How to Write a Project Execution Plan (With Best Practices)
Every project needs a plan which guides the execution of the project. In project management, that plan is known as a project execution plan. This contains everything about the project, from the project’s scope to the project’s deliverable.
One of the major reasons why projects fail is due to poor planning. Many project managers do not create the necessary documents that help to ensure the successful execution of the project. The majority of project managers fail to break down large projects into smaller tasks for easy execution.
Creating a project execution plan is a valuable tool for effectively implementing your tasks or project. Understanding the project execution plan is essential for the project team to ensure they can satisfactorily meet the project’s goals and the expectations of clients.
In this article, you will learn everything you need to know to create a project execution plan including its purpose and elements.
Let’s get started.
What is a Project Execution Plan?
A project execution plan is essential for the effective implementation of a project. The creation of a project execution plan helps outline the required tasks to be completed, deliverables, and resources available in aiding the completion process.
Properly and thoroughly understanding the various elements that make up the project execution plan helps the project team meet its pre-set goals and objectives.
A project execution plan is a detailed document that shows how the project team plans to achieve set tasks. This details specific targets of the project and the means of accomplishing these set goals. A project execution plan often acts as a guide for the operation and management of the project process.
Why You Need a Project Execution Plan
A project execution plan is a document that harmonizes pre-harnessed plans and goals with the sole aim of properly implementing them in the project process. It carefully maps out how to execute and overcome various plans and setbacks encountered in the course of the project process.
- To Meet Project's Deliverables: The goal of every well-drawn-up project execution plan is to ensure the project reaches its completion stage. On the road to completion, the project makes vital stops at delivering crucial deliverables (milestones) along the way.
- Track Project’s Progress: There are various project progress indicators that aim to measure the progress made during the project execution phase. A project execution plan helps you track your project’s progress.
- Counter Setbacks: The project execution plan does not just detail the best approach to successfully implement the project’s plan and objectives alone. It also makes accommodation for eventualities that might disrupt the smooth and timely completion of the project. Measures for effectively tackling possible setbacks are in the project execution plan.
- Assign Tasks: With the project execution plan, you can assign various tasks to respective project team members. This aims to carry everyone along in the project process journey.
Elements of a Project Execution Plan
A project execution plan has various elements that allow it to create a definitive and actionable implementation and execution plan. Consider the following elements when creating a project execution plan.
1. Project Scope
Drawing out a clearly defined scope is an important element of the project execution plan. Defining the project’s scope entails pointing out and listing the aims and objectives of the project.
The project scope often aims to educate stakeholders with an overview of the project's purpose and goals. You have to consider some factors when creating a befitting project’s scope.
- Project’s statement of work
- Project’s limitations and boundaries
- Project’s timeline and milestones
- Project’s final deliverables
- Project’s criteria for success
2. Project Goals
A project execution plan includes goal statements that clearly define the project’s expected goals and objectives. This lists out the purpose of the project, expected benefits of the project, deliverables, milestones as well as the project timeline and schedule.
3. Allocation of Resources
The list of available resources and details of their allocation is in the project execution plan. This details the needs of the project team for the successful completion of the project.
Resources available for a project usually include capital, human resources, material goods, and all the essential elements needed for the success of the project. Proper allocation of resources ensures the project meets the desired standards expected by the project’s stakeholders.
4. Project Scheduling
Scheduling is instrumental to every project execution plan. It acts as an effective guide during the project tenure. Most project managers often opt to divide the entire project tasks into smaller and less complex portions. Create milestones and deadlines to map out laudable achievements along the project’s life cycle.
During the project’s life cycle, scope creeps situations often arise that necessitate changes in the project schedule. You need to prepare all project stakeholders for these eventualities.
The project manager is responsible for making significant adjustments to the goals. He or she has to ensure there is no direct impact on the project schedule by these eventualities.
Some of the best project scheduling software you can use to schedule your projects include Monday.com, ClickUp, Wrike, Smartsheet, and Teamwork.
5. Project Organizational Components
Components and details of the project organization are critical as it helps to streamline important details of the project execution plan.
- Important Stakeholders Information: Detailing out each project stakeholder's unique and collective role and responsibility to the project process is important. This aims to ensure the authoritative process and structure of the project team are not confused.
- Decision-Making Roles: The proper identification of the various roles each project stakeholder has to play in the project is pivotal to ensuring proper cohesion among team members. Properly detail the chain of command in the project execution plan to leave no room for disorganization.
