A project plan is a document used by project managers to define goals, strategies, actions, resources and tasks for a specific project. It is completed after the planning process has defined the vision and strategy for the project. Once completed, the descriptions of the specific components of the plan should enable the team to complete the project within the schedule while meeting performance and cost goals. Once a format has been established for project planning, it can be used as a sample for future planning documents.

Define the project's scope. Provide a brief description of the project and its goals, including a brief statement about time and cost.

Create a work breakdown structure. This part of the plan divides the project into manageable parts and enables assignment and control of specific items.

Develop a project schedule. Identify key milestones and details for completion. Then, based upon the scheduled items, create a budget to estimate the cost over the course of the project as well as the cost for each specific phase of the project.

Perform a risk analysis, which includes a review of potential risks and how the team plans to address each risk. Completing this portion of the project plan brings risks to the forefront and allows team members to manage the risks in a more proactive manner.

Identify plans for outsourcing. If outsourcing is planned for any portions of the project, it is helpful to develop an interface plan, a work authorization plan and a procurement plan. The interface plan details how external connections will be used in the project, while the work authorization plan details the process for approval, release and completion of tasks. The procurement plan deals specifically with goods and services and the details on when to request and implement their use within the scope of the project.

Write a stakeholder management plan to describe how each group or member of the team will be managed, including communication and proactive planning schemes. The individual team members or skills that are required to meet the stakeholder plan should then be detailed in a separate human resources list.


Project plans can be expanded or minimized based upon the extent of the work to be completed. Regardless of the size of the project, all should have the essential items, including the statement of goals, schedule and costs.