How to Create a Winning Project Plan

By Kate Eby | May 25, 2022

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Creating a project plan can be overwhelming, but that doesn’t always have to be the case. We provide the basics steps for how to write a project plan.

In this article, you’ll learn how to write a project plan . You’ll find helpful tips and a downloadable template starter kit so that you don’t have to worry about formatting and can hit the ground running.

What Is a Project Plan?

A project plan is a document that outlines what’s needed to complete a project. This can cover a project scope overview, a budget breakdown, a detailed schedule of deliverables, and a rundown  of potential risks and stakeholders.

A project plan contains much of the same information as a project charter, but includes finalized details and a more specific schedule and budget. Think of a project charter  as the blueprint for your project plan; the charter lays out your intent before the project begins. A project plan maps out the processes necessary to complete it. Your project plan should always be up to date and serve as a source of truth for a project’s status.

How to Write a Project Plan

Writing a project plan starts with finalizing your project information. Create an overview and a scope statement, determine a deliverables schedule, and define a budget. Include a risk management strategy, a communication plan, and any other documents your project needs.

Project planning is fundamentally about balancing the goals, schedule, and costs in a way that demonstrates that you can control the project’s scope. You may consider adopting the use of project planning templates to maintain consistency between projects and build on them over time. 

A project plan also includes all the supporting documents that walk your stakeholders, clients, and team through the project.

1. Write a Project Overview

The overview is a short introduction to the project, not exceeding a page or so in length. Summarize the high-level details, covering project goals, deliverables, success measurements, and dependencies. Include the project’s sponsors and their titles, and name the project. 

Add links to project portals or dashboards to give stakeholders a place to conveniently check on status and to access more detailed documents in the project plan.

Project Overview Statement Template

Download Project Overview Statement Template Microsoft Word | Adobe PDF

Use this template to provide a high-level summary of a project’s goals, scope, risks, schedule, budget, and success metrics. Add links to your company’s risk management plan , a detailed budget, and your project schedule. This template is fully customizable, so you can add or remove text to include only the information you need.

2. Define the Project’s Scope

Outlining your project’s scope is important for controlling scope creep . Define the project’s deliverables and goals. It is just as crucial to highlight what is within a project’s scope as what is outside of it. 

A project’s scope may shift, but consider the changes against the project as a whole and update them in the project plan when approved.

3. Create a Project Schedule

The project schedule should be visual and easy to read, showing how each task contributes to the project’s main goal. Note the people and resources needed for each task and subtask, how long each will take, and the dependencies between them. 

Depending on your project management strategy, you might consider using Gantt charts , Kanban boards , or shared calendars to create the schedule. Whatever you choose, ensure that your project status is updated on the schedule and that tasks are marked when started, completed, or falling behind.

Leave room in your schedule for roadblocks, emergencies, and tasks that may take more time. Consult with your team about how long each task has required in the past and use their feedback to inform the schedule. Create the schedule based on how long the work takes, not how long you wish it would take.

Project Schedule Template

Download Project Schedule Template Microsoft Excel | Google Sheets | Smartsheet

Use this customizable project schedule template to create a visual map of your project’s tasks and phases. The template will use any dates you add to the matrix to create a Gantt chart. You also have space for project notes.

4. Finalize the Project Budget

Your project plan should have the approved spending plan or time-phased budget that lists all costs by time period. Make sure to itemize the budget and keep it as close to reality as possible. Include room in the budget for unforeseen and emergency expenditures, and account for any additional resources you may need. Plan to update it immediately when emergencies arise or when tasks cost more. It is important to know ahead of time what kind of costs need executive approval and to make a plan to get that approval ahead of time.

Project Budget Template

Download Project Budget Template Microsoft Excel | Google Sheets

Use this customizable project budget template to create a detailed, line-item budget for the project. Add labor and materials rates or the fixed cost for each task in your project. The template will automatically calculate the costs and compare your actual budget to your estimates, so it’s easy to tell if you’re going over.

5. Identify a Risk Management Strategy

Make a list of the specific risks your project faces, and outline a strategy to manage them . If your company already has a general risk management plan in place, it may not be necessary to reproduce it in your project plan as long as you highlight the individual risks that apply to your project. Talk to other project managers and your team about the obstacles they faced, and ask for tips for addressing similar challenges.

