According to PMI, project planning is a procedure that involves the strategic management of the processes related to the project, generally known as “Knowledge Areas.” Consider project planning as the process of building the project’s navigation map which will guide you step-by-step through all the areas of interest, showing you the right path to a successful project.
The Project Planning Process
The project planning process is where every project begins, though it can actually occur multiple times throughout the life cycle of a project. During the planning process, PMs identify and define several project plan components that ultimately form a consistent, coherent document outlining all the necessary tasks of the project.
But what exactly are these key components of a project plan? Find out below.
Key Project Management Plan Components
Project plan components are a combination of the core and facilitating processes of a project.
What are core processes?
Core processes are usually interrelated and intertwined, and need to be performed in the same order on the majority of projects. In other words, they make up the “core” of what needs to be planned for or determined in order to get the project started.
Core processes include three essential procedures for developing the project plan:
- Planning and defining the scope: The first thing to do is to develop a clear scope statement as the project’s foundation. The whole project will be built upon this scope statement; after that, you can subdivide the major project objectives into clear and manageable deliverables.
- Developing the schedule: This includes identifying and cataloguing the activities that must be performed to produce the various project deliverables; analyzing the sequence of activities and documenting any interactivity dependencies; and estimating all the work periods needed and how long it will take to complete individual activities. It is also useful to design a Milestone List to help you evaluate the progress of a project.
- Resource planning: This includes the determination of resources (people, equipment, materials, etc.) and the quantities necessary to carry out the project activities, the development of a cost approximation of the resources required to complete the project and the cost budgeting and allocation of the overall cost estimation to individual work packages.
What are facilitating processes?
The facilitating processes are general interactions among the planning processes that are dependent on the nature of each project. Although these processes are performed intermittently and in no particular sequence during project planning and execution, they are not optional and include six additional components of a project plan:
- Quality planning: You should identify the quality standards relevant to the project and determine how to achieve them.
- Organizational planning – WBS (Work Breakdown Structure): Here, you should identify, document and assign project roles and responsibilities among the staff and set the reporting relations. The next step is Staff Acquisition, or assigning human resources. A useful tip is to form clear and manageable work packages that correspond to the individual work performed by each staff member and create a document that will serve as a reference point for managing project progress.
- Setting a communications plan: This involves configuring the information and communications needs of all the stakeholders (who needs what information, when will they need it and how they will get it).
- Risk management planning: This is one of the most important components of a project plan and decides the approach and plan for risk management in a project. In other words, it is the safety net of each project and involves the following processes: Identifying key risks likely to affect the project and documenting the characteristics of each, Performing a qualitative risk analysis of the project’s risks and conditions in order to prioritize their effects on the project objectives, running a quantitative risk analysis to measure the probability and impact of each of the risks and estimating their impact on the project’s objectives, and finally developing a risk response plan, building up a mechanism to strengthen contingencies and reduce any threats to the project’s objectives from risk.
- Procurement planning: This consists of defining what to procure, how much to procure and when.
- Solicitation planning: This means documenting product requirements and identifying potential sources.
All the project management plan components listed above are to be gathered together to form a cohesive and coherent document that includes all the phases of the life cycle of the project. Hence, it is essential to share this document with all the stakeholders of the project so they can read through it, communicate any unclear points, exchange opinions, negotiate and make all the necessary alterations before the project begins.
Once your project plan is complete, the document can be used to resolve issues and identify your progress as the project moves forward. In other words, a good plan is essential for delivering a successful project.
Planning is easy with the right tools
To find out how Clarizen’s project management software can make projects run more smoothly from planning to execution, schedule a live demo today.