Looking to create a project plan for your team?
Look no further!
No matter how complex your project is, we’ve got you covered!
In this article, we’ll help you craft a comprehensive project plan for better team collaboration. We’ll give you a step-by-step walkthrough of what you have to do. You’ll also get a few helpful project plan templates to get started with a model project plan right away.
Let’s get rolling…
What Is a Project Plan?
A project plan outlines the necessary steps to complete a project. It identifies the scope, deliverables, goals, and deadlines of your project.
Without a project plan, you won’t have clarity about:
- What the project is about.
- What the project objectives are.
- What the project deliverables are.
- What the project timeline is.
- Who will be working on each project and in what capacity.
- What resources are needed to complete the project.
A well-crafted project plan will save you tons of time and money. It’s the most reliable way to meet your project goals within deadlines.
Key Components of a Successful Project Plan
A good project plan always includes a recommended budget. It’s a simple way to keep your expenditure processes on track and keep the project profitable.
2. Detailed Work Tasks
Your project plan should include a work breakdown of every task and subtask associated with the project.
3. Project Schedule
A project plan must include a project schedule to keep your project running smoothly. You should map out the project timeline to ensure that you meet your deadlines.
4. Resource Management
Your project plan needs to take stock of the resources at your disposal in order to manage them effectively. These resources could be things like manpower, software, hardware or time.
5. Communication Systems
Your project plan must communicate your project objectives and expectations clearly. Moreover, there should be software and systems in place so that your project team can communicate easily.
6. Project Scope
A successful project plan outlines its scope clearly. It defines what it’s goals are and what falls under its purview. This helps you avoid scope creep – which can drastically slow your progress.
7. Project Outcomes
A project manager can use project plans to spell out the goals, milestones, and deliverables associated with each project stage.
How to Make an Awesome Project Plan
Successful project planning isn’t difficult, but it can be time-consuming if you aren’t clear about how to approach the planning process. To save you time, we’ve broken down the planning process into nine simple steps that you can easily follow.
Step 1: Do Your Research
Before creating a project plan, you need to go over all the available information. You need to understand what the client (internal or external) wants and what they want to achieve.
Go over all important documents and project-related communications thoroughly. This could be discussions you’ve had with the client, ideas you’ve jotted down, preliminary data you’ve collected – everything.
Using a Wiki or document management tool like ClickUp docs is the simplest way to keep all this information in an organized space.
It’s only when you have a thorough understanding of what you’ll be working on, will you be able to craft a model project plan for it.
Step 2: Ask Yourself the Right Questions
Once you have all your information in place, it’s time to start working on your project plan. Before starting a project, it’s always important to get comfortable with it.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What are the client’s requirements for this project?
- Is there anything else I need from the client and project stakeholders?
- Have we worked with a work breakdown structure like this before?
- What are the obvious roadblocks to this project’s progress?
- Do I have enough people to work on this project?
- What other challenges will I face during the project?
Addressing these questions early on reduces the chances of any unexpected issues popping up down the line. You’ve done your due diligence and are now prepared to start working on your project.
Step 3: Collaborate with Your Team
Most project managers don’t include their team in the entire project planning phase. The team is responsible for executing the plan, not strategizing it, right?
This results in major problems in your work breakdown structure.
As you never took your team’s opinion into account, they may have issues with certain project goals, deliverables or milestones. You’re now stuck with a project plan that doesn’t align with your team’s capabilities or aspirations. You can either start over and devise a new plan or proceed with the current plan that’s bound to overshoot deadlines or deliver short of your expectations.
Neither option is ideal.
Project managers can avoid this dilemma by bringing their team into the project planning process early on. For example, they might schedule in a kickoff meeting. It’s a simple step that can massively reduce the chances of your project overshooting budgets and end dates.
Step 4: Set Goals, Deliverables, and Priorities
Once you have your team together, you can start hashing out the project scope. Your project scope includes your goals, priorities and project deliverables.
Let’s look at each of these elements.
The first step in this process is deciding on project goals. Apart from major project targets such as project completion and launches, you must keep track of smaller goals too. These can include project goals related to:
- Software Mastery
- Teamwork and Collaboration
Remember, these smaller goals are vital in the grand scheme of things and will play a huge role in your project success. As your team has a clear idea of what they have to do, they can get cracking immediately.
Every goal set by a project manager should have a deliverable attached to it. It’s important to clearly define these deliverables to your team before they begin their project. This gives them a concrete idea of what’s expected of them and how they can progress.
Project deliverables don’t only have to be tangible items such as reports and files. For example, when working with software, developing a color scheme could be considered a deliverable.
All a deliverable has to do is showcase proof of a project progressing through a stage. Once you have these in place, your team can breeze through their work tasks.
Setting priorities for your project objectives is another important part of the project planning process. Attaching priorities to goals helps your team understand what tasks are important at a particular point in time.