6. Write a Communication Plan

Create a communication plan to establish how and when you’ll share updates with stakeholders. The plan will list your project’s key stakeholders and team members, as well as their contact information and when they should receive project updates. You can use this document to outline the kinds of updates each stakeholder wishes to receive, and map out a schedule for planned meetings and reports.

Project Communication Plan Template

Download Project Communication Plan Template Microsoft Word | Adobe PDF | Google Docs

Download this project communication plan template to document your key stakeholders’ contact details and their preferred contact style and frequency. Input your communication goals and customize the plan to include scheduled meetings, progress reports, and status reports.

7. Finalize All Documents and Get Sponsor Approval

The final project plan should include all of the information above and any additional documents that might be relevant to your particular project. 

Additional elements you might include in a project plan include the following:

  • A link to your project charter
  • A quality assurance plan
  • Your work breakdown structure
  • Your project management methodology or framework
  • Links and access to necessary permits and certifications

Present the final plan to your sponsor and get their approval. If they request any changes, take this opportunity to make them.

8. Save and Share Your Plan

Once you’ve approved your project plan, save it in a centralized, easily accessible location, and share it with project stakeholders and your team. Ensure that all schedule and budget documents are updated regularly so that the project plan always accurately reflects your project’s status. Any critical changes to the plan itself should only be adjusted through the approved change control and management process.

Tips for Writing a Good Project Plan

Writing a good project plan begins with good organization. Use templates and software to keep your plan up to date and accessible. 

Follow these tips for writing a good project plan:

  • Write Clearly: Don’t complicate the plan with details that your audience already knows, such as your organization’s existing risk management or change control policies . Provide the information that your readers need to know about the specific project, not the entire company.
  • Use Formatting and Be Specific: Some people will skim the plan, while others will pore over every detail. To make it consumable for all, use visual charts for schedules and budgets, bullet points for lists, and bold fonts to highlight important details. The skimmers will get the high-level information they need, and the detail-oriented will be able to drill down into the information they want.
  • Keep It Updated: Even though the project plan contains a series of documents, don’t let it become something that stakeholders ignore or forget because it no longer has relevant information. Use an updated project plan to maintain support and enthusiasm for the work ahead. 
  • Use Your Project Charter: The project charter is the basis for your project plan. A detailed project charter includes similar information. Build off of the speculative schedules and budgets you already created.
  • Use Templates and Software: Using project plan templates for your project plan documents is a great way to ensure consistency between teams and projects. Many project management software solutions also provide methods for creating, organizing, and sharing project plan information as well.
  • Involve Your Team: Make sure to talk with your team before the project starts. They are the people who ensure the project succeeds, so get their input and buy-in during the planning process. They will likely have insight that you do not, and they will ask questions that will surface important details. Involving your team in the planning process also builds trust, as they feel closer to the project and more invested in its success.

Project Plan Starter Kit

Project plan starter kit

Download Project Plan Starter Kit

We’ve collected the templates above to create a project plan starter kit that makes it easy to write your own project plan. In this kit, you’ll find customizable templates to create a project overview, a project budget, a detailed schedule, and a communication plan. Together, these documents form the foundation of a solid project plan and will help get your project off the ground.

Use Smartsheet Project Management Tools to Create and Implement Your Project Plan

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The Smartsheet platform makes it easy to plan, capture, manage, and report on work from anywhere, helping your team be more effective and get more done. Report on key metrics and get real-time visibility into work as it happens with roll-up reports, dashboards, and automated workflows built to keep your team connected and informed. 

When teams have clarity into the work getting done, there’s no telling how much more they can accomplish in the same amount of time.  Try Smartsheet for free, today.

Discover why over 90% of Fortune 100 companies trust Smartsheet to get work done.

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  • What is project planning? (Plus, 7 ste ...

What is project planning? (Plus, 7 steps to write a successful project plan)

Julia Martins contributor headshot

Organize your projects with project plans to keep things on track—before you even start. A project plan houses all the necessary details of your project, such as goals, tasks, scope, deadlines, and deliverables. This shows stakeholders a clear roadmap of your project, ensures you have the resources for it, and holds everyone accountable from the start. In this article, we teach you the seven steps to create your own project plan.

Project plans are essential to keeping your project organized and on track. A great project plan will help you kick off your work with all the necessary pieces—from goals and budgets to milestones and communication plans—in one place. Save yourself time (and a few headaches) by creating a work plan that will make your project a success.

