How to Update Your Project Plan in 4 Simple Steps

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Learn how to plan and update your project plan with this easy-to-follow guide.

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Managing a large project is a never-ending cycle of coordination, communication, and planning. With many moving parts, it’s a challenge to keep track of everything and that’s why a project plan plays its part.

Do you ever feel that any theory is easier than practice? But, don’t worry. Organised project planning will keep you on your toes and help you stay organised, saving you time and cost when delivering your product or service.

Further, well-organised project planning also can help you avoid common risks. So how do you update the project plan?

The definition of a project plan

Before you jump into the steps to update the project plan, let’s look at the definitions below.

According to Project Management Institute, the project plan is a collection of documents outlining the project's action and control phases. Besides considering scale, cost, and part of the strategy, the method takes risk management, resource management, and communications in the app.

Project Managers (PM) use project planning tools to ensure their plans are comprehensive and reliable. A project plan which is also called a project management plan, answers the who-what-where-why-how-when of the ongoing project. The project plan aims to guide the action and control of the process of a project. PMs commonly use a Gantt Chart to display tasks or even in project management.

5 simple steps to update your project plan

Updating a project plan is the primary responsibility of updating the project. Project teams depend on precise schedules to make plans and complete tasks, which is why it's crucial. If you don't know when a task is likely to be completed, you can't schedule a time to complete it. Without an updated project plan, it would be impossible to know when a work should be completed so that the following step may be delegated to someone else.

The project plan must be dynamic and updated on a frequent basis. Making one at the beginning of a project and expecting it remains correct as you go forward is enough. So how can we update the change on the project plan?

Step 1: Determine the updates

What exactly is changing must be determined first. The information about the change frequently comes from the need for resources, project goals, milestones, communication plans, schedules, scope, etc.

The project manager needs to have a good understanding of the project plan. At the same time, others may be less informed of what is needed to analyse the update or may believe that they’re not affected by the update. Here’s why the update for your team comes first.

Step 2: Change the process of the project

In this step, you can change the log, complete the change, and make a decision. The requested change can help you update the project plan. For example, adding a new task to the scope management plan can change the schedule and the resource.

Step 3: Update the plan and schedules

The project plan and schedules can form into two different documents. Your changes can impact the project's delivery dates because the schedule is the project's timescale.

The project plan is a document that outlines the project's management strategy. The majority of modifications won't change how you manage the project, but they might have an impact on other project documents.

Before deciding to update, determine what needs to be updated, especially in the form of plans and schedules.

Step 4: Track the changes on the project board

It’s better if you monitor the change and update the project board. Once you have the required information, enter it into your project management tool. For example, if you are tracking progress, you can adjust it or add the number of hours you have really put into a task to date. You can mark complete to identify tasks as done.

5 stages of project management

After knowing the definition of the project plan and how to update a project plan. You can read about the project management stages which are also important and related to project plan updates.

1. Initiation

The first stage that transforms an idea into a goal is the project beginning stage. At this point, you need to define the project and the business case. In this stage, there’s a project charter which includes the project goals, project manager appointment, budgeting, workflow timetable, deadline, etc.

2. Planning

After creating the initiation stage, your team can plan the project. Project planning is a project roadmap that involves almost half of project management.

In this planning stage, your team will identify the technical need and develop the project schedule. The project manager will make the details for the project as mentioned below:

  • Resources
  • External resources
  • Communication
  • Implementation plan
  • Stakeholders

3. Execution

After the project manager approves the project, the team can do project execution – take action to perform. The project manager must take responsibility for the project to run well.

In this stage, there will be decision-making to choose the team, project, etc. In addition, the project manager can work with the team members and keep the collaboration.

4. Monitoring and Controlling (Supervision)

The project manager should know the progress of the project plan. More than that, the project manager must be detailed when something is going wrong then the PM needs to get it back on track.

Also, the project manager needs to check the team member's KPIs, and ensure the effort and cost of the projects are well-controlled.

5. Closing

This is the last stage of project management, often known as closing. After all the delivery steps, it suggests that the process has finished. The project manager will complete contracts with any interested external parties, archive important documents, and produce project reports at the end.

The majority of the team will gather for a reflection meeting to discuss the project's accomplishments and shortcomings. It can be a good strategy to keep the team improving.

The project manager has access to the last task of this phase. Additionally, a report that details every step of this project management stage is available.

Wrapping up

From A to Z, updating your project plan can help you to avoid wasting time or money on unnecessary projects that won’t get done.

Updating your project plan is a key process in any project. By planning your project well and taking action on it promptly, you can ensure a successful outcome.

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