributions from everyone involved, and that’s only possible with a solid project plan.

Related reads

Project timelines: how to deliver projects on time and on budget, it resource management: best practices and expert tips, how to create a project work plan in 5 steps [+an example].

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What is Project Planning? Steps, Process, Importance, Tools

Home Blog Project Management What is Project Planning? Steps, Process, Importance, Tools

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There is a golden adage that says - "you don't plan to fail but you fail to plan"; well, it holds pretty much the same importance in project management as it does in all aspects of life. Project planning is quintessential to the project and projects that are not planned well result in unwanted overheads or at times sunk costs which result in pressures on the execution of the project and often escalate situations out of control for the project manager. 

What is Project Planning in Project Management?   

Project planning or project management planning is the foundation and most important stage of the project management life-cycle. The project planning activity sets the project foundations by base-lining the project scope, schedule, quality standards, objectives, and goals. Planning typically involves creating a document with all project information that comprises the respective tasks, assignee's, and areas of responsibility.

A project plan usually includes management plans for all areas of the project viz - integration, scope, schedule, cost, quality, resources, communication, risk, procurement, and stakeholders. Creating a consolidated project plan can be done manually or with the help of automated project management software such as Agile Central, Jira, Asana, Wrike, nTask, etc. Creating a comprehensive project plan and envisioning a concrete project execution strategy can streamline and strengthen the project process and ensure successful project execution and delivery. 

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Why is Project Planning Important?   

In a formal project management life cycle, projects begin with the project charter providing authority to the project manager to utilize organizational resources and assets for the project. A lot of novice professionals may at this point question - what is project planning & why is it important? Here is where the importance of the project planning phase comes into the picture as planning goes a few steps ahead and guides the project manager in strategising: 

  • How the project will move ahead i.e. how to plan a project’s activities,
  • What kind of resources will be engaged at what duration,
  • How unforeseen situations will be handled, and finally,
  • What will be the baselines against which progress will be measured and reported 

The planning process in project management forms the basis of the next project phases i.e. execution, monitoring & controlling closure, and also stipulates how the project team will pursue the goals outlined in the business case and project charter. Project planning in project management is also important from a cost-saving perspective as any project can easily run into unknowns, environmental challenges, and scope creep that haunt the completion and delivery of any/all types of projects. It is only effective project planning that provides the required structure and foresight, thereby helping eliminate wasteful tasks and patterns to optimize efficiency and execution. 

Types of Project Planning   

Project planning can be of various types depending on the objective, scope, and purview of the activity in consideration. The 3 broad categories of planning include: 

  • Vertical Planning  - involves creating a detailed hourly plan to roll up to the day and is also known as daily planning as it is done on that particular day; 
  • Horizontal Planning - involves creating a plan for the day as a whole instead of focusing on every hour and can be done weekly or monthly as well; 
  • Joint Planning - as the name suggests, involves both horizontal and vertical planning i.e. planning the tasks for the day as well as the week to have a bird's eye view and also a detailed plan at the same time. Joint planning requires careful consideration of the task duration and order of items, to sequence activities and complete them. 

What are the Components of a Project Plan?   

  • Scope - Project scope includes the stakeholder requirements, deliverables, and goals that attribute to the project's success and completion. 
  • Budget - Budget allocations define which resources will be aligned to the particular project activities based on their priority and requirements. Budget planning involves the allocation of people, processes, and technology per project needs.
  • Timeline - Project planning involves defining timelines to the scope and aligning project tasks and activities, creating schedules with milestones, and tracking progress. 

Together, these 3 components viz, scope, budget, and timeline determine what the project will accomplish, how much will be spent on the project and when will the project be delivered and completed and form the foundation for an effective project planning process. 

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Project Management Planning Techniques   

Project management planning techniques are what put the whole project planning process in project management into real and practical action. They help formulate the roadmap with milestones, deliverables, and task-level action plan to create the project deliverables and complete the project successfully. While there may be many different techniques that project managers may use, each of them has its impact on the project outcomes and may be used at different times during the project. 

1.  SMART Goals 

Goal setting is the first step in the project planning methodology and entails creating an outline of the project outcome to define what steps need to be completed and what activities need to be performed to achieve the desired outcome. In this process, the goals that are defined should have the following attributes: 

  • Specific - should be clear and concise to be achieved 
  • Measurable - should be quantifiable and not open to interpretation 
  • Attainable - should be realistic and feasible 
  • Relevant - should align with the overall business objectives 
  • Time-bound - should have a deadline or time-limit

2. Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) 

WBS is what defines how the overall project goals will be broken down into unit-level tasks/activities that will help create project deliverables to achieve project outcomes. It is essentially a visual representation of project tasks and activities presented in a hierarchical format. Creating a WBS involves breaking up high-level goal statements into doable tasks and activities to their respective unit level and allocating resources to the WBS items to create the outlined deliverables. There is also a WBS dictionary that augments the definition, break-up, and scope of work packages i.e. items in the WBS chart.

3. Cost Breakdown Structure 

This is an extension of the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) and is a hierarchical representation of costs at various levels of the WBS. CBS represents the cost of components in the WBS. It is a useful tool for structuring project financial management and the application of cost controls to track and manage project costs. 

4. Action Priority Matrix 

This is a prioritization tool that determines the sequence of tasks to balance between time and resources to optimize efficiencies. An action priority matrix is most useful in critical situations or time-crunch scenarios in the project. It has 4 quadrants - resulting in 4 possibilities, that are: 

  • Quick Wins/urgent
  • Major projects/not urgent 
  • Fill-ins/delegate 
  • Hard slogs/Postpone or ignore 

5. Milestone Trend Analysis (MTA)  

This is an important project scheduling and control tool which helps project teams determine whether the project is ahead of schedule or behind schedule and applies techniques or corrective actions to avoid variance. MTA involves creating a chart with the planning line vs the implementation line along with the respective milestones to represent trends and analyze the same. With the help of MTA, project managers can easily identify the bottlenecks and any constraints that may derail the project from its planned course of action. Want to get a project management certification? Understand the nitty-gritties of the real world project management life cycle easily in our PRINCE2 course ! 

10 Steps to Successful Project Planning   

Step 1: Define stakeholders  

Identifying and defining stakeholders is the first step to successful project planning as any stakeholder identified late will cause scope-creep or unwarranted changes which may be too expensive for the project. 

Step 2:  Define roles & responsibilities  

Outlining clear roles and responsibilities is an important next step; not all stakeholders will have the same level of interest in the project and hence it is important to establish the responsibility, accountability, and role expectations in the project.