What is a project planning?

Project planning is the second stage in the project management process, following project initiation and preceding project execution. During the project planning stage, the project manager creates a project plan, which maps out project requirements. The project planning phase typically includes setting project goals, designating project resources, and mapping out the project schedule.

What is a project plan?

If you're still unsure about what a project plan is, here's how it differs from other project elements:

Project plan vs. work plan: A project plan and a work plan are the same thing. Different teams or departments might prefer one term or another—but they both ultimately describe the same thing: a list of big-picture action steps you need to take to hit your  project objectives .

Project plan vs. project charter: A project charter is an outline of your project. Mostly, you use project charters to get signoff from key stakeholders before you start. Which means your project charter comes before your project plan. A project charter is an outline of a simple project plan—it should only include your project objectives, scope, and responsibilities. Then, once your charter has been approved, you can create a project plan to provide a more in-depth blueprint of the key elements of your project.

Project plan vs. project scope: Your project scope defines the size and boundaries of your project. As part of your project plan, you should outline and share the scope of your project with all project stakeholders. If you’re ever worried about scope creep , you can refer back to your pre-defined scope within your project plan to get back on track.

Project plan vs. agile project: Agile project management is a framework to help teams break work into iterative, collaborative components . Agile frameworks are often run in conjunction with scrum and sprint methodologies. Like any project, an Agile project team can benefit from having a project plan in place before getting started with their work.

Project plan vs. work breakdown structure: Similar to a project plan, your work breakdown structure (WBS) helps you with project execution. While the project plan focuses on every aspect of your project, the WBS is focused on deliverables—breaking them down into sub-deliverables and project tasks. This helps you visualize the whole project in simple steps. Because it’s a visual format, your WBS is best viewed as a Gantt chart (or timeline), Kanban board , or calendar—especially if you’re using project management software .

Why are project plans important?

Project plans set the stage for the entire project. Without one, you’re missing a critical step in the overall project management process . When you launch into a project without defined goals or objectives, it can lead to disorganized work, frustration, and even scope creep. A clear, written project management plan provides a baseline direction to all stakeholders, while also keeping everyone accountable. It confirms that you have the resources you need for the project before it actually begins.

A project plan also allows you, as the person in charge of leading execution, to forecast any potential challenges you could run into while the project is still in the planning stages. That way, you can ensure the project will be achievable—or course-correct if necessary. According to a study conducted by the  Project Management Institute , there is a strong correlation between project planning and project success—the better your plan, the better your outcome. So, conquering the planning phase also makes for better project efficiency and results.

[Product UI] Brand campaign project plan in Asana, spreadsheet-style list (Lists)

7 steps to write a project plan to keep you on track

To create a clear project management plan, you need a way to track all of your moving parts . No matter what type of project you’re planning, every work plan should have:

Goals and project objectives

Success metrics

Stakeholders and roles

Scope and budget

Milestones , deliverables , and project dependencies

Timeline and schedule

Communication plan.

Not sure what each of these mean or should look like? Let’s dive into the details:

Step 1: Define your goals and objectives

You’re working on this project plan for a reason—likely to get you, your team, or your company to an end goal. But how will you know if you’ve reached that goal if you have no way of measuring success?

Every successful project plan should have a clear, desired outcome. Identifying your goals provides a rationale for your project plan. It also keeps everyone on the same page and focused on the results they want to achieve. Moreover, research shows that employees who know how their work is contributing to company objectives are 2X as motivated . Yet only 26% of employees have that clarity. That’s because most goal-setting happens separate from the actual work. By defining your goals within your work plan, you can connect the work your team is doing directly to the project objectives in real-time.

What's the difference between project goals and project objectives?

In general, your project goals should be higher-level than your project objectives. Your project goals should be SMART goals that help you measure project success and show how your project aligns with business objectives . The purpose of drafting project objectives, on the other hand, is to focus on the actual, specific deliverables you're going to achieve at the end of your project. Your project plan provides the direction your team needs to hit your goals, so you can create a workflow that hits project objectives.

Your project  plan  provides the direction your team needs to hit your goals, by way of your project objectives. By incorporating your goals directly into your planning documentation, you can keep your project’s North Star on hand. When you’re defining your project scope, or outlining your project schedule, check back on your goals to make sure that work is in favor of your main objectives.

Step 2: Set success metrics

Once you’ve defined your goals, make sure they’re measurable by setting key success metrics. While your goal serves as the intended result, you need success metrics to let you know whether or not you’re performing on track to achieve that result. The best way to do that is to set  SMART goals . With SMART goals, you can make sure your success metrics are clear and measurable, so you can look back at the end of your project and easily tell if you hit them or not.

For example, a goal for an event might be to host an annual 3-day conference for SEO professionals on June 22nd. A success metric for that goal might be having at least 1,000 people attend your conference. It’s both clear and measurable.

Step 3: Clarify stakeholders and roles

Running a project usually means getting  collaborators  involved in the execution of it. In your project management plan, outline which team members will be a part of the project and what each person’s role will be. This will help you decide who is responsible for each task (something we’ll get to shortly) and let stakeholders know how you expect them to be involved.

During this process, make sure to define the various roles and responsibilities your stakeholders might have. For example, who is directly responsible for the project’s success? How is your project team structured (i.e. do you have a project manager, a project sponsor , etc.)? Are there any approvers that should be involved before anything is finalized? What cross-functional stakeholders should be included in the project plan? Are there any  risk management factors  you need to include?

Consider using a system, such as a  RACI chart , to help determine who is driving the project forward, who will approve decisions, who will contribute to the project, and who needs to remain informed as the project progresses.

Then, once you’ve outlined all of your roles and stakeholders, make sure to include that documentation in your project plan. Once you finalize your plan, your work plan will become your cross-functional source of truth.

Step 4: Set your budget

Running a project usually costs money. Whether it’s hiring freelancers for content writing or a catering company for an event, you’ll probably be spending some cash.

Since you’ve already defined your goals and stakeholders as part of your project plan, use that information to establish your budget. For example, if this is a cross-functional project involving multiple departments, will the departments be splitting the project cost? If you have a specific goal metric like event attendees or new users, does your proposed budget support that endeavor?

By establishing your project budget during the project planning phase (and before the spending begins), you can get approval, more easily track progress, and make smart, economical decisions during the implementation phase of your project. Knowing your budget beforehand helps you with resource management , ensuring that you stay within the initial financial scope of the project. Planning helps you determine what parts of your project will cost what—leaving no room for surprises later on.

Step 5: Align on milestones, deliverables, and project dependencies

An important part of planning your project is setting milestones, or specific objectives that represent an achievement. Milestones don’t require a start and end date, but hitting one marks a significant accomplishment during your project. They are used to measure progress. For example, let’s say you’re working to develop a  new product for your company . Setting a milestone on your project timeline for when the prototype is finalized will help you measure the progress you’ve made so far.

A project deliverable , on the other hand, is what is actually produced once you meet a milestone. In our product development example, we hit a milestone when we produced the deliverable, which was the prototype. You can also use project dependencies —tasks that you can’t start until others are finished. Dependencies ensure that work only starts once it’s ready. Continuing the example, you can create a project dependency to require approval from the project lead before prototype testing begins.  

If you’re using our free project plan template , you can easily organize your project around deliverables, dependencies, and milestones. That way, everyone on the team has clear visibility into the work within your project scope, and the milestones your team will be working towards.

Step 6: Outline your timeline and schedule

In order to achieve your project goals, you and your stakeholders need clarity on your overall project timeline and schedule. Aligning on the time frame you have can help you better prioritize during strategic planning sessions.

Not all projects will have clear-cut timelines. If you're working on a large project with a few unknown dates, consider creating a  project roadmap  instead of a full-blown project timeline. That way, you can clarify the order of operations of various tasks without necessarily establishing exact dates.

Once you’ve covered the high-level responsibilities, it’s time to focus some energy on the details. In your  work plan template , start by breaking your project into tasks, ensuring no part of the process is skipped. Bigger tasks can even be broken down into smaller subtasks, making them more manageable.

Then, take each task and subtask, and assign it a start date and end date. You’ll begin to visually see everything come together in a  cohesive project timeline . Be sure to add stakeholders, mapping out who is doing what by when.

[Product UI] Brand campaign project in Asana, Gantt chart-style view (Timeline)

Step 7: Share your communication plan

We’ve established that most projects include multiple stakeholders. That means communication styles will vary among them. You have an opportunity to set your expectations up front for this particular project in your project plan. Having a communication plan is essential for making sure everyone understands what’s happening, how the project is progressing, and what’s going on next. And in case a roadblock comes up, you’ll already have a clear communication system in place.