- Methods: The organization of a project involves various methods varying from coordination to reporting and monitoring.
- Approach Toward Team Involvement: Developing the right approach towards team performance on tasks is pivotal to a successful implementation of the project execution plan. The choice is always between whether to stick with individual tasks or arrange team members into groups and assign tasks as teams.
How to Create a Project Execution Plan
In a bid to write efficient and well-detailed project execution plans, you need to make lots of considerations in the overall decision-making process to ensure timely delivery of the project.
Step 1: Starting the Execution Process with a Project Kickoff Meeting
The first step to creating a good project execution plan is to ensure all project members are on board and agree on the next course of action. After the successful completion of the project planning process, the need arises for the implementation of the set plans.
This next stage is where the need for a project execution plan comes in. Ensure the plan for the implementation of strategies that are widely understood and accepted by all project stakeholders.
The project manager needs to call a project kickoff meeting aimed at proposing and settling differences that may arise in the course of creating the project execution plan. Projects can be complex. The project team needs all the available and necessary help they can get.
A project execution plan meeting should focus on getting the project stakeholders to agree on important details like the project's timelines, deliverables, scope, and budgets. Once the important details of the project execution plan have been deliberated and agreed on, the project can then move on to the next phase of implementing the agreed plans.
The easiest, stress-free, and efficient way of implementing the project execution plan is through the use of project management software. These applications help in monitoring the project in real-time on commencement.
They also help in keeping track of everything surrounding the project execution plan and the implementation process, from the objectives and budgets down to risks and deliverables.
Step 2: Monitoring and Controlling Risk Factors
As often experienced in all projects, the appearance of various risks aiming at impeding the project process is inevitable. However, the presence of a well-detailed project execution plan helps to cushion its effects.
Every project execution plan should contain measures in place to counteract such risks as they arise. The best way to counteract and manage these risks as they surface is to:
- Seek Solutions from Experienced Stakeholders: Interview project stakeholders with prior knowledge on the complexities of this type of project and find out about their assessment of the various risks which have affected their handling of the previous organization or team's projects.
- Identify Risks: You can identify risks before they occur through the use of an efficient situational analysis framework structure aimed at predicting the likely occurrence of risk factors. Create a list of any possible risk factors that could harm the project and efficiently create measures to counteract their effect. The harder and more damaging risk factors should be acted upon first. In the eventuality that something goes wrong, the complex and more damaging risks are already out of the way and the project process is likely near the completion stage.
- Proper Project Planning: Properly analyze project planning documentation in a bid to identify the inherent risks associated with the project process.
Monitoring risks can be a time-consuming and disheartening process. Using web-based project management software and tools helps to make the seemingly time-consuming and stressful process a lighter experience.
Online project management software tools help by providing heads up on the possible risk factors that may arise during the project process. They detail the possible impact it might have on the project.
Step 3: Managing All Activities in Real-Time
Periodic and regular tracking of the project is paramount to the successful completion of the project process. It is difficult to track project deliverables and budgets without setting up proper progress trackers which helps to spot problems out in real-time.
Project tracking software helps you track your projects and prevents you from missing out on crucial deadlines.
The managing process of your project often involves the need to have regular check-ins with project team members. This helps project managers have an idea of the happenings around the project process. The two best ways of managing the activities of your project process in real-time during the project execution phase are daily check-ins and regular progress meetings.
- Daily Check-Ins: Project managers should ensure they inculcate the culture of checking in daily with members of the project team. This aims at ensuring the members of the project team are accountable. It allows project managers to regularly track the progress of the project.
- Regular Progress Meetings: Carry out regular and periodic progress meetings where discussions on the project’s timelines, progress, milestones, and potential issues arising are the main items on the agenda of the meetings.
Step 4: Check Everything Before You Deliver The Project
The final and concluding step of the project execution phase is to ensure everything concerning the project is in order and you are signing off on the right track.
Project managers are responsible for testing, accepting, and approving every aspect of the execution process before successfully delivering the deliverable to the project sponsor or client. They have to ensure the to-be handed-over project is completely free and devoid of errors and mistakes. The benefits of a well-planned project plan are visible in this final stage as there is no pressure on project managers to hasten project processes due to the worry of late deliverables and bloated budgets. Project managers will have enough time to carry out much-needed final checks on the project to ensure it is error-free.