Planning is a hugely important part of project management. Without a comprehensive plan, you are much more likely to lose track of tasks and milestones throughout your project, which could result in missing the deadline for completing the project.
It’s not enough to just plan everything in your head. Recording all the aspects of your plan will help you to keep track of it and share it with your team so that everyone knows what they need to be working on and when.
To help get your project management planning phase in order, here are some of the key documents that you might need to include to aid the success of your project.
If you need to gain buy-in or approval from your director, stakeholders, or investors, then you will need to justify the undertaking of this project. Your business case document should outline details of the project, such as what problem needs solving and how the result of this project will solve it. It should also cover the finances related to the project, especially if you need to gain financial buy-in.
Once your project has been approved, you can move onto the project charter. This document should go into more detail about the information included in the business case. It should cover the goal of the project and what problem it is solving, an overview of what work will be completed, a timeline and milestones for its completion, the level of investment required to complete it successfully, and what criteria need to be met in order to consider the project a success.
Again, the project plan goes into even more detail based on the information contained in the project charter. The project manager should use these details to implement a plan for how to tackle this project, including information on communications, procurement, deliverables, scope, risks, and more. Some project managers might prefer to split the project plan into lots of smaller documents for each of these categories. Choose whichever route suits you, your team, and the project best.
You and your team members need to know what will be completed, when, and by who. This is where a detailed project schedule comes in. The schedule should set out the planned start and completion dates for all the tasks, as well as any dependencies between different tasks. You may also use the project schedule to assign people to each task, or you might prefer to create a separate document outlining this, often referred to as a RACI Matrix.
During the project, it’s a good idea to monitor the progress and status of the work. This is helpful for you and your team to assess how much progress you’ve made and if any changes need to happen to stay on track. You can see if you’re still expected to meet your deadline and stay on budget. It is also an important document for your client, especially during long-term projects. They might require regular updates on your progress, in which case you can present them with your latest progress report.
Finally, upon completion of the project, it’s good practice to reflect on how it went. A project closure document should assess the delivered result of the project, whether it was on time and to budget, plus necessary information for whoever you are handing the project’s results over to on the client’s end. You can also assess any lessons you learned throughout the project to help you and your team perform better next time.
Every project is different, and yours might not necessarily need all the documents listed here, or it may need additional ones depending on the industry and scope, for example. The length of each document is also variable. One company might require a 50-page project charter, while another might only need a couple of pages. It’s important to include all the relevant information in each document without going over the top.
Do you need tools and support for your upcoming project? Find out how LogicalPlan can help you stay on top of everything project-related.