Why develop a project plan
A project plan allows you to confirm business case assumptions and undertake more detailed project planning. Confirming assumptions is particularly important in the event that the current rationale, scope or available funding, is different from what was assumed in the business case. If the project received funding without a business case, a project plan also allows you to undertake some of the preparation usually conducted during the business case phase.
Developing a project plan
After you have confirmed the project scope, you should develop a project plan (leveraging the dates and milestones that have been included in the project approvals). At this point, if you have not done so already, you should also establish the project team. A project plan will help ensure you are well set up to achieve the project objectives, and that all activities planned throughout the procurement phase support achievement of these objectives. Key aspects of the project plan may be subject to approvals within its governance structure. The project plan may be informed by the project brief and may include:
- project objectives, vision and benefits
- project rationale
- constraints and dependencies
- roles and responsibilities
- organisational change management
- communications and stakeholder management (internal and external)
- procurement objectives and strategy
- project resourcing
- project program (including for both the procurement and delivery phases)
- project assurance
- project reporting, and
- operational commencement principles.
You may also wish to include other relevant plans as attachments to the project plan such as:
- procurement plan
- evaluation plan
- probity plan
- change management plan – how you intend to manage any changes that may occur or be required during the project, particularly during its construction or delivery phase
- communications plan – how and when you intend to communicate with stakeholders, and
- quality management plan – how you intend to manage the quality of each output, element, component or process produced during the progress of the project.
The initial Project Plan will likely include high-level information, with further detail to be added when available, as the project progresses.
Although key components may have already been considered during the project definition, funding and approvals phase, it is important to document and reconfirm these in the project plan, to create a single consolidated source document for the project.
The extent of information included within the project plan may be dependent on the size and complexity of the project. You will need to use your judgement to determine the level of detail and assess whether fewer or additional sections may be applicable. For business-as-usual projects, you may develop a project plan that aggregates a program of works.
Depending on the capability and capacity of in-house resources, you may wish to engage a consultant to assist you in developing a thorough and accurate project plan.
Reviewed 22 March 2023