Aspirational Managers Development Programme Project Planning Form

Aspirational Managers Development Programme
Project Planning Form
Project Title:
Version No. : It’s important to keep track of document versions (“version control”) so you don’t get old
versions of plans etc being circulated or acted upon.
1 Purpose of project
This should be a brief but precise paragraph or two which states exactly what the project is meant to do
and why.
2 Project Outline
Here describe what the project will do from start to finish without the detailed operations but with an
indication of how it is all going to happen and over what timescale. Some projects (depending on size) will
include the resourcing (people and things) here too.
3 Project outcomes/key deliverables
This section should identify the product(s) or outcome(s) of the successful project. In other words “what
does success look like”. Outcomes could be a report or a set of online materials or new procedures, new
operations etc.
2. etc
4 Business Case
A business case helps everyone to see the justification for doing the project. It aims to relate the impact of
the project to the cost of doing the project work and the risks involved, with mitigation as appropriate.
Smaller projects probably aren’t worth spending too much time on detailed planning of a business case as
it is important to just get on and do the work. However if this isn’t done like this, then the case must be
made somewhere else in some form.
4.1 Stakeholders
Everyone who has a vested interest in the project activities/outcomes.
4.2 Objectives
What are the broad project activities and what they aim to achieve
4.3 Cost/benefit analysis (as appropriate)
The cost of project activities at whatever level is most appropriate, set out against the benefits from the
successful completion of project activities. Many small, internal projects do not need detailed financial
planning as they are in effect just self-contained pieces of work that do not require costing distinct from
normal duties.
4.4 Risks
Risks of failing to meet objectives and deadlines and the overall risk of not successfully concluding the
project. Preferably with actions that would mitigate these.
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5 Resource Assessment
A formal term for saying “who is going to do what and how long is that going to take of their time?”. Also
what else is needed to do the work (like things such as space, travel or equipment).
5.1 Proposed budget (if appropriate)
If it is relevant to your project you need to separate this out into costs for different things (staff, non-staff
etc) but internal projects aren’t usually run with a set budget like this.
5.2 People
Who does what and for how long (in Universities this is usually represented as Full-Time Equivalent or
FTE, so 1 day a week is 20% or 0.2fte).
If you’re counting costs then staff time needs to include the proportionate “overhead” not just the salary
cost. The overhead is (in PS) the cost of pension, accommodation and so forth and is provided on the
University website.
5.3 Other resources (consumables, travel etc)
What is needed for what activity
6 Timeline with Milestones
This is when you combine the “who does what” with the “when”.
I like Gantt charts – I use them a lot to plan operational tasks against time and resource. They’re not
complicated but they’re powerful tools when used properly.
However, don’t expect the project to run exactly as you plan it and don’t shoehorn everything into your
plan – “slack” needs to be built into your plan to allow for things changing. Gantt charts for most small
projects (ie unlike the Forum building programme) are great planning tools giving you a good idea of order
of tasks and rough timescales, but are not usually successfully followed to every detail. It will give you an
idea if things start to drift badly and also what you need to do to get back on track.
Gantt Charts are simply a timeline, at the best scale for your project (ie weeks, months), and a list of
activities (usually called tasks in this context) that start at some date and finish on another. Some tasks
will be dependent on one finishing before they can start – this is a dependency and is represented by
joining the end of one thing to the start of another.
The completion of the most essential tasks are your milestones. How the milestones are linked together
(ie what they are dependent on) is your Critical Path. Understanding the effect of adjusting some tasks
start and finish times that impact on your milestones is a Critical Path Analysis.
Spreadsheets make good Gantt charts.
7 Communications and Evaluation Plan
All projects should state how their results will be communicated to relevant others (stakeholders, senior
managers etc).
Likewise all projects should be evaluated to identify the good, the bad and the ugly: what went well, what
went wrong, what would you do differently next time etc.
The point being that success of the project is not just about meeting your target dates and correcting
problems. It’s also about succeeding in your original purpose. Your sponsor and other stakeholders will
probably be better judges of whether you have delivered on your original project promise than you will be.
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