How to Create a Powerful Work Plan
In materializing the objectives of a project, you need a comprehensive work plan to guide you throughout. This work plan serves as the guide for the team to know its goals, strategize properly, and commit to them. This way, all desired outcomes will come to life at the end of the project timeline.
A work plan is a necessity in project management. That said, you need to delve into what it does and how it works to use it on every team project effectively.
Definition of a work plan
A work plan is essentially another term for a project implementation plan. It is a written document to streamline a project. It is a visual reference for the goals, objectives, tasks, processes, and the assigned team members for each aspect. This plan helps the team to understand the scope of the project better.
In work plans, you break down the process into small digestible tasks that can get accomplished easily. You can even use a work plan template to make things easier—whether you are the project manager or not.
Here are what you need to include in writing a work plan:
- Set goals and objectives.
- Establish team roles.
- Settle project timelines.
- Assign a budget.
Why do you need a work plan?
The work plan serves as the roadmap of the project in its entirety. It ties together all parties involved in the project involving indirect players such as the stakeholders.
Here are some of its use in the organization:
- Keeps the organization in the team for the duration of the project
- Ensure buy-in from key players in the organization—the stakeholders, relevant departments, risk leaders, etc.
- Helps everyone manage expectations from team member level, managerial level, up to the stakeholders
- Keeps everyone informed about the progress of tasks
- Identifies any potential risks, helping the team to construct a resolution before it may even arise.
Types of work plans
Here are three of the most common work plans that an organization may use:
Employee work plans
Small groups or individuals create these work plans to aid them in long-term strategic planning for projects. It included the goals, budget, needed resources, costs, and timeline of completion.
Manager work plans
This type of work plan is similar to the previous type. However, due to its managerial level, it holds a more significant scope. Some of the additional areas include the business benefits, a detailed list of costs and budget, and a statistical report of how it will help the business grow through the project.
Business owner work plans
A business owner’s work plans similarly work as the business plan. It consists of the same necessary areas found in both employee and manager work plans. However, this has a more significant scale since it may also have more comprehensive aspects, including market research and long-term projections.
How to create an effective work plan
Now that you have a deeper understanding of how a plan works in project management, here’s a guide on how you can make one.
1. Identify the purpose.
The first thing you ought to do in creating a work plan is the identification of its purpose. All plans have corresponding reasons why they are made. And you need to identify this first to let your project approvers know what it is, its benefits, and why it is necessary. You should include here the estimated timeline to set expectations with the project approver. After all, without the essential details such as the project name, purpose, and timeline, the plan cannot be approved just yet.
Ensure that you state the purpose specifically in the form of enumerating the benefits it will incur upon completion. The purpose should always be clear at the beginning of making a work plan.
2. Write an introduction and background.
An introduction and background are necessary as it provides the managers and supervisors the details about the context of the work plan. You should write here the reason why the project is important and what made you consider writing it. That said, you must state the problem seen and the potential resolutions you propose.
In writing the intro, make it concise yet engaging. Enumerate the necessary projects. On the other hand, writing the background sheds light on the reasons behind the proposal. With that in mind, you should cite relevant supporting details, statistical reports, the problems, and recommendations.
3. Set the goals and objectives.
Setting the goals and objectives direct you to the fruits you want to reap at the project completion. However, before determining them, you should remember that goals are more general, while objectives are more specific.
Goals focus on the bigger picture of the project. This should bring light to the ultimate outcome of the work plan. Objectives, on the other hand, are specific and tangible. These are the things that are easy to check off the list once completed. Objectives are usually broken down into terms—whether long, middle, and long.
As a helpful tip, it’s best to use the SMART concept in determining the goals and objectives.
S – Specific. What exactly do you need to do?
M – Measurable. Can you measure it?
A – Achievable. Can you complete it within the allotted timeline and with the available resources?
R – Relevant. Will this impact the desired goals?
T – Time-bound. When will it be completed?
4. Enumerate the resources.
This part consists of the inclusion of the essential resources you need to materialize goals and objectives. These may include documents, properties, buildings, materials, equipment, the financial budget, and more.
In determining your necessary resources, consider these questions:
- How much of the budget will be allocated to the project?
- Which department will need the budget?
- What are the tools (software and hardware) required in streamlining the project?
5. Name the constraints.
Constraints are the potential risks and problems you may face in the duration of the project. These constraints are the obstacles that will challenge you in achieving the team’s respective goals and objectives. How minor issues may be, factor in anything that might disrupt the progress of the project.
Naming these constraints will help find resolutions before they even worsen. You can think ahead of how to manage them to remain fixated with the goals and objectives.
6. Assign responsibility.
At this phase, you will assign accountability to the key players of the project. These will be the people who hold responsibility for completing the tasks given. They can either be an individual or an entire department that’s assigned to the tasks. However, there must be one person readily available to answer queries on behalf of the team.
7. Curate the strategies.
The last thing to do is writing the strategies. And since you already have the resources needed and potential constraints, you can now outline how you will achieve the goals with these on hand.
Then, you can schedule the succeeding steps to finish tasks. Here are some helpful pointers in strategic planning:
- List the specific action steps and identify what needs to be completed in a day or a week.
- Include the assigned people for the tasks.
- Make a schedule for tasks.
- Allot space for unexpected events that may arise in the duration of the project.
- Use project management software to maintain the project.
And that’s how you create a powerful work plan to attain business objectives. Need more resources to perfect creating your business work plan? Here are some Skill Success courses to take in reaping pocketful of lessons in project management: