Project planning goes beyond just the schedule estimates, encompassing the goals, deliverables, major activities, assumptions, risks, and more. These templates, guidelines, and examples here will help you get agreement on these high-level project decisions among all of the project's stakeholders, customers, and team members. For additional resources, see our Planning and Scope Know-How page. You may also want to review our list of Scheduling and Estimating templates, or our page on Agile project management.
Planning Process Examples and Guidelines
Micro-Project Plan Template and Example
A simple, fast template for planning so-called micro-projects–short, usually low-cost, low-effort projects that will take just a few days, or at most a few weeks, to complete. A fast outline to keep you organized and help you spot and overcome obstacles to success.
Collaborative Milestone-Driven Planning Process
What do you do when you have to plan a complex project involving members from different organizations with varying expectations about planning -- level of detail, who does it, whose work has to show up in the plan, etc.? Try this approach to practical collaborative planning that works off visible "business milestones" important to the success of each and every group on the team.
Projectized Holiday Gift Shopping
A seasonal and only slightly silly example of how project management frameworks and development processes can be tailored to provide benefits on any type of project.
Guideline to help project managers and project teams adapt a product built for release within the U.S. or North America to other international marketplaces.
Agile Technique Brief: Agile Planning
This guideline explains what planning looks like on an agile project, as well as what kind of projects are most likely to benefit from it, and how to organize successful planning for your agile project at the release, iteration, and day-to-day level.
Project Concept: Vision, Mission, and Scope Definition
A template and tips for conducting a SWOT Analysis—a review of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats affecting the subject of the analysis. SWOT analysis is often used to evaluate strategic choices (project objectives, priorities, etc.) and can also be used to review potential impacts on things like a process, solution, or business entity.
Agile Technique Brief: Project Value Models
Learn to reach agreement on the project purpose, risks, constraints, assumptions, and more, and use that information to decide which projects and features to develop, prioritize them, and keep the priorities consistent with changing circumstances.
Guideline: Conducting a Gap Analysis
Whether it's launching a new project or discovering how well the current solution is meeting expectations, you need to know how to get there from here. A gap analysis will help you figure out where there is, where here is, and how best to bridge any gaps between them.
New Project Proposal
Templates providing a consistent format for the capture and evaluation of new product and project ideas.
Project Business Case
Create a compelling justification for your project by documenting the anticipated costs and ROI, in context of all the reasonable alternatives. Documenting a business case gives your sponsor information required to understand risks and get funding approval, and can give your team a barometer for success throughout the project.
Opportunity Screening Worksheet
This is an Opportunity Screening worksheet used to help determine if an idea is worth enough to the company to commission a product development project. The management team at your organization can use this worksheet to evaluate a number of factors in determining if a new product development project should be undertaken and identify the important issues in making that decision. The worksheet is written for analyzing a specific product idea - with respect to the market, the company's capability, potential market risks, return to the company, etc. With some deletion of items and minor modifications, the worksheet can be used for a benefits analysis for projects other than product development projects.
Project Definition - Vision Document
Is your project team having problems seeing the project horizon? Improve their eyesight with this agreement on the high-level purpose and scope of the project using a Vision Document.
Once your project idea has been evaluated and approved for further investigation, you need to communicate the major parameters and high-level information. This template for a succinct project charter helps you summarize that critical information.
Guidelines - Completion Criteria
Completion criteria are explicit goals that must be attained to call an element of a project, or the entire project, "complete."
Project Plan Documentation
Special Event Safety Plan
This document provides an outline and sample content for a special event safety and emergency plan. Typical events that might need a plan like this include parades, summer concerts, city festivals, and holiday observances. Employers could use a plan like this to improve safety at company picnics, job fairs, or similar events. It will not cover all contingencies, but it will get the conversation started.
Generic Project Plan Document
A project plan document outline, with annotations to explain the use of each section, to make it easier to adapt the plan for different situations.
Development Project Plan
An outline for a Development Plan document that summarizes the project goals and the major activities across the different functional groups necessary to achieve those goals.
Maintenance Planning Guidelines and Plan Outline
This guideline will help you identify the appropriate types and timing of maintenance planning for your project, integrate it into your over all project plan, and eventually produce a full-blown maintenance plan.
An example of a thorough marketing plan outline, highlighting the activities and areas required for an effective marketing campaign. It can be customized for your new product or service, or applied to marketing a product or service already in the channel.
Creating a Manufacturing Plan for New Product
Manufacturing Plan with early insight and tracking in mind. Allows Operations and Manufacturing to do adequate preparation for people, capital, facilities and other resources while giving visibility to early back and forth tradeoffs with Development.
Project Alternatives Tradeoff Table
Use this template to cut through all the complex decisions that can plague the front end of a project. The table gives your team a concise way to document (and communicate!) the alternatives you are considering for scope and features, and the impact of various combinations on the project's cost, schedule, resources, and risk. Getting it all onto a page or two can really help a cross-functional team reach agreement on a reasonable scope that meets most important customer requirements.
New Product Business Plan
A template for a Product/Project Business Plan that describes a new project for inclusion in the corporation portfolio of projects.
PM Appointment Letter
Letter template announcing the appointment of a project manager to a newly-approved project and expressing sponsor support for it.
Project Plan Example - Small Project
Are a 20-30 page dense project plan and hefty schedule file just too much for that smaller but important effort you've got to get done? No fear, project plans "lite" can take many useful and practical forms. Check out this example from one company's project to unify its Product Development Life-cycle methodology across 3 sites after an acquisition.
Software Project Plan
A thorough and detailed template for creating a software development plan, with annotations. It includes making tradeoffs on scope, resources, schedule and other issues with a quality focus, Excel worksheets for capacity planning, and much more.
An outline for documenting how the hardware and/or software in a system will be integrated before system test. Great for making sure the integration steps have been thought through (rather than defining an amorphous block of time for integration then hoping everything comes out at the end!)
System Test Plan
An annotated document outline for a System Test Plan. Describes how the team will internally verify that the system as a whole functions as planned under a variety of use conditions, before performing any external customer beta or acceptance testing. Also includes System Test Report outline for documenting and communicating results.
User Documentation Plan
A checklist for planning the creation of the user and support documentation for a product. Examples of this documentation include user and service manuals, labeling text, box inserts, training manuals, etc.
Project Plan Signoff Checklist
This checklist helps the project manager and other stakeholders ensure the plan and high-level design are truly complete before officially signing off on the design and planning phase of a project.