For example, making sure that a signup form is capturing the data in your CRM is more important than figuring out the perfect color scheme of the form.
Step 5: Delegate
“If you really want to grow as an entrepreneur, you’ve got to learn to delegate.”
– Richard Branson, British entrepreneur
There’s an understandable temptation for a project manager to oversee every work process. They want it to progress smoothly and prevent hiccups, right?
The problem with that approach is that you’ll slow everything down. By making everything go through you, you’re creating massive bottlenecks in your team’s workflow.
Delegating is an essential part of project planning. You have to trust your team to get things done or you’ll never progress as a company.
Including your team in your planning process can be incredibly helpful here. As they know their capabilities, they’ll be better positioned to understand if they can manage a task. This will make the delegating process a collaborative effort where nobody is biting off more than they can chew.
Step 6: Schedule Your Project Plan on a Gantt Chart
After you’ve decided on goals, deliverables, and personnel, you can start charting out your project timeline on a Gantt chart.
Think Gantt charts are outdated?
Actually, they have evolved quite a bit! If you use ClickUp Gantt charts, you will discover how cool they can actually be!
This is a great way to give your team a visual overview of what’s to come. Your Gantt chart will contain each task, assignee and due date. All your team needs is one glance, and they’ll know what’s coming up next.
Gantt Charts are especially useful for charting milestones, which can act as check-in points for your team. It’s also a great tool to take stock of your task dependencies and manage your task priorities. In case you’re running short of time, you can always calculate a project’s critical path to identify the fastest way to get things done.
For more information on what a critical path is and how you calculate it in ClickUp, click here.
Step 7: Accept That Things Go Off-Schedule
While you can’t prepare for the unexpected, you can minimize the damage that it can cause to your project’s progress.
Always leave some breathing room in your project schedule to deal with project hiccups. No project is ever going to go exactly as planned – but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As long as you treat these twists and turns as a learning process and adapt, you’ll be fine.
Step 8: Keep Communicating with Your Team
It’s important to always have a direct line of communication with your team during a project. This gives them a channel to communicate any project updates or snags. You can easily take stock of your project status and recommend further courses of action.
Communication channels also help your team collaborate with one another. Often, project tasks involve multiple people and they’ll need to work together to get things done. Having a robust communication channel that can handle images, videos and files like ClickUp comments is a great way to keep your team working together beautifully.
Step 9: Conduct a Post-Project Review and Analysis
It’s important for project managers to conduct a post-project review. This will help you evaluate how effective your project plan was, and iron out any issues that popped up.
Get your team involved and let them express what they liked and disliked about the project setup. This is valuable feedback that’ll help you craft a more team-friendly plan in the future.
How ClickUp Can Help with Project Planning
While project planning can be a complex process, ClickUp can help you streamline it. It has everything you could ask for from project management software:
- Tasks and subtasks
- Gantt Charts
- Custom Statuses
- Custom Notifications
- Multiple Views – Kanban, List, Calendar, etc.
- Tons of integrations
And that’s just scratching the surface!
Here’s a closer look at how ClickUp can help you execute your project management plan with ease:
Project Planning Requirement #1: Creating an Ordered Project Space
One of the key elements of project planning is creating a project space that’s neat and ordered. Your team needs to have a clear-cut space to organize themselves and work on project activities together. Each project needs a space that includes:
- Detailed task descriptions
ClickUp Solution: Organized Project Hierarchy
ClickUp gives your team a structured space to organize all their project related activities. ClickUp’s structure goes as follows: Workplace > Space > Folders > Lists > Tasks > Subtasks.
Here’s a closer look at each of those levels:
Workplace: This is the top-level hierarchy where you break your company up into individual teams.
Spaces: These are places dedicated to particular subgroups in your team like “product management” or “testing.”
Folders: This is where you store project-related lists
Lists: This is where all your individual projects are listed.
Tasks: This is where most of the work happens. Each task has its own subtasks, detailed project descriptions, comments, and much more.
Subtasks: Each task can be broken down into separate subtasks.
Checklists: You can embed a checklist or to-do list within work tasks or subtasks. For example, you could have a quality control checklist in place for software testing.
Project Planning Requirement #2: Compiling Detailed Project Information
A model project plan gives your team access to all project-related information. This is vital because they can take stock of what they’re working with and help you strategize a plan to tackle a project.
ClickUp Solution: ClickUp Docs
ClickUp Docs is an in-built wiki tool for your business. You can use it as a knowledge base to store important company information and project-related documents. As these documents are stored alongside their relevant projects, your team will have no trouble accessing them.
Here are some Docs features that come in handy:
- ClickUp’s Docs can be as detailed as you want. You have access to rich text formatting options to create a project plan document that accurately reflects the task on hand.
- You can nest pages within documents to easily categorize information.
- You can customize access rights to each document to ensure that only certain people have editing and viewing rights.