As you’re developing your communication plan, consider the following questions:

How many project-related meetings do you need to have? What are their goals?

How will you manage project status updates ? Where will you share them?

What tool will you use to manage the project and communicate progress and updates?

[inline illustration] Communication plan for brand campaign in Asana (example)

Like the other elements of your project plan, make sure your communication plan is easily accessible within your project plan. Stakeholders and cross-functional collaborators should be able to easily find these guidelines during the planning and execution phases of your project. Using project planning tools or task management software that integrates with apps like Slack and Gmail can ensure all your communication happens in one easily accessible place. 

Example project plan

Next, to help you understand what your project management plan should look like, here are two example plans for marketing and design projects that will guide you during your own project planning.

Project plan example: annual content calendar

Let’s say you’re the Content Lead for your company, and it’s your responsibility to create and deliver on a content marketing calendar for all the content that will be published next year. You know your first step is to build your work plan. Here’s what it might look like:

Goals and success metrics

You establish that your goal for creating and executing against your content calendar is to increase engagement by 10%. Your success metrics are the open rate and click through rate on emails, your company’s social media followers, and how your pieces of content rank on search engines.

Stakeholders and each person’s role

There will be five people involved in this project.

You, Content Lead: Develop and maintain the calendar

Brandon and Jamie, Writers: Provide outlines and copy for each piece of content

Nate, Editor: Edit and give feedback on content

Paula, Producer: Publish the content once it’s written and edited

Your budget for the project plan and a year’s worth of content is $50,000.

Milestones and deliverables

Your first milestone is to finish the content calendar, which shows all topics for the year. The deliverable is a sharable version of the calendar. Both the milestone and the deliverables should be clearly marked on your project schedule.

You’ve determined that your schedule for your content calendar project plan will go as follows:

October 15 - November 1: The research phase to find ideas for topics for content

November 2 - November 30: Establish the topics you’ll write about

December 1 - January 1: Build the calendar

January 1 - December 31: Content will be written by Brandon and Jamie, and edited by Nate, throughout the year

January 16 - December 31: Paula will begin publishing and continue to do so on a rolling basis throughout the year.

You’ll have a kick-off meeting and then monthly update meetings as part of your communication plan. Weekly status updates will be sent on Friday afternoons. All project-related communication will occur within a  project management tool .

How ClassPass manages project plans from start to finish

Kerry Hoffman, Senior Project Manager of Marketing Operations at  ClassPass , oversees all marketing projects undertaken by the creative, growth, and content teams. Here are her top three strategies for managing project plans:

Identify stakeholders up front: No matter the size of the project, it’s critical to know who the stakeholders are and their role in the project so you ensure you involve the right people at each stage. This will also make the review and approval process clear before the team gets to work.

Agree on how you want to communicate about your project: Establish where and when communication should take place for your project to ensure that key information is captured in the right place so everyone stays aligned.

Be adaptable and learn other people’s working styles: Projects don’t always go according to plan, but by implementing proper integration management you can keep projects running smoothly. Also, find out how project members like to work so you take that into account as you create your plan. It will help things run smoother once you begin executing.

Write your next project plan like a pro

Congratulations—you’re officially a work planning pro. With a few steps, a little bit of time, and a whole lot of organization, you’ve successfully written a project plan.

Keep yourself and your team on track, and address challenges early by using project planning software like Asana . Work through each of the steps of your project plan with confidence, and streamline your communications with the team.

Related resources

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7 causes of content calendar chaos—and how to solve them

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How to create project schedules to make work easier

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Marketing campaign management: 7 steps for success

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What is a project plan and how to write a killer plan in 6 steps

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A project plan is an essential document for keeping your project on track. It states the purpose of your project and identifies the scope, structure, resources, goals, deliverables, and timelines.

Without a solid plan, projects typically get delayed and run over budget.

In this high-level guide, we’ll show you how to write a project plan in six steps and share five templates to get you up and running quickly. But first, let’s define a project plan and its various components.

What is a project plan? board for a project management plan

A project plan is a formal document that outlines an entire project’s goals and objectives, specific tasks, and what success looks like.

