Components of a Project Plan


This article details the high level project plan and the components of the same. A project is a success if it meets the objectives of time, cost, technical and business. Project objectives are defined in the preliminary project scope statement. As mentioned above, a project is deemed complete if the project objectives have been met. The objectives should be clear and achievable.

Project Objectives

The objectives for this project have been summarized as:

  1. Time

    The project plan must contain the time taken to complete the project end-end from requirements to implementation. A detailed analysis of each stage and the time taken for the same must be outlined upfront and milestones for each stage defined.

  2. Cost

    The cost for completion of the project as defined by the time taken to complete and the technical and business objectives being met is to be defined. All the project objectives are linked to each other and any change in one variable affects the others as well. For e.g. a change in the technical requirements would mean that more time would be required to complete the project and this in turn affects the cost. Thus there are cascading affects on each of the variables.

  3. Business

    The business objectives have to be clearly spelt out by your company in terms of the sales generated, the cost benefit analysis of building a website and consequent revenue generation etc.

  4. Technical

    The technical requirements can be stated in terms of the quality of the deliverables and the number of defects found during each of the testing phases and the turnaround time for implementation etc.

Work Breakdown Structure

The above chart is a representation of the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) for the project. It represents a high to medium level summary and it can be refined further. The WBS has been summarized in the organization chart keeping in mind some factors like:

  • The WBS is a high level overview that can be broken down into smaller and smaller package of work until the Project Manager achieves the level of granularity that he/she wants. This granularity is to be obtained keeping in mind the realistic scenarios. For e.g. the first level of the WBS described above is the same as the project life cycle, Requirements, Design etc.

  • The next levels of the WBS are broken down based on the work packages that are to be assigned to the team members. The packages must be designed in such a way that the deliverables are met.

  • In a way, the WBS is the foundation of the project. The time and cost of the project are defined in terms of the work packages and estimated accordingly.

Responsibility Matrix

Activity Team Member
Team member 1 Team member 2 Team member 3
A (design) P   S
B (coding)   S P
C (testing) S P  

P - Primary responsibility

S - Secondary responsibility

This chart cross references the WBS created for the project. Each of the work packages created in the WBS is allocated to each of the team members with primary and secondary responsibilities assigned accordingly.

Project Plan

The project plan consists of the above details as well as the WBS and the responsibility matrix. A detailed project plan needs more elaboration and is a separate activity altogether.

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Project Management