- You can even let Google index your document to let it pop up in web searches.
With ClickUp Docs, you’ll have no problem creating a detailed body of information for your team to reference.
Project Planning Requirement #3: Collaborative Ideation
It’s important to include your team in the project planning phase. By including their inputs in your planning strategies, you’ll be able to craft a project management plan that aligns with their capabilities.
ClickUp Solution: Integrated Mind Maps
ClickUp’s mind maps let you include your team in your project planning phase. They’ll find it easy to put their thoughts down and chart out a plan that works best for themselves and the project.
As ClickUp’s mind maps are in-built, it’s easy to seamlessly transfer these ideas into your project space and get started on them!
Project Planning Requirement #4: Priorities and Dependencies
Your project management tool must support task priorities. This helps your team tackle the most important tasks first and get them out of the way.
Another important task is ensuring that your team attempts tasks in the right order. A good way to do this is by blocking tasks from being attempted until certain previous tasks are completed.
ClickUp Solution: Powerful Priorities and Dependencies
ClickUp comes equipped with task priorities and dependencies to ensure that your project always progresses smoothly. Here’s a closer look at each feature:
ClickUp lets you add priorities to each task to notify your team of what needs to be done first. These priorities also come equipped with a handy color-coded system for easy identification:
- Red: Urgent
- Yellow: High Priority
- Blue: Normal Priority
- Grey: Low Priority
As this color coding is standard across ClickUp, your team will have no problem identifying priority tasks irrespective of the project they’re working on. They also have the ability to filter and sort tasks by priority to make them easier to tackle.
ClickUp gives you loads of different dependencies to ensure that your team attempts activities in the right order. Here a look at what you get in ClickUp:
Waiting On Dependency: This notifies your project team that they shouldn’t start this task until a previous one is completed.
Blocking Dependency: This prevents a task from being started until a previous one is completed.
Dependency Warning: ClickUp will warn users against closing a task when it’s waiting on another one to be completed.
Unblocking Notifications: Your project team will receive notifications once a task is unblocked so that they can start working on it.
With ClickUp’s dependencies, you won’t have to worry about manually informing your team of the correct task order. ClickUp does it automatically for you!
Project Planning Requirement #5: Delegation
You’ll have to delegate tasks to different team members to ensure that your workload is evenly distributed. Your project management software must give you an effective way to distribute tasks and notify team members of what they have to do.
If you don’t have this, you’ll have to manually undertake this process; which can be impractical – especially when working with complex projects.
ClickUp Solution: Assigned Comments
ClickUp’s assigned comments feature makes it incredibly easy to assign a task to a team member. All you have to do is assign a comment to a person and it’ll be converted into a task.
ClickUp will also send them a notification of this so that it doesn’t go overlooked. They also have the ability to mark a comment as resolved when they’re done. This eliminates the need for a follow-up to see if they’ve completed it or not.
Project Planning Requirement #6: Gantt Chart Scheduling
Scheduling your project in a Gantt Chart is an incredibly important part of your planning process. It gives your project team a visual overview of what’s going on and lets you make quick scheduling changes. Without a Gantt Chart, you’ll have a tough time seeing the “bigger picture” and won’t be able to plan your tasks out as effectively.
ClickUp Solution: In-built Gantt Charts
ClickUp comes with powerful in-built Gantt charts to chart your team’s progress on a project easily. ClickUp’s Gantt charts can:
- Automatically readjust your task dependencies when you reschedule items.
- Calculate your project progress percentage based on tasks completed/total tasks.
- Compare expected vs current project progress.
- Calculate your critical path to identify which tasks you must prioritize.
Project Planning Requirement #7: Communication
Communication is an essential component of any project management plan. You must communicate with your team to keep up with your project’s progress. An effective communication channel can also alleviate any concerns your team may have about a project. If they have any doubts, they can easily express them.
ClickUp Solution: Powerful Comments
ClickUp tasks come with in-built comment sections that allow your team to easily talk to each other during a project. Here’s what you can do with ClickUp comments:
- Your team can add images, links and files to their comments to make it easier for them to get their point across.
- ClickUp also supports tagging in comments which allows you directly notify a team member of something.
- As there are separate comment sections for each task – your conversations are neatly organized.
- ClickUp can also integrate with a messaging tool like Slack to ensure that your team conversations are added to your project space.
Project Planning Templates
A project plan template is a great way to start your planning process immediately. Just copy your project information into a project plan template are you’re good to go!
Once you start using ClickUp, you’ll have access to all these templates to plan your project right away.
Project Management Template
RoadMap – Gantt View template
Project Roadmap Template
RoadMap – Board View Template
Project Management – Gantt View Template
Trying to plan a project isn’t the easiest task in the world. However, it doesn’t have to be rocket science either.
With a good project management tool like ClickUp, you’ll have everything you need to execute an effective project plan!
Why not sign up for ClickUp and experience it for yourself?