In addition to setting the purpose of your project, it should include other materials and deliverables relevant to the project, such as:

  • Timelines and Gantt charts for key milestones — like start and end dates, getting your 200th customer, or launching an event or app.
  • Communication plans — to keep everyone informed of progress, achievements, and potential roadblocks.
  • Work breakdown structure — especially if you have multiple team members working on different or simultaneous tasks, in which case, you may also need a Project Planner .
  • Resources needed to complete the project — like project management tools, cash, freelancers, and more.

In short, your project plan serves as a central hub to define, organize, prioritize, and assign activities and resources throughout your project’s life cycle.

What is project planning?

Project planning is the second phase in the project management lifecycle :

  • PHASE 1: Project Initiation  — where you identify a business need or problem and a potential solution.
  • PHASE 2: Project Planning  — where you define specific tasks, assign responsibilities, and create the project schedule.
  • PHASE 3: Project Execution  — where you touch base with resources, monitor the timeline and budget, and report back to stakeholders.
  • PHASE 4: Project Close-out — where you review the success of the project.

During the project planning phase, you extend the project charter document from the initiation phase to create your detailed project plan. Typical tasks within the project planning phase include:

  • Setting a budget.
  • Defining a project schedule or timeline.
  • Creating work breakdown structures.
  • Identifying resources and ensuring availability.
  • Assessing any potential roadblocks and planning for those scenarios .
  • Defining project objectives , roles, deadlines, responsibilities, and project milestones .

Project plan elements

Here’s how a project plan differs from other project planning elements.

Project plan vs. work plan

Although similar, work plans are not as comprehensive as project plans. A work plan focuses on helping project teams achieve smaller objectives, whereas a project plan provides a high-level overview of an entire project’s goals and objectives.

Project plan vs. project charter

A project charter provides an overview of a project. It’s a formal short document that states a project’s existence and authorizes project managers to commence work. The charter describes a project’s goals, objectives, and resource requirements. You create it in the project initiation phase before your project plan and present it to key stakeholders to get the project signed off.

Project plan vs. project scope

Part of your project plan includes the project scope , which clearly defines the size and boundaries of your project. You document the project scope  in three places: a scope statement, work breakdown structure (WBS), and WBS dictionary. It serves as a reference point to monitor project progress, compare actual versus planned results, and avoid scope creep.

Project plan vs. work breakdown structure

A work breakdown structure (WBS) is a hierarchical outline of the tasks required to complete your project. It breaks down large or complicated goals into more manageable tasks so you can execute the project plan. The WBS breaks down the project scope into phases, subprojects, deliverables, and work packages that lead to your final deliverable.

Project plan vs. agile project

An agile project is the opposite of a traditional project plan. Agile projects use an incremental, iterative approach to deliver a project, whereas traditional projects — also known as a waterfall approach — use a cascading, step-by-step planning process. Agile projects are synonymous with software development teams, but you can use them in any field.

Why are project plans important?

Over a third of all projects experience something called scope creep . This is where the team ends up doing more work than originally planned. Much of this can be avoided by accounting for unexpected hold-ups or changes in circumstances within your project plan. A project plan also makes it easy to pinpoint when problems arose, so you can be better prepared for future projects.

If you look at the numbers related to project management, it’s easy to understand where a project management plan could have a positive impact— 45% of projects aren’t completed on time, and 38% of projects are over budget.

Project outcomes from the PMI Pulse 2021

A project plan can help to curtail wily overspending and late turnaround by identifying these issues early. This leaves no room for confusion and delays in the workflow and progress of your projects.

How to create a project plan in 6 steps

There are no hard-and-fast rules for a project plan. However, we recommend you use the following six steps as a springboard for creating one.

1. Start with an executive summary

The executive summary goes at the beginning of your project plan and should summarize the key points of the project plan . It should restate the purpose of the project plan, highlight the major points of the plan, and describe any results, conclusions, or recommendations from the project.

Even though it is at the beginning of your project plan , it’s something you will write last , as you’ll be pulling out the main points from the rest of your plan.

It should be no longer than a page, offering a brief overview of:

  • The project objectives and goals
  • Your chosen project methodology/framework
  • The final deliverables and acceptance criteria
  • Key scope risks and countermeasures
  • Summary of milestones
  • An overview of the project timeline and schedule-based risks
  • Resource and spending estimates

This snapshot of your project makes it easy for key stakeholders who aren’t actively involved in the mechanics of the project to understand it. For project managers, the executive summary serves as a quick reminder of the key project goal, scope, expectations, and limitations. Since almost a third of projects don’t meet their original goals, it’s important that project managers review the project plan regularly to stay on track.