Step 3:  Introduce stakeholders   

Bringing the stakeholders together and introducing them to the project as well as each other in a formal setup helps build trust and alignment with the overall project and organizational goals. This step helps ensure everyone's voices are heard and also secures commitment from stakeholders for the project. 

Step 4:  Set goals  

Goal setting is the key step in planning, without which it will be impossible to assess project success and mark the project closed upon completion i.e. meeting the defined goals. 

Step 5:  Prioritize tasks   

Task prioritization is the key to understanding what kind of resources will be aligned to the project at what durations. Not having a prioritized list of tasks will only confuse overlapping activities and also cost overruns in the project execution. 

Step 6:  Create a schedule   

Once the goals are established and prioritized, creating a roadmap with the project milestones helps understand dependencies, constraints, and sequencing of activities for the project. Project scheduling helps outline which activities will be completed in what order, how and when they will start, what will be their outcomes and how will the project manager track and measure progress. 

Step 7:  Assess risks   

Risks are uncertain events that may affect the project and planning involves understanding the risk and assessing its probability i.e. the chance of occurrence as well as its impact i.e. the effect on the project 

Step 8:  Communicate   

Communication plays a key role in project management and according to the PM role, a project manager spends about 90% of the time communicating. Communication of plans, timely reviews, and change management are all important aspects of the project that need attention at regular intervals. 

Step 9:  Reassess   

Reviewing and adjusting planning activity is as important as planning itself. An outdated plan can be as dangerous as having no plan at all and will give false direction to the project team and stakeholders. 

Step 10:  Final evaluation   

Project plans need to be evaluated and signed off by those accountable; every planning activity must inculcate the practice of inspection and adaptation post which the adjusted planning decisions must go through final evaluation and approval.  

How can Project Planning Software Help to Plan Projects?   

Project planning and implementation of planned activities involve handling a lot of concurrencies and managing a lot of conflicting tasks, priorities, and resources. This activity often entails a thorough understanding of the current state as well as the proposed state/outcome of the project. In such an intense environment, project management software can be a boon if rightly used to align and sequence project activities.

The project planning software essentially creates a structured framework for collaboration and automation of recurring tasks and processes. Planning software also facilitates the centralization of all information making it easy to retrieve and available on a need basis, especially in hybrid and agile setups where communication is the lifestream of business activities and execution. Project management software provides a transparent overview of completed, in progress, and planned projects to avoid bottlenecks and manage dependencies effectively. A short overview of project planning benefits include: 

  • Improved schedule management 
  • Facilitate cross-team communication and collaboration 
  • Provide visibility to better manage and mitigate risks 
  • Effective breakdown and allocation of tasks
  • Improved team productivity 
  • Easy-to-use reports and dashboards 

Best Project Planning Tools and Software in 2023   

1. gantt chart .

Gantt charts are one of the most essential and effective tools project managers use to track project progress and are used throughout the project lifecycle. They facilitate the creation of a visual project schedule/roadmap, point out milestones, and dependencies, and act as an indispensable information radiator for teams and stakeholders. Gantt charts are quite popular with teams of any size/methodology because they project the most realistic project schedule when correctly maintained and can highlight areas of risk or attention to project managers.

2. Critical Path Method (CPM) 

CPM is one of the most undermined project planning and management techniques. It involves envisaging the longest path or sequence of activities in the project by making use of the Gantt chart, Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), and network diagramming techniques. The activities that fall on this sequence or "critical path" are termed critical activities and assume the highest priority on the project schedule. The other activities which do not fall on this critical path are activities that have a float and this helps determine the other path i.e. the critical path which represents the shortest time needed to complete the project.

3. Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) Chart 

PERT is an estimation as well as scheduling technique that uses probabilities and simple statistical calculations to create a visual PERT diagram and identify independent activities. It is represented in the form of nodes and arrows sketched based on the order of activities in the project. Once the activity diagram is created, the earliest time (ET), latest time (TL), and slack time are determined for each activity. 

4. Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) 

WBS is a technique that comes in handy to organize and track project tasks sequentially and hierarchically. It is a visual representation of every task in the project and involves the decomposition of work into a smaller and more manageable set of tasks/activities. It is often used by project managers in conjunction with CPM and PERT. 

5. Project Documentation  

Project documentation is the beginning point that provides a glimpse of the project details, status, and open items. Every project should have a knowledge base or repository which aids newcomers to ramp up quickly on the project know-how and also address their concerns effectively.

Tips for Project Planning   

  • Always start with the end in mind. 
  • Understand project objectives, benefits, success metrics 
  • Identify stakeholders and their interests 
  • Understand the current state/problem statement 
  • Understand the proposed state/solution statement 
  • Define roles and responsibilities 
  • Review risks and communicate about them 
  • Create a unit-level roadmap with milestones
  • Ensure to be considerate of environmental challenges 
  • Revisit and review the plans drafted frequently along with tracking changes 

Apart from the above tips for project planning professionals, it is very vital to understand when to quit or pull the plug in certain unfortunate circumstances where projects drag and go on the downside - in which case, absorbing the sunk costs and shutting down the projects is only the feasible and economical resort. 

Simple Project Plan Example  

A traditional or simple project plan primarily has the following components: 

  • Project purpose 
  • Project stakeholders information 
  • Executive summary 
  • Business Objectives 
  • Work Breakdown Structure 
  • Deployment and Change Control Process 
  • Schedule Management 
  • Milestones and Dependencies 
  • Project Schedule Representation 
  • Cost Management and Budgeting 
  • Quality Management 
  • Resource Management 
  • Communication Management 
  • Risk Management 
  • Procurement Management 
  • Project KPIs and Metrics

Agile Project Plan Example   

An agile project plan follows the same structure as a traditional project plan with the only difference being that the project scheduling and activities are iterative and move in a continuous feedback loop. 

Free Project Planning Templates   

  • project plan template - IC-Agile-Project-Plan-Template_Google_Doc  
  • Gantt chart template - Gantt Chart Template Google Sheet  
  • Multiple project roadmap template - IC-Multiple-Project-Roadmap-Template_Google_Doc  
  • PM timeline template - IC-Multiple-Project-Roadmap-Template_Google_Doc  
  • Project tracking template - Project tracking  
Become a certified project management professional with our PRINCE2 Practitioner courses . Elevate your career and master the art of project management.

How Project Planning Can Improve Your Organization and Career?   

Project planning is a non-negotiable ingredient for the success of any project manager or organization. Its importance in the project lifecycle cannot be overstated. When performed rightly, planning helps every other function and part of the organization perform smoothly. Structured planning not only aids the project manager in daily execution but also frees up the project progress from distractions due to off-track tasks, budgets, and controls. Regular planning and review help the project manager optimize efficiency, align only required resources, and save costs for the project and organization. 

In reality, projects tend to go on and on without a firm end unless planned appropriately and reviewed frequently. It is planning that defines what activities should be sequenced in what order to create project deliverables and complete projects as expected. In short, better project planning results in better project execution and controls as it addresses a lot of key aspects such as: 

  • Improve overall business processes
  • Provides opportunities to bring in economies of scale 
  • Reduces rework and waste 
  • Obtaining stakeholder alignment from the start 
  • Helps in outlining a clear project scope 
  • Creates transparency in roles and responsibilities 
  • Provides opportunities to flag risks in advance and chalk out mitigation plans 

Apart from the above benefits, project planning also upholds the integrity of the project manager and organization in meeting their commitments to clients, third parties, and other stakeholders. 

Conclusion  

Project planning is an integral part of any project life cycle especially when projects operate in non-traditional and VUCA environments that have so many components requiring attention. Planning is not just another stage of the project lifecycle but it is the most crucial and defining factor with far-reaching impacts and consequences. Developing a concrete project plan can be simple and easy for any project manager, but also complex and drawn out depending on the nature of the project. Not having a project plan will only lead to failure because there would be no clarity on business objectives or roles and responsibilities which form the crux of any project execution, monitoring, and control. 

Drafting a project plan involves exhaustive mapping and categorization of project objectives, schedules, activities, and resources to ensure things fall in the right place while executing the project. It is also imperative to note that projects have a larger impact on the organization as a whole. When planned thoroughly, projects engage efficiencies, save resources, reduce costs, improve ethos, and contribute to a positive environment. Project management in any organization always commences with project planning - if planning is focused and precise, the organization stands to gain wins with the project's success. Ace your career with world class courses and training from the experts - find out from our catalogue of KnowledgeHut’s courses for Project Managers today. 

Frequently Asked Questions

The project manager is responsible for the project. They are the key personnel who plan the project, gather resources, align and manage activities, resources, and tasks throughout the project lifecycle. 

Project planning in project management helps identify activities, sequence them, create schedules, align milestones and most importantly identify and assess risks thereby helping in flagging items early in the cycle and minimize impact of risks or driving mitigation strategies to address risks. 

Project cost is an important component in the iron triangle of project management and project cost planning involves estimating, allocating and controlling project costs. Budgets planned and approved in project cost planning only can be used during project execution. 

Profile

Rohit Arjun Sambhwani

Rohit Arjun Sambhwani is an IT professional having over a decade and half of experience in various roles, domains & organizations, currently playing a leading role with a premier IT services organization. He is a post graduate in Information Technology and enjoys his free time learning new topics, project management, agile coaching, and writing apart from playing with his naughty little one Aryan

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project planning manager

Mission Statement

Guide land use and development consistent with the General Plan, Building Codes, and related regulations, by providing accurate, timely, and courteous professional and technical services to our customers, to maintain the County's unique quality of life, protect public safety and the environment and to promote economic vitality for current and future generations.

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Projects In Your Area

General Plan Safety Element Update – Planning Commission Hearing

A Planning Commission hearing is scheduled for Thursday, May 9, 2024 at 8:30 a.m. to consider an Amendment to the County’s General Plan to incorporate the Safety Element Update. Below are links to the relevant hearing materials.

Agenda (PDF, 105KB)

Safety Element Update - Legistar Item

Single Source Solutions CCUP21-004 Video (posted 4/24/2024)

Urgency ordinance 5192 - interim moratorium on new tobacco retailer applications.

  • Written Report (PDF, 178KB) pursuant to California Government Code 65858(d) published ten (10) days prior to Interim Ordinance expiration.
  • Executed Urgency Ordinance 5192 (PDF, 2MB)

Planning and Building Department Quarterly Reports

  • October through December 2023 (2nd Quarter FY 23/24) (PDF, 2MB)
  • July through September 2023: (1st Quarter FY 23/24 (PDF, 1MB) )
  • April through June 2023: (4th Quarter FY 22/23) (PDF, 3MB)
  • January through March 2023 (PDF, 3MB)

Community for Health and Independence (PA23-0015)

Pre-application Materials :

  • Project Narrative (PDF, 4MB)
  • Maps (PDF, 393KB)
  • Application (PDF, 5MB)

Updated Fee Schedule

  • Ordinance 5185 Adopting Schedules of Fees and Charges for Services for Building and Planning (PDF, 3MB)
  • Resolution 164-2023 Establishing Planning and Building Department Fee Policies and Procedures (PDF, 2MB)

El Dorado County Executed Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Stations - New

  • Executed Ordinance 5165 AB 1236 (PDF, 2MB)
  • EV Commercial Checklist (PDF, 177KB)
  • EV Residential Checklist (PDF, 399KB)
  • Plug-in Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Readiness
  • California Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development FAQs

Urgency Ordinance 5172, Chapter 130.69.A of the El Dorado County Code, was executed by the Board of Supervisors on January 3, 2023, addressing temporary emergency housing, resiliency, and rebuilding after the 2022 Mosquito Fire.

  • Executed Ordinance 5172 Chapter 130.69.A (PDF, 340KB)

Urgency Ordinance 5163, Chapter 130.69 of the El Dorado County Code, was executed by the Board of Supervisors on August 23, 2022, amending the fee waiver eligibility criteria for permit fees charged by both the Planning and Building Department and Environmental Management Department.

  • Executed Ordinance 5163, Chapter 130.69 (PDF, 562KB)

Urgency Ordinance 5150, Chapter 130.69 of the El Dorado County Code, was executed by the Board of Supervisors on September 10, 2021, addressing temporary emergency housing, resiliency, and rebuilding after the 2021 Caldor Fire.

  • Executed Ordinance 5150, Chapter 130.69 (PDF, 944KB)

Writ of Mandate from the Superior Court of the State of California

Discharge of Writ of Mandate (PDF, 246KB) : On May 5, 2023, the El Dorado County Superior Court released an order discharging the Writ of Mandate allowing the County to process and approve construction and Oak Resource removal permits within the Important Biological Corridor (IBC).

Partial Stay of the Enforcement of the Judgment and Writ (PDF, 287KB) : The partial stay of the enforcement of the Judgment and Writ allows the County to process and approve construction permits which would not result in (a) removal of oak trees or (b) removal or impact to oak woodlands within the area of the mapped Important Biological Corridors (IBC) as depicted on the map attached as Exhibit A to the Writ.

