Components of a Work Plan

by Jennifer VanBaren ; Updated September 26, 2017

A work plan is a tool that describes the scope of work, generally for a project or program. It is developed by a design team and the project owner and contains a project description, key issues, goals and objectives, key strategies and several other important aspects of a project or program. A work plan serves as a guide for contractors, employees and owners.

Project Description

The first component of a work plan is a project or program description. A work plan begins by discussing the project or program it was created for. This is a short summary of the program. A work plan is generally created using word processing software and includes several key categories.

Key Issues

A work plan contains the key issues. All key issues of the project should be determined before beginning. Typically these issues are discussed at meetings between owners, contractors and employees. This should happen during the assessment stage of the project.

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Goals and Objectives

Another vital component of a work plan is a section devoted to the goals and objectives of the program. During the assessment stage of the project, the goals and objectives must be determined and set before proceeding. Many companies use the SMART method when setting goals, which means goals should be specific, measurable, acceptable, realistic and timely.

Key Strategies

Identify key strategies for the project. After identifying and setting goals, a work plan lists the key strategies that will be used to accomplish the goals set. Milestones should be listed as well as any potential obstacles the company may encounter.


List all the resources that are required to successfully complete this program or project. This includes developing teams for the project, budget information and facilities needed. Under this section, the important roles and responsibilities of teams and committees should be defined.

Time Line

Develop a time line. This component of a work plan should be given a great deal of thought. The time line should be achievable and should take into consideration any foreseen obstacles the company may encounter.

Measurement Tools

Determine ways to measure success. The last part of a work plan is the component of measurement tools. This component is vital to know whether the project is successful at many points. One measurement tool is the time line. By comparing the actual results to the time line, an organization measures how well the project is going compared with the targeted goals.

About the Author

Jennifer VanBaren started her professional online writing career in 2010. She taught college-level accounting, math and business classes for five years. Her writing highlights include publishing articles about music, business, gardening and home organization. She holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting and finance from St. Joseph's College in Rensselaer, Ind.

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