A work plan is essentially a proposal that presents problems in a work environment and the ways you intend to resolve them. The main text of this standard management tool is known as the argument, for its purpose is to present the problem along with logical, active steps to resolve it. According to author, editor and trainer Phil Bartle, the best time to start writing a work plan is several days after a periodical review.

Introduction/Background Info

The introduction provides your audience with knowledge of the nature of the problem that your work plan is intended to solve. Avoid long narratives on the history of the problem. Instead, focus only on the period your plan covers.

The background section, however, can be longer. It should contain a review of information you have acquired from previous quarters, or six-month periods, including recommendations. Also include any pertinent changes that have affected the project that is the focus of the work plan, or that could do so in the future and lead to a project design change.

Goals and Objectives

The "Goals and Objectives" section focuses on the solutions to the problems the work plan is designed to solve. Goals are broad targets, while objectives are the precise steps the company is to take to reach those goals. Objectives often have time limits on them, but take care that those are not inflexible. However, if you find it necessary to change the deadline for any reason, you should justify the alteration. The Hands On Network suggests using these objectives to create a rubric for employee job descriptions and performance evaluations.


The "Resources" heading provides you with an opportunity to indicate the factors that will or could contribute to the work plan's success. Talk about partners, employees, volunteers, supplies or land, or any other pertinent resources, either cash or non-cash.


The "Constraints" section includes any obstacles you must overcome to reach your objective. These can be difficulties such as staff or volunteer shortages, under-performing employees, or lack of appropriate funds for the project.


This section includes any strategies that will enable your company to resolve the problems listed as constraints. Detail whether you intend to hire more staff, increase your monitoring and evaluation of employees to target workers you need to let go, recruit additional volunteers, or raise more revenue.


The appendices are for including supporting or additional documents, such as budgets, schedules or any other data that is useful but not appropriate for inclusion in the main text.


A summary highlights the main points of the plan. It should be brief, one to two paragraphs at most. Both Bartle and the Hands On Network recommend you write this part last, even though it is the first part of your report. You will be better able to summarize the main points after you have written the entire report.