Executed Writ of Mandate (PDF, 2MB) : The executed Writ of Mandate suspends approval of construction and Oak Woodland removal permits in the Highway 50 corridor, defined as the mapped Important Biological Corridors (IBC) running north to south of Highway 50.

Important Biological Corridor Map (PDF, 1MB) (Printable) (PDF, 1MB)

Important Biological Corridor Map (Interactive)

Temporary Recreational Vehicle Ordinance Code 5136

The Temporary Recreational Vehicle Ordinance (PDF, 584KB) allows for the limited use of a recreational vehicle as temporary housing for hardship purposes.

Announcements

Texas hill notice of preparation of a draft environmental impact report.

Texas Hill Notice of Preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Report (PDF, 6MB)

Marble Valley Specific Plan Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR)

Marble Valley Specific Plan Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) (PDF, 86MB)

Marble Valley Specific Plan Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) Appendices A-N (PDF, 114MB)

Marble Valley Specific Plan Notice of Availability (NOA) of the Draft Environmental Impact Report (PDF, 681KB)

Gateway/Carson Creek R&D Project Site

Location: Golden Foothill Pkwy and Latrobe Rd

Building Permits

  • Status: ISSUED under construction.
  • Permit #0361781 (Building 113) is a 78,509 square foot shell building.  
  • Status: REVISION under construction
  • Permit #0368469 (Building 102), is about 4,857 square foot shell building 
  • Status: SUBMITTED
  • Building Permit #0368470, is for(Building 103) is about 6,171 square foot shell building 
  • Grading Permit #0367354 is for export grading over four (4) parcels. 
  • Status: ISSUED
  • Grading Permit #0369859, grading for Buildings 102, 103, and 104 
  • (Building permit for Building 104 is planned, but no permit has been submitted at this time.)

Planning Entitlements

P22-0009 is an application for a Tentative Parcel Map to divide four parcels totaling 64.22 acres into fourteen parcels. No buildings or zone changes are proposed at this time within the P22-0009 project area. 

Carson Creek R-D FAQs (PDF, 145KB)

El Dorado County CA Code of Ordinances (PDF, 575KB)

Generations at Green Valley Project (General Plan Amendment GPA22-0001, Rezone Z22-0001, Tentative Subdivision Map TM22-0001, Development Agreement DA24-0001)

Notice of Preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Report and Notice of Public Scoping Meetin (PDF, 2MB) g

Generations at Green Valley NOP Scoping Meeting Presentation (PDF, 2MB)

Cameron Meadows (Tentative Subdivision Map TM23-0003)

  • Notice of Preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Report and Notice of Public Scoping Meeting (PDF, 2MB)
  • Cameron Meadows NOP Scoping Meeting Presentation (PDF, 704KB)

Cameron-Meadows-NOP-Scoping-Meeting-Recording_TM23-0003.mp4

*** This application was withdrawn on 1/17/2024*** Central El Dorado Hills Specific Plan (General Plan Amendment A14-0003/Specific Plan SP12-0002/Rezone Z14-0005/Specific Plan Revision SP86-0002-R-2/Planned Development PD14-0004/Tentative Subdivision Map TM14-1516/Development Agreement DA14-0003)

  • Notice of Availability of a Third Partial Recirculated Draft Environmental Impact Report (RDEIR) (PDF, 261KB)
  • Central El Dorado Hills Specific Plan RDEIR (PDF, 21MB)

Safety Element Update

A Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission Joint Workshop is scheduled for Tuesday, November 14 to begin no earlier than 1pm,  BOS Agenda 11/14/2023 . Additional Information can be found on the Safety Element Update Website. Below is the Public Draft Safety Element and associated documents for public review:

  • Safety Element Cover Page (PDF, 143KB)
  • Public Draft Safety Element Update (PDF, 640KB)
  • Appendix A - List of Acronyms (PDF, 154KB)
  • Appendix B - Background Report (PDF, 5MB)
  • Appendix C - Final Draft Climate Vulnerability Assessment (PDF, 16MB)
  • Appendix D - Dam Inundation Maps (PDF, 2MB)

Town and Country Village (General Plan Amendment GPA22-0003, Specific Plan Revision SP-R21-0002, Planned Development PD21-0005, Rezone Z21-0013, Tentative Map TM22-0005, Conditional Use Permit CUP23-0008)

  • Notice of Preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) and Notice of Public Scoping Meeting (PDF, 5MB)

Public Review Draft Climate Vulnerability Assessment

  • El Dorado CVA Public Review Flyer - May 2, 2023 (PDF, 186KB)
  •   (PDF, 186KB) El Dorado CVA Public Review Press Release - May 2, 2023 (PDF, 80KB)
  •   (PDF, 80KB) El Dorado CVA Public Review Draft - May 2, 2023 (PDF, 16MB)

Higginbotham Two Phase Commercial Development, Cool Gas Station (Design Review, DR22-0007)

  • Application Packet, DR22-0007 (PDF, 5MB)
  • Architectural Site Plan. A-1.0 (PDF, 877KB)
  • Architectural Site Plan (PDF, 893KB)
  • A1.1. Exterior Elevations - Carwash (PDF, 535KB)
  • Hwy 49 & Georgetown Rd site plans (PDF, 8MB)
  • Sign Reference (PDF, 578KB)
  • DR22-0007 Vicinity Map (PDF, 168KB)

Notice of Availability of an Addendum to the Final Program Environmental Impact Report for the Targeted General Plan Amendment/Zoning Ordinance Update (OR23-0001)

  • Notice of Availability of an Addendum to the Final Program Environmental Impact Report Public Review Period (FEIR) (PDF, 311KB)

Creekside Plaza Arco Gas Station (Conditional Use Permit CUP21-0004, Planned Development Revision PD-R21-0002)

  • Notice of Preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Report(DEIR) and Notice of Public Scoping Meeting (PDF, 1MB)

EDH 52 Mixed Use Development (Planned Development PD15-0001/Rezone Z17-0004/Tentative Parcel Map P17-0007/Conditional Use Permit Revision CUP-R21-0024/Lot Line Adjustment LLA21-0009)

Revisions in Process as of January 2024

Notice of Preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) and Notice of Public Scoping Meeting (PDF, 2MB) , submitted 2015

  • Corrected Notice of Public Scoping Meeting (PDF, 26KB)
  • Notice of Direct Dial Information for Public Scoping Meeting (PDF, 209KB)

Dorado Oaks Tentative Subdivision Map Project (Rezone Z19-0005/Tentative Subdivision Map TM18-1538/Planned Development PD19-0005/Development Agreement DA20-0002)

  • Dorado Oaks Tentative Subdivision Map Project DEIR (PDF, 13MB)
  • Dorado Oaks Tentative Subdivision Map Project DEIR Appendices A-I (PDF, 175MB)
  • Dorado Oaks Extended Review (PDF, 138KB)

Central El Dorado Hills Specific Plan (General Plan Amendment A14-0003/Specific Plan SP12-0002/Rezone Z14-0005/Specific Plan Revision SP86-0002-R/Planned Development PD14-0004/Tentative Subdivision Map TM14-1516/Development Agreement DA14-0003)

A hearing for the Planning Commission to consider the Central El Dorado Hills Specific Plan (CEDHSP) was held on April 28, 2022. At that meeting, the Planning Commission continued the hearing for this item to June 9, 2022.

The agenda for the June 9, 2022, Planning Commission meeting will be  available prior to the hearing on Legistar .

The meeting will be live-streamed via Zoom. Participation by Zoom will be available and is encouraged since seating will be limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Information for participating by Zoom will be included in the agenda when posted. Project documents are available at the link below.  Additional project documents and the hearing agenda are available in Legistar .

  • View Project Information and Documents

Creekside Village Specific Plan Project (General Plan Amendment GPA20-0001/Rezone Z20-0005/Specific Plan SP20-0001/Tentative Map TM20-0002)

  • Notice of Preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Report (PDF, 7MB)
  • Zoning Ordinance – Major Amendments to Title 130 :  Ordinance No. 5127 (PDF, 11MB)  adopted by the Board of Supervisors September 1, 2020 (Effective October 1, 2020)
  • Subdivisions Ordinance – Amendments to Title 120 :  Ordinance No. 5128 (PDF, 4MB)  adopted by the Board of Supervisors September 1, 2020 (Effective October 1, 2020)
  • Zoning Ordinance – Update to Chapter 130.41 : (Commercial Cannabis Fingerprinting Amendment allows more discretion to the Sheriff's Office when requiring fingerprinting, for any owners having a share of 5 percent or less of a commercial cannabis business) -  Ordinance No. 5123 (PDF, 986KB)  adopted by the Board of Supervisors June 9th, 2020 (Effective July 10th, 2020)
  • Zoning Ordinance – Update to Chapter 130.42 (Cultivation of Cannabis for Personal Use) :  Ordinance No. 5122 (PDF, 840KB)  adopted by the Board of Supervisors May 5th, 2020 (Effective May 5th, 2020)
  • Zoning Ordinance – Update to Chapter 130.41 (Commercial Cannabis) :  Ordinance No. 5124 (PDF, 645KB)  adopted by the Board of Supervisors May 12th, 2020 (Effective June 11th, 2020)
  • 2004 El Dorado County General Plan-Update to Chapter 10-Economic Development Element :  Resolution No. 216-2019 (PDF, 112KB)  adopted by the Board of Supervisors December 10, 2019
  • Ordinance 5109 (Measure N-Permitting & Enforcement) (PDF, 530KB)
  • Ordinance 5110 (Measures P & Q-Outdoor Uses) (PDF, 279KB)
  • Ordinance 5111 (Measures R & S-Indoor Uses) (PDF, 329KB)
  • Ordinance 5112 (Matrix of Allowed Uses) (PDF, 160KB)
  • 08:00 AM–11:00 AM
  • 01:00 PM–03:00 PM
  • 09:00 AM–11:00 AM

Before 11:00am: Walk-Ins After 1:00pm: Appointments Schedule an appointment online or call 530-621-5355. We are closed daily for lunch 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM

Additional Contact

Do you need help with a permit or planning issue? Comments? Feedback? Contact the Planning and Building Services liaison .

El Dorado County Planning and Building Department Organizational Chart (PDF, 133KB)

Popular Links

Applications and Forms

Frequently Asked Questions

Assembly Bill No. 1483 and Assembly Bill No. 602

Cannabis Information

County Internet Speed Test Campaign

COVID-19 Information

Director's Interpretations

Disaster Recovery

Oak Resources

On-Call Planning Services Consultants (PDF, 383KB)  

Parcel Data  

Project Information (eTRAKiT)

Vacation Home Rental Information

Vegetation Management and Defensible Space

Zoning Ordinance (PDF, 5MB) (Amended 3/28/2024)

Municode Zoning Ordinance

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  • The Workstream
  • Project management
  • Process Flow Chart

Process flow chart: what it is & how to create one

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Keeping your business organized can be a tall order — especially as it grows. Process flow charts are one way to organize business processes by visualizing the steps of a process or workflow . As you dive deeper into the individual steps of a process, you can discover opportunities to improve teamwork and productivity.

Visualizing processes with a flowchart can help you organize important details and improve your operations. As you develop your process flow chart, you can discover non-value-added processes and optimize your workflow.

In this guide, we’ll discuss what a process flow chart is and how you can create one for your business. Keep reading to learn more.

What is a process flow chart?

Process flow charts are a way of visually organizing your workflow. They use different shapes connected by lines, each representing an individual step.

A process flow chart aids in project management by helping you outline and visualize your workflows. An example could be a chart showing how you process and fulfill customer orders from the moment an order is placed to delivery.

Importance of process flow charts

Visualizing your workflow allows you to understand your project scope better so you can plan your project based on your goals and deadlines.

Having a clear visual representation of your processes helps improve teamwork and keep everyone on the same page. This way, everyone can understand your business processes from start to finish and the role they play in those processes.

Creating a flow process chart can improve productivity by weeding out non-value-added activities. You have ample room to grow and improve if you’re not wasting precious time on unnecessary steps.

Types of flow charts

There are several types of flow charts, each serving a different purpose. You can learn more about some of the different flow charts below:

  • Basic flow chart: Simple flow charts are ideal for visualizing basic steps without many complexities or details.
  • System flow chart: System flow charts show how every part of a system interacts with the other parts.
  • Workflow diagram: Workflow diagrams visualize steps or processes required to complete a project, which can help you minimize waste.
  • Data flow chart: Data flow charts show how data moves throughout your system and other connected systems.
  • Decision flow chart: These flow charts play a vital role in the decision-making process , answering simple questions to arrive at a final decision.
  • Swimlane flow chart: Swimlane flow charts allow you to visualize who’s responsible for each part of a process or project, whether that’s an individual or a group.

Components of a process flow chart

Process flow charts have a few key symbols used to contextualize the information in the chart. Different symbols are used for different steps within a process flow chart with connecting lines in between.

