In the corporate world, bureaucracy reigns. While the amount of paperwork may seem excessive at times, we all know that there are certain documents and templates we desperately rely on to complete our day-to-day tasks. How do we know what documents we will need when working on a project? For a supervisor or manager, what type of project planning documents are needed to conduct a successful venture?
Below are descriptions of eight essential documents that will help boost your project planning goals and ensure greater success in work assignments. This list of essential documents will help you determine the most important paperwork you’ll need without wasting time on unnecessary documentation.
The Eight Essential Documents for Project Planning
1. Project Charter
The project charter is essentially either an agreement between multiple parties or a more formal contract. According to the Houston Chronicle, project charters are created to formally define a specific venture. The project charter needs to include the following factors:
- The project’s name, scope, measurable objectives, and potential constraints as well as the benefits or solutions it provides.
- A brief description of the project including the goals, purpose, and requirements of the particular venture.
- The priorities of the project including time, cost, and certain qualities.
- The name of the project manager who will delegate tasks and negotiate for team’s requirements or resources.
- Names of key employees and the name of who is sponsoring the venture.
- Summary of a schedule for the project including deadlines and a timeline for each process.
- Potential risks that may need resolutions or may cause delays.
- The budget and funding sources as well as the resources required.
- A feasibility study and project product requirements such as files, training manuals, or lectures.
- Intermediate product requirements such as reports, results from studies or surveys, new schedules, or presentations delivered at the end of each projected step.
- Privacy restrictions on data use.
- Procedures that will be incorporated in case the scope changes.
- Procedures for approval of every product in each step.
- Any additional services.
2. Project Management Plan
The project management plan incorporates the strategy needed for managing the project and all of the processes that are part of the venture including cost, the scope of the project, and the schedule or timeline. Essentially, this document can be used as a reference index and it includes all planning and project documents.
According to the publication TechRepublic, it is important to include communications, human resources, business risks, names of stakeholders, process improvements, and project updates within the project management plan.
This document includes determining the type of processes that will be required to meet the needs of the project. The project management plan will need to include:
- A summary of the project,
- the roles of team members,
- the scope statement from the charter along with extra details,
- projected milestones including dates,
- a schedule baseline with work breakdowns,
- a resource calendar,
- a quality baseline, and
- sponsor acceptance.
3. Project Scope Plan
The project scope plan will need to incorporate the systems in place to manage and facilitate with any changes that may occur during the course of the project. This document also covers the objectives of the venture. It outlines the activities that are needed to meet the goals of the project. This document is meant to be straightforward and easy for all stakeholders to understand so that everyone is on the same page.
According to TheBalanceCareers.com, when defining the project scope, the manager can show what the finished product or the overall goal will look like upon completion of the venture. Without a defined scope, the project can become derailed and costs may spiral out of control while deadlines may be missed. For instance, if creating a marketing brochure, it is essential to know how many pages are needed and what the finished product should look like.
4. Project Schedule Plan
During the project planning, you’ll need to create a project schedule plan that includes all of the phases on a monthly basis of its most prominent tasks. Essentially, the start and end dates of each phase is incorporated. Project stakeholders will especially need to have access to this particular document.
The milestones and dates for major deliverables will need to be documented in the project schedule plan. For example, if designing a particular product, it is vital to include design completion dates, system testing and user acceptance testing timelines, and the software roll-out date.
5. Project Team Plan
The document for the project team plan provides more specifics on the tasks and responsibilities of every team member and stakeholder of the venture. The project will be viewed in this document based on what every individual is completing during every phase of each assignment. This document will help create more efficient systems for executing the project. Additionally, the project team plan will enable team members to communicate more transparently and honestly.
This document can be viewed as a work breakdown structure in which the milestones and deliverables are split into smaller chunks where each worker is assigned responsibility for every assignment. The manager is responsible for delegating these tasks by considering the strengths and weaknesses of every team member as well as the relevant resources and deadlines. Therefore, if the manager is concerned about a specific task, he or she will know exactly who to meet with.
6. Project Work Plan
The project work plan is a document that includes a variety of factors essential and necessary as a guideline for the project team. This document needs to detail the required activities of team members, the milestones, the schedule and duration of the project, the costs of each step, the work packages, the required resources, and more. Also, this document covers the project’s critical path toward completion.
When completing the project work plan, it is essential to understand the scope of the project, complete extra research, make a project plan outline, talk to your team members about various aspects of this document, write out the entire work plan, and share the document with your team members.
7. Quality Assurance Plan
The quality assurance plan document covers the quality standards that need to be tracked throughout the production phases and the entire venture. All project deliverables will need to reach the quality standards set up within the quality assurance plan document.
The standards will need to be created for the product testing approach and tools. The quality assurance plan document will include quality checklists, policies, quality metrics, definitions of deviations, the funds associated with poor quality, product defect severity grades, and acceptance requirements.
8. Project Risks Plan
The project risks plan tends to be underrated, but is actually one of the most important documents in project planning. This document outlines the risks associated with the venture and potential solutions for projected risks. This document also highlights plans regarding how to best address the risks at the moment they arise.
The TechRepublic article details that project managers need to know how to counter potential risks effectively throughout the lifetime of a project. Essentially, this document outlines the potential risks for the success of the project and details how these risks will be addressed. A variety of areas will provide input for this document including the stakeholder register, the project charter and project management plan, organizational assets, and the enterprise environmental factors.
When conducting project planning processes and developing these eight essential documents, it is useful to communicate with your team through a project management platform such as Runrun.it software.
How RunRun.it Workflow Management Software Simplifies Project Planning
Manually writing down and updating all of the eight essential documents and checking everything across multiple folders and different platforms may prove to be too difficult. It is much more streamlined and straightforward to utilize workflow management software such as the Runrun.it platform.
If your team is resistant toward using new project planning tools, it is beneficial to listen to your team members and address their concerns. Discuss the new tools in a favorable manner and find out what your employees think. You can provide lectures and training for the new tools as well as a reward system for utilizing the project planning tools effectively. When teaching your team members about the new tools, be sure to treat them with kindness and honesty if they are showing resistance.
Essentially, it is important to understand that workflow management software will help automate the assembly of spreadsheets and any updates to your eight essential documents for project planning. Your workflow will be more streamlined with fewer issues. Additionally, your time management will improve due to the deadlines and direct task delegation capabilities of Runrun.it software. This software automatically tracks the time spent on tasks and makes communication more transparent due to an easy-to-use comment section under each file or document.
If you’d like to see whether Runrun.it software is the right project management platform for your team, click here for a free 14-day trial.