Only recently we reported on the necessity of a project plan. But how is it supposed to look and what does it need to contain under any circumstances?
On principle, a project plan is a support, which allows for the structured processing of a project. Correct scheduling is not the only important aspect. A reasonable structure of the process and an appropriate cost calculation should be considered in the project plan as well.
We differentiate between 3 kinds of project plans. The simplest, or basis plan, is the structure plan. Building up on this and one step more complex respectively are the bar plan and the network plan:
- Structure plan: the structure plan provides an overview over the tasks and subtasks of the project. The assignment is divided into subtasks until only small calculable work packages remain, which then can be processed individually.
- Bar plan: the bar plan adds temporal dimensions. Fixed deadlines are determined, although it is somewhat difficult to portray the dependence between the subtasks. Clarity, too, should be considered, as you may easily loose track if there are too many subtasks. An insufficient amount of subtasks, however, could mean that the quality of the plan may suffer. The development of project phases can be of help here. Every bar illustrates one phase.
- Network plan: the network plan combines structure plan and bar plan. Every single subtask is listed in dependence of other tasks and the required processing time. With the help of a network plan, time, cost, and complexity of a project can be planned.
Which steps you adhere to in the individual projects, should be dependent on the complexity of an assignment. Alternatively you have the possibility to refine and structure a project plan further in the course of an assignment. In principle, you work out a structure and bar plan first, in order to design a network plan. To avoid getting lost in the network plan, you should, however, not lose sight of the structure plan, especially the objective.
Milestones, established in advance, can be a further foothold in your project plan. They should not only mark the beginning of the project and the final deadline, but also deadlines for the individual subtasks, as well as review sessions and other data that is relevant for the project. This becomes more relevant with an increasing number of people working on the project. Additionally, milestones can mark the individual phases of a project.
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