Different shapes and symbols—including diamonds and rectangles—are used for each process or step, with lines connecting the symbols. Different types of lines denote the beginning and end of the flow chart, and directional arrows indicate the flow direction of the chart.

Visualizing information with flow charts can play a crucial role in project planning , and it’s easy once you understand what the symbols represent.

Steps to create a process flow chart

Creating a process flow chart isn’t rocket science, but there are some basic guidelines you need to follow. Below is a step-by-step guide to help you create your next process flow chart.

Identify the process

Start by clearly defining the process or workflow you’re going to outline. Choosing which projects to visualize and optimize is critical to strategic planning . Once you have a good idea of what you want your flow chart to represent, you can start building it out.

Define boundaries

When it comes to process flow charts for businesses, you can always add more details or break a process down further by adding more steps. However, when creating a flow chart, you only want to include the necessary details.

Figure out the scope and boundaries of your flow chart before you start fleshing it out. That way, you’ll avoid wasting time adding information that complicates the main objective. Details are good, but you don’t want to go overboard.

Gather information

This is where knowledge sharing comes into play. Now, it’s time to collect detailed information about the steps, inputs, and outputs contributing to the process. Ensure you track the process from start to finish to avoid missing crucial steps.

Identify the sequence of steps

Now that you know the steps involved in the process you’re outlining, you can put them in the correct sequence to start organizing your flow chart. Your flow chart should move in one consistent direction from beginning to end, with each step bringing you closer to completing the process.

Draw the flow chart

With process flow charts, the individual steps only tell part of the story—you need to connect them to tell the whole story. Complete your flow chart by using symbols and connectors to connect individual steps and create an accurate visual representation of the process from start to finish.

Review and revise

Once you’ve organized and drawn everything out, review your flow chart to ensure it’s accurate, complete, and clear. If there are any issues, you can revise your flow chart.

Reviewing and revising is a never-ending battle. Even after completing a flow chart, you must review and update it regularly to ensure accuracy. Make sure to reflect any changes in your flow charts as they occur.

Uses of process flow charts

A good process flow chart can provide several benefits for businesses. Here are some of the common uses of process flow charts:

  • Process improvement: Visualizing processes helps you understand how to optimize them, saving you time and money.
  • Training and onboarding: When you clearly understand your training and onboarding process, you can streamline it and ensure everyone receives the same training.
  • Communication: Flow charts can help you identify communication gaps in different project stages to keep everyone on the same page.
  • Documentation: Using visuals helps everyone follow documentation best practices — from project documentation to team documentation.
  • Compliance and quality assurance: Creating a step-by-step visual representation of a process helps you identify potential compliance or quality assurance issues before it’s too late.

Best practices for creating effective process flow charts

An effective flow chart can help you optimize business processes and improve productivity and project collaboration . Here are some guidelines to follow to ensure you’re doing it right.

Keep your process flow chart simple. Focus on adding key steps and information only.

Using consistent symbols and connecting lines adds clarity to your process flow charts, making it easier to collaborate with your team and boost productivity. You can even involve stakeholders in the process.

Once your flow chart is complete, there’s still work to do. Updating and maintaining flow charts helps you keep a constant visualization of the processes that your business relies on.

Create process flow charts with Confluence Whiteboards

Process flow charts can offer several benefits for businesses, improving productivity and teamwork while eliminating unnecessary steps. With Confluence Whiteboards, you can visualize and turn ideas into tasks.

Confluence brings everyone together in a connected workspace to move projects forward. Teams can create, edit, and share project plans in a connected workspace so everyone is on the same page.

Confluence flow chart templates make it easy to create effective flow charts quickly, plus you can convert stickies into Jira issues with a few clicks.

Use Confluence Whiteboards to visualize your workflow and optimize your business with process flow charts.

Process flow chart: Frequently Asked Questions

What is an example of a process flow chart.

A great process flow chart example is product delivery. You can use a process flow chart to visualize the delivery of a product from the moment the customer contacts you to the moment you finish the job. The first step may be the customer contacting you (or vice versa), eventually leading to the point where you fulfill the order, and the customer receives an email letting them know their order arrived.

You can use process flow charts for almost anything, including manufacturing, service delivery, product delivery, and project management processes.

What tools can you use to create process flow charts?

Confluence allows you to create process flow charts that visualize your business processes accurately. Confluence is easy to use, and you can start with a flow chart template so you don’t have to do all the work. Once you’ve chosen a template, you can add individual steps and symbols to clarify the chart. Confluence also integrates seamlessly with Jira and various third-party tools.

How often should process flow charts be updated?

If you modify a workflow or process outlined in a flow chart, update the chart accordingly. Flow charts don’t provide much value if they’re inaccurate, and you probably add or remove steps from various processes and workflows more than you think. You should regularly review and update your process flow charts to ensure they continuously add value to your business.

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First open house on Civic Center future shows high interest, high stakes of the project

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The first fully public meetings on the Savannah Civic Center’s future took place Tuesday night, and a crowd of about 150 people attended. And while participants buzzed with conversation, City Manager Jay Melder reminded them of the weight of their duty. He called the ultimate decision of what to do with the Civic Center site a “one in a 100 years opportunity.” It’s also one the city has dubbed a “civic legacy” project.

"I really wanted to ensure that you've heard from me tonight, to know we understand the gravity of the decision that we have," Melder said.

After hearing the Sottile & Sottile presentation also given to stakeholders last month, those 150 filtered through three stations and provided feedback on sticky notes while asking questions and discussing the array of options for the site. Questions surfaced about parking, the future of the Johnny Mercer Theatre and the potential for housing on the site. The flurry of notes will be used and reviewed by city staff to gauge public input.  

The three stations were posted with large printouts of portions of Sottile’s presentation and other portions of work done in partnership with the city, including a cultural landscape analysis and acoustics report for the Mercer Theatre conducted by Paul Scarbrough . The “facility” station featured diagrams from Scarborough’s report that showed a potential renovation style for the theatre.

The “future” station featured blueprints directly from Sottile’s presentation that showed the numerous blocks of the Oglethorpe Plan that could be opened up by tearing down the Martin Luther King Jr. Arena. It also showed the location of a potential city office building that has long been floated as a possibility. At one point of the evening, a few at the station expressed concerns about parking. Various sticky notes left by attendees also signaled opposition to an office building on the site.

At one portion of the evening, Susan Myers, a local realtor who remembers when the Civic Center facility was first built, discussed potential challenges with building housing on the site if the Mercer Theatre is retained and renovated. It would be a tougher sale for residences that would back up to the entrance of the theater, Myers said.

