Managing a project can be a challenging task, especially when things start to go wrong. Despite having a well-defined scope, a competent team, and excellent communication, projects can still fall into critical condition, leaving project managers puzzled about what went wrong. At this point, the next step is to develop a Work Plan, a comprehensive list of all the deliverables a project is expected to produce alongside the tasks and dependencies required to achieve them.
When it comes to making a list, nobody does it better than Santa himself! Therefore, if you want to have a successful project, you need to create a list – just like Saint Nick. The Work Plan is the core plan that supports the broader project plan, outlining the specific steps and tasks needed to achieve the deliverables. A good work plan is a straightforward list of deliverables with underlying tasks and dependencies, without any fancy details.
Creating a work plan is a process of deconstructing the deliverables into smaller, manageable tasks. For example, if you want to paint a wall, you need to identify all the tasks required to complete the job, such as cleaning the wall, preparing the paint, taping the edges, applying the paint, and waiting for it to dry. Depending on your level of detail, you may have four or forty tasks to complete. Each project manager approaches their work plan differently, and it is essential to plan to a level of detail that works for you.
However, if your project is off track, it may be an indication that you have not planned with enough detail. In such cases, you need to continue deconstructing the deliverables and identifying missing tasks or dependencies that may be contributing to the project’s challenges. By doing so, you can develop a rock-solid work plan.
It is crucial to note that a work plan is not the same as a project schedule. A work plan outlines the specific tasks required to achieve each deliverable, while a project schedule specifies when these tasks will be completed. Therefore, having a solid work plan is crucial before developing an effective project schedule.
A Work Plan is an essential tool in project management that outlines the specific steps and tasks needed to achieve the project deliverables. Just like Santa, project managers need to develop a comprehensive list of deliverables with underlying tasks and dependencies, without any fancy details. By deconstructing the deliverables and identifying missing tasks or dependencies, project managers can develop a rock-solid work plan that will keep the project on track. If your project still doesn’t feel right despite having a solid work plan, the next step is to address any issues and risks that may be contributing to the project’s challenges.