How to Create Work Plans

Creating a work plan is important because it allows an employee the opportunity to show a manager how he plans to accomplish the things that are being asked of him. A work plan can help an employee show his worth because it quantifies and puts into words the things that an employee does that otherwise might be unnoticed. General work plans are sometimes created that relate to the overall work a person does. However, work plans are often most effective when they are broken down to specifically discuss the work associated with smaller projects. The more specific a work plan is, the more effective it likely will be. When creating work plans, there are a few things that should almost always be included.

Open a new document in word-processing software such as a Microsoft Word. Create several headers on the document. The headers should be listed as: "Issues," "Goals," "Strategies," "Resources," "Timeline" and "Measurement."

Under "Issues," describe the most important issues. A needs assessment meeting must precede the writing down of the key issues. During this meeting, team members can bring all of the project's important issues to light. The important issues should strike a balance by discussing the needs of all parties involved.

Under "Goals," make and record attainable goals. The goals described in a work plan should make you stretch to attain them yet they should not be unreachable. When making goals, remember the acronym SMART: The goals should be specific, measurable, acceptable, realistic and timely.

Under "Strategies," include information about key strategies. This will probably be the longest and most comprehensive section of the work plan. Each of the major steps or milestones that must be met should be included here. Potential obstacles to the implementation of the strategies also should be discussed. Explain how these obstacles will be managed.

Under "Resources," discuss the resources needed to put the strategies into action. If there is a whole team working on the project, mention in the work plan the team members involved and what their responsibilities will be. If there is a significant investment in equipment or supplies involved, mention this as well.

Under "Timeline," make a timeline. Include highlights of the plan to create a timeline. Make sure to include the start date, the end date and the dates when specific events and goals will take place. This will allow yourself, fellow team members and management to be able to easily see if the project is on schedule.

Under "Measurement," Include methods of measurement. Discuss how you will determine the success of the project. This could include anecdotal evidence. However, it is best to include quantifiable ways in which success will be determined. Depending on the project, this could include the amount of sales, more incoming phone calls, more Web page visits and similar metrics.


  • Make a one-page cover sheet that briefly discusses the highlights of the work plan. Attach this to the full work plan.


  • Sticking too strictly to a work plan could be detrimental Just because a work plan suggests something, this does not mean a better idea cannot come along. A work plan should be a living document. Failing to make changes can hinder the possibility for success.