Ultimately, Myers said she would like to see the entire complex demolished and Elbert Square restored. The land could be sold and tax revenues used to build a new theater, Myers said.

"It would be very easy to sell," Myers said.

Such was the vision of the 2019 Urban Land Institute report commissioned and unanimously approved by a previous city council. One of those council members was John Hall, who attended Tuesday’s open house. The most recent city council administration took a different route than the ULI report by informally endorsing the Sottile plan in 2022 for further study.

Hall said he is still a proponent of the ULI plan. When asked about his thoughts on the change of direction, he said the most important thing now is to just make a decision on the future of the site. "We need to just bite the bullet and do something with this property. I'd like to see it develop in my lifetime."

However, support for razing the entire complex and restoring the full Oglethorpe Plan was not the only path with support. Sticky notes across the room featured comments that supported the Mercer Theatre’s restoration. During the previous stakeholder meetings, arts groups showed strong support for the theater. Many of its proponents cite the need for a performance space of its size.

Mayor Van Johnson has said the current slate of public input is about deciding which of three doors to go through: keeping the entire complex and maintaining it, demolishing the entire complex, and demolishing the arena while keeping the theater. The city is now two input meetings into its process without having cost estimates on any of those three options publicly available.

City staff is currently working on those estimates, which will be made public once vetted by the city manager, according to City of Savannah spokesman Josh Peacock. The expected timeline for those numbersis the end of the month, which is the same timeframe Johnson has targeted for a vote on the path forward.

Johnson said at a recent press conference that costs are not top of mind for most residents. The city has multiple options for non-general revenue funds, such as enterprise funds or the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, to be able to "move in whatever direction" the city needs to once a decision is made.

Johnson said, “I don't think for residents the cost is really the option; we are going to be able to build it."

A virtual public hearing will be held 6 p.m., May 16.

Evan Lasseter is the city and county government reporter for the Savannah Morning News. You can reach him at [email protected].

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Office of information technology, success stories, transforming license management: the success story of cu denver's adobe licensing project.

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The Adobe Licensing Project, managed by the Office of Information Technology (OIT) Project Management Office at CU Denver, epitomizes a success in navigating challenges to enhance university operations. Originating from the impending expiration of CU Denver's Adobe licensing contract, the project embarked on a mission to secure a new agreement aligning with institutional requirements while achieving significant cost savings.

Throughout the negotiation process, OIT provided focused effort during contract renegotiation, culminating in a new agreement that delivered substantial financial benefits to the university. Despite encountering technical hurdles, particularly in devising novel registration and payment protocols, the project team adeptly crafted user-friendly processes for license acquisition and payment facilitation. Concurrently, a tailored chargeback system and streamlined procedures were established to cater to departmental needs and licensing in lab environments.

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A key aspect of the project's success was the emphasis on effective communication and collaboration strategies. The communications team ensured successful transitions for end-users and mitigated potential issues with data integrity during the migration. Collaboration emerged as a cornerstone of the project between cross-divisional teams within CU Denver and CU Anschutz OIT, and with the outstanding support of departmental IT administrators to ensure license access for faculty and staff, and for the student laboratories. Finally, the project delivered an ongoing licensing management plan, establishing a defined foundation for managing the CU Denver Adobe licensing program and negotiating future Adobe licensing contracts.

In summation, the Adobe Licensing Project underscores the significance of progressive planning, collaborative teamwork, and effective communication in driving successful organizational initiatives. Through meticulous execution and dedication, the project team delivered tangible benefits to CU Denver, exemplifying a model of excellence in project management and institutional stewardship.

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Download this free project plan template for Word to scope your work and break it down into manageable components; then schedule and assign the tasks needed to complete your project.

You can also use this project management plan template to manage workloads and tasks as changes occur. A project plan is the foundation of the work you do to lead a project to successful completion.

Once everything is sorted on the Word doc, open ProjectManager’s free project plan template. It lets you build a dynamic project plan that can be managed in five different project views: Gantt chart, task list, kanban board, calendar and spreadsheet. Plus, your team can collaborate on the project in real time and track progress along the way with dashboards and instant status reports. Get started for free with ProjectManager and build a better project plan.

Free project plan template

What Is a Project Plan Template?

A project plan template is a document that compiles all the guidelines and procedures the project management team needs to execute a project. Project plan templates allow project managers to save time during the project planning phase and also help them ensure nothing slips through the cracks.

How to Use This Project Plan Template

Project planning starts with a thorough project plan document. Follow these planning steps to ensure that your project plan covers all project aspects. This means you’ll be less likely to run into surprises.

1. Planning Basis

Project scope.

Begin with the project scope. What activities and tasks as defined in your project must be completed to make the project a success? Use the project charter as a springboard. You can also use a work breakdown structure to identify all the activities, tasks, deliverables and milestones of your project.

Project Milestones

Based on your project charter or work breakdown structure, note the milestones or major events or phases in your project, and collect them in a chart with three columns for the milestone, a description and its delivery date. Examples of milestones are when the business case is approved when the project team is appointed or the project management office is established.

Project Management Phases

The next step is detailing the phases of the project, which is defined as a set of activities, such as the project’s initiation, planning, execution, monitoring and closure. These should also be noted in a chart with the phase followed by a description of it and its sequence.

Project Tasks

You need to note the tasks that are necessary to complete the project, too. There are many project tasks such as developing a quality plan, formulating supplier contracts and performing project closure. Write them out in a chart listing the phase, activity, description and sequence.

Effort & Resource Requirements

This leads to the effort likely needed to complete the above tasks. List the task with the amount of time you believe necessary to finish the task. This in turn goes hand in glove with resources, so you want to take the task and attach a resource or team member to it. This is the person responsible for completing the task.

2. Project Plan

Project schedule.

Now you’re ready to create a project schedule from the summary above. Use the phases and activities to create a Gantt chart to easily visualize the project timeline, the work needed and its duration.

Task Dependencies

You want to add the dependencies, or tasks that are linked to others and can potentially block team members if not done in a timely and sequential manner. In fact, there are four types of task dependencies: finish-to-start, finish-to-finish, start-to-start and start-to-finish. List the key dependencies in a chart with the activity, what it depends on and the type of dependency.

Project Assumptions and Constraints

List any assumptions you have about the project. Then note the project constraints. Finally, in an appendix, you’ll want to attach the supporting documentation, such as the project schedule, business case, feasibility study, project charter, etc.

3. Budget, Risk and Change Management

Project budget.

