Plan Phase

The Plan Phase builds on information captured in the Initiate Phase and is traditionally considered the most important.  A project team is assigned and proceeds to fully define the project scope, refine requirements, create the technical design, task list, resource plan, communications plan, budget, schedule, and deliver a Project Plan.  It is imperative that project teams fully develop a holistic Project Plan to ensure that the project is successfully completed on time and on a budget, with limited surprises and deviations from the Project Charter.  The Project Plan will include a detailed breakdown and assignment of each task of the project, from beginning to end.  Performance measures, risk assessment, and change management plans will also be well-defined.  Essentially, the working process is defined, team members are identified, and reporting frequency and channels are established.  A link to Project Management Life Cycle templates/tools/examples referenced on this page is available here and at the bottom of this page.

PLAN Phase Activities​​

Identify Project Team Members The project team should be chosen based upon the expertise of the individuals and their availability to contribute.  The team is responsible for understanding work to be completed and completing assigned work within the budget, timeline, and quality expectations.  It should be comprised of functional experts, technical architects, system developers, trainers, etc.
Conduct Planning Kick-Off Meeting
Identify team members and bring them together, along with management, to review the approved Project Charter, set guidelines and expectations, define team roles and responsibilities, and to discuss timelines, overall approach, risks, constraints, and assumptions.
Map Business Processes, Current & Future States
Documenting the business processes, in detail, provides a map of the processes from start to finish.  Understanding both the current processes and future state processes is crucial to the successful completion of the project.  Processes are almost always depicted as a flow-chart, from left to right.
Refine Project Charter
Update the Project Charter to identify specific resources and roles, approach, deliverables, and a work plan.
Build Major Project Plans

Build a detailed primary Project Plan that includes a Work Breakdown Structure, deliverables, milestones, project tasks, duration of tasks and corresponding resources; Budget, Resource, Communications, Risk and Change Plan’s will also be required. Mapping of current/projected business processes (noted above) is a pre-requisite.   A defined test strategy will also need to be developed. 

Develop Supplemental Plans

Develop strategies/supplemental plans that will be needed during subsequent phases of the life cycle. Plans/strategies that may be needed, depending upon the complexity of the project, are Performance, Security Review, Procurement, and Quality Management.

Compile Preliminary Project Plan

Compile all the various plans into one main document. This effort clarifies dependencies, availability of services and resources, and identifies constraints and risks.

Perform Risk Analysis and Develop Mitigation Strategy

Identify sources of risks to the completion of a project on time and budget, considering both favorable and unfavorable impacts to project and plan accordingly for each.  Plan and implement risk mitigation strategies to lessen risk by lowering its chances of occurrence or by reducing its effect if it does occur.  Good risk analysis includes a listing of identified risks, an estimate of their likelihood, a means of determining if the risk is occurring, and a mitigation strategy.

Approve Final Project Charter and Preliminary Project Plan
Obtain final approval of refined Project Charter from Sponsor; obtain approval consensus of the Project Plan from the project team.
Conduct Phase Gate Review

For governance reasons and for practical purposes the PGR is performed to assure the project is ready to begin the Execute Phase and to make sure it still meets the needs that were true at the Proposal/Request period. Documents created during the Plan Phase will be reviewed, scored and approved before the project moves to the Execute Phase.


PLAN Phase Deliverables

The deliverables of the Plan Phase are impacted by the classification level of the project.  More complex projects will require additional plans as noted above in the PLAN Phase Activities descriptions.

Project Team Identified Roles and responsibilities are assigned.
Finalized Project Charter A preliminary Project Charter was completed during the Initiate Phase.
Communications Plan A communications plan is required for all projects.  It is the written document that outlines, highlights, and details the communications needs and expectations for the entire project.  To assist in developing this plan, communications plan guidelines are referenced in the 'Additional Resources' section below and are available via the blue button at the bottom of this page.
Preliminary Project Plan This is the project schedule, complete with milestones, tasks, assigned resources, start, and end dates.  Project Plans that have been created in TeamDynamix are visible; looking over some of these may be helpful in developing your plan.
Issues Decisions, Risk, Action Log This document is required for all projects to track the issues, decisions, risks, and actions as they arise during the project.
Current and Future State Business Process Flows Described in PLAN Phase Activities sections above.  The PMO can provide assistance if needed.

Additional Resources     

Project Budget Template Although this particular template is not required, it is recommended for developing a realistic budget for Tiers 3-5 projects.
Change Request Form Template This is a standard form for submitting a project Change Request.
Change Request Tracking Log Template This is a standard form for tracking submitted Change Requests and decisions made.
Change Control Cost Assessment Form Template This is a standard form for assessing the costs associated with Change Requests.
Change Request Management Process This document details a process for requesting a change to the Project Charter.
Risk Profile Template (Complex) The Issues, Decisions, Risk, Action Log Template is the standard template for managing risk (see PLAN Phase Deliverable above).  Ths risk profile template is complex; training by the PMO may be required to use it.  A completed example is referenced below and is available via the blue button at the bottom of this page.
Phase Gate Review - PLAN Template This document is required for Tiers 3-5 projects
Are Plans Useless Educational material
Communications Plan Guidelines This guide suggests areas to consider when developing a Communication Plan; it also includes an example Plan.
Example: Communications Plan Tasks (in Excel) This document is an example of a Task List used as a Communications Plan.
Example: Project Plan from TeamDynamix This document is an example of a project plan tasks from two projects.  The project plans were created in TeamDynamix; the tasks were exported to provide an example.
Example: Risk ProfileTemplate (Complex) This document is an example of a risk profile.
Example: Business Process Mapping This document is an example of a business process mapping.
Example: Busines Process Mapping--Distance Learning This document is an example of a business process mapping.
Example: Business Process Mapping--Distance Learning This document is an example of a business process mapping.