Planning a Project

Your project has been approved, so let’s start planning how the project work will be conducted to produce outputs and deliverables.

SDZ’s Program/Project Management – Implementation workspace can be used to document your project plan as an alternative to the following templates.


Recommended documentation

Project Plan

The Project Plan documents how you will achieve your project objectives. It expands on the content of the Project Brief and provides additional details regarding the work to be done, timeframe, budget, risk management, stakeholder communication, reporting and more.  

Risk Management Plan

The Risk Management Plan documents the potential risks associated with conducting the project (for example resistance to change from end users). Each risk is assessed in terms of its likelihood and consequence, and then mitigation actions identified to minimise impact on the project should the risk eventuate.

Communications Plan

The Communications Plan encourages you to think about how to prepare the stakeholders, target audience or end users to accept the project deliverables (services/systems). Creating effective communication channels is key to creating effective change behaviours and actions leading to successful adoption of new services or systems.  

Budget Management

The Budget management spreadsheet itemises the cost of the resources required through the life of the project. The resources include people, expertise and equipment or facilities. For some projects, the preference may be to itemise cost by activity rather than resources. 



Steps to plan a project

  1. Develop a project plan
    The Project Plan is a detailed roadmap of how you will conduct your project. Refer to the approved Project Brief to prepare the Project Plan. The Project Manager needs to collaborate with the project team and key stakeholders to develop the Project Plan by addressing the: 
    • Team structure, roles and responsibilities
    • Packages of work and associated timelines
    • Measures of success of the project
    • Stakeholder engagement and communication through the project
    • Change or business transformation approach and activities
    • Budget or cost of each activity and/or resources
    • Risks impacting the project and planned actions to minimise the impact of the risk
    • Business benefits and how and when will these be measured against the baseline
    • Constraints and assumptions.

    The value of a collaborative approach is that it builds rapport with and gains early buy in from the key stakeholders of the project.

    The Project Plan is structured to hold most of the information in the following supporting plans for ease of reference and update:
    • Work package and Schedule Plan
    • Risk Management Plan
    • Communication Plan
    • Change Management Plan
    • Benefits Measurement plan
    • Risk Register

    The Project Plan (and its supporting plans) is a living document that must be updated during the project life cycle to ensure it remains valid and reflects any changes approved by the Sponsor.

  2. Seek approval

    Present the Project Plan to the Sponsor / Project Board / Steering Committee for approval to proceed to the next stage (Execution). This is also the best time to discuss and agree on the governance arrangements in terms of reporting requirements (frequency, exception reporting, documentation and method of reporting), and project tolerances on key parameters such as cost, scope, schedule and quality of outputs.

    This approval step ensures all parties are aware of the risks, approach, deliverables and how the team and stakeholders will work together to deliver the project. 

Once your Project Plan is approved, you have the green light to proceed to the next stage - Execution.