The project budget is one of the most critical components of any project plan. That’s because the project budget determines the amount of money available for your project. Therefore, you need to be very careful when creating yours.

First, gather your project tasks, identify the resource requirements for each and lastly estimate their costs. Once you have the costs for each project task, you can add them to get your estimated project cost value. That value will be your cost baseline and the base for your project budget.

Every project plan needs a risk management section. Our project plan template has a risk log so you can list the potential risks that could affect your project plan. From there you can develop your risk mitigation strategies and assign risk owners.

Change Management Process

Every project plan needs to be changed during the execution phase for several reasons. For example, new project requirements might arise and cause changes to the original plan. As a project manager, you must oversee how changes are made to your project. Our change management log helps you keep track of any changes made to your project plan.

4. Appendix

Each project management plan is unique, and its components might vary depending on the requirements of your project. These are the most commonly used documents:

  • Project Budget Template
  • Change Request Template
  • Change Order Template
  • Scope Management Plan
  • Cost Management Plan
  • Risk Management Plan

Why You Need a Project Plan Template

Now that you’ve downloaded the free project plan template, you are ready to get your project on track to a successful completion! The project plan is crucial, as it is the fundamental project planning document from which your project is formally managed.

The project plan is made up of goals, activities, tasks and resources needed to complete the project as outlined in the project business case and the project charter. You want to have a description of the major phases of the project, a schedule of activities, tasks and their duration, dependencies, resources, timeframes, etc. Then list the assumptions and constraints in the project planning process.

When you’re creating a project management plan, follow these steps: note the project scope, identify milestones and tasks, estimate costs, quantify the effort required, allocate the resources, make a schedule , list dependencies and document it for approval. Your project management plan template needs to incorporate components such as the scope management plan, cost management plan and schedule management plan, among others.

A Project Plan Template, showing the first steps in the form-fillable project management plan template document

While the business case from earlier in the project planning process may offer a general project view, the project plan goes into greater detail once the project scope and charter are formalized and a team is hired. Although you write the project plan during the project planning phase, it doesn’t stay in a drawer once complete. This project plan template should be considered a living document that’ll be revisited and referred to throughout the project life cycle. This is because the project management plan is a roadmap that project managers use during the execution phase when they need information about the project schedule, costs, scope and budget.

Once your document is finalized, it’s time to build a dynamic project plan and schedule. Project planning software can help you transfer your project plan onto a Gantt chart so you can create a timeline, schedule work, design phases, attach documents and track progress along the way. Then share the plan with your team, who can use multiple project views, such as the task list, sheet, calendar and kanban board.

ProjectManager's kanban view

When Do I Use the Project Plan Template?

The project management life cycle is made up of five phases: the initiation phase, the planning phase, the execution phase, the monitoring and the closure phase. Planning comes in after you’ve initiated the project but before it’s executed.

For example, during the initiation phase, there are many documents that are created to set up the project plan, such as a feasibility study to identify the problem you want to solve, the scope of the project and the deliverables you want. This feeds into the business case , which compares costs versus benefits. The statement of work (SOW) looks at the project goals, objectives, scope and deliverables.

These don’t constitute a project plan, but they do lay the foundation on which you’ll build your plan. This is when you take the broad strokes from the initiation phase and break it down into smaller, more manageable tasks. Each of these tasks must be achieved within the project timeframe.

Who Uses the Project Plan Template?

It’s important to note that the project manager is tasked with the ownership of creating the project plan, but work isn’t done in isolation. The project manager must work in congress with the team, experts and others who can provide insight and guidance into developing a realistic project management plan.

Teams are assembled for their skills and experience working on such projects, so it makes sense that you need ideas on how to plan the project. Of course, the team will have access to the project plan throughout the execution phase of the project. They’ll be assigned tasks and be responsible for delivering them on time and within budget.

Others who will use the project plan include stakeholders and executives, or anyone with a vested interest in the successful outcome of the project. The project manager will present to these groups throughout the project life cycle to keep them abreast of progress and ensure that actual progress matches what’s been outlined in the project plan.

Free Project Management Templates

There are dozens of free project management templates for Word and Excel available on our site. Some of them are useful during the project planning process. Here are a few that can help build your project plan.

Action Plan Template

Your project plan has to align with a larger strategy which is outlined in an action plan. The free action plan template provides you with a space to lay out the needed steps and concrete tasks to reach your project goal. The action plan gives you a frame in which to capture the main thrust of the project to help you prioritize tasks in your plan.

Gantt Chart Template

The Gantt chart is the workhorse of project management planning. It’s a visual tool that organizes your tasks on a timeline . It helps you prioritize and set durations for each task, shows phases and breaks up larger projects into more manageable phases.

WBS Template

Another key tool when building your project schedule is the work breakdown structure (WBS). This is a technique for working backward from your final deliverable to outline each step that gets you there. It’s a thorough way to make sure you don’t miss any puzzle pieces of your larger project. This project management template takes you through that process.

Related Content

Now that you’ve downloaded your free project management plan template and it reflects your project plan, you’re ready for the job at hand. But, whether you’re a project management journeyman or apprentice, you never want to stay complacent. Industries and businesses don’t stand still, and you have to do your best to stay up-to-date on new trends.

There are many free project management templates and topics of discussion on ProjectManager that can be easily filtered to bring you the content that’s most relevant to your interests. Subjects include, but aren’t limited to, project management software, scheduling, risk and task management, collaboration, time tracking, Gantt charts, reporting and, of course, planning.

As the subject at hand is planning, we’ve compiled three of the most recent and relevant posts on project planning. Enjoy!

  • Project Documentation: 15 Essential Project Documents
  • How to Choose a Project Planner
  • How to Create a Program Management Plan
  • Agile Sprint Plan Template

Try ProjectManager Free for 30 Days

ProjectManager is a great project planning tool. It offers the features you need to plan, track and report on your project. There are online and interactive Gantt charts that take the pain out of having to build one manually.

The software is also online so it’s easy to access from anywhere and on any device. Better still, it makes sharing necessary documents and tasks easy, and both the project manager and team members can get automated notifications to streamline the reporting process.

Why not plan your next project on ProjectManager? Our project management software has been repeatedly ranked #1 on Gartner’s GetApp in its project management software category. ProjectManager has been helping businesses both big and small to lead their projects to success, including such innovative organizations as NASA.

Our project management software is big enough to handle the largest and most complex project planning challenges while being user-friendly and intuitive. There’s no learning curve or long and involved training involved, and a team of customer service reps is available to answer any question you may have. Sign up for a free 30-day trial today and start planning your projects online.

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