2. Define the project scope

There are few things worse than starting on a project only for it to balloon. By defining a project’s scope , you set the boundaries for a project’s start and end dates as well as expectations about deliverables and who approves requests—and what merits approval— throughout a project.

It also involves outlining the potential risks associated with meeting these expectations and providing countermeasures to mitigate these risks. Identifying exactly who’s accountable for tracking these risks is essential.

This step will help you prevent scope creep, or how a project’s requirements tend to increase over a project lifecycle. Organizations complain that 34% of all their projects experience scope creep, yet only 52% of organizations go to the effort of mostly or always creating a scoping document every time.

3. Structure your project

There are several frameworks you could use to guide your project and this will affect your workflow’s organizations and how deliverables are produced and assigned.

For example, if you’re using the waterfall framework , you’ll be planning everything in advance, working through each stage of development sequentially, and specialized task owners executing their work at a defined time.

Remember that creating too many dependencies within your project structure can negatively impact success, so try to work out ways that teams can work autonomously to achieve deliverables in a timely manner. It’s also good to consider how many approvers are needed to maintain order but also to prevent bottlenecks.

Above all else, it’s important to incorporate set times for team knowledge-sharing, so your projects can be more successful. Make a note of the communication structures you’ll use to encourage collaboration .

4. Check what project resources you have available

Define the resources you have available for this project:

  • Physical resources

You need to be precise when you’re assessing what you’ll need, otherwise you’re baking a cake with all the wrong ingredients. A resource manager or project manager can lead this.

As an example, when teams have the right highly skilled people, projects are 30% more likely to succeed. Yet, a third of people don’t believe their teams have all the right skills for the project—a recipe for failure.

The quantity of team members is also important—if the ratio of work to available people is off, efficiency and quality will suffer. If you want to effectively allocate your resources to meet expectations, you’ll need to be realistic about resource limitations.

This may, for example, mean adjusting timescales if you’re short on staff or increasing your budget if you need more specialist equipment.

5. Map out your project timeline

Organizations that implement time frames into project plans are more likely to succeed. Despite this, 52% of projects don’t always set baseline schedules. That’s probably why 45% of organizations say they rarely or never complete successful projects on time.

In this sense, it’s wise to add a project schedule section to your project plan. This part of your plan should set expectations on when you’ll deliver and how you’ll stick to your project timeline.

Use a Gantt timeline to plan project activities and timings

Your project schedule will look a little different depending on which framework you choose.

The tasks that you have a ‘Work in Progress’ (WIP) will depend on your team’s capacity. In this section, you should set your maximum number of WIPs you can have in each column at each time.

6. Manage your project changes

Organizations put change control in their top three project challenges. If you don’t solidify a change management plan , your team will be clueless about what to do when unplanned change hits. A dynamic change management plan will outline the steps to follow and the person to turn to when unforeseen changes occur.

A key part of this is having a change management tool in place. And monday work management is flexible enough to help you manage all parts of the project life cycle — from planning and monitoring to reporting and resource management. Let’s take a look at a few of our templates that can help you get started.

5 project planning templates to help you write a good project plan templates can be lifesavers when it comes to visualizing each section of your project plan, and they make it easy to get started. Try these 5 project plan templates to kickstart your project planning process.

1. Project Plan Template

Looking for a general project plan template? Try one of our project plan templates . Project timeline template

Using this highly visual template by, you can structure your subprojects by set time periods and allocate accountable personnel to each phase.

Prioritize each project and add a timeline to show when deliverables are expected.

2. Resource Utilization Template

Resource management allows teams to focus on executing tasks, projects, and processes efficiently and achieve shared goals at scale. resource management

You can allocate resources to individuals and tack on timescales so your staff knows what resources they’re responsible for in which phase. Adding a location makes it easy for teams to know where to hand over resources as they transition from one phase to the next—and they can check this on our mobile app.

Use the Workload view to manage your team’s time proactively and get an overview of the workload and capacity of each person on the team.

Use the Workload view to manage your team’s time proactively and get an overview of the workload and capacity of each person on the team.

3. Project Cost Management Template

It’s far easier to plan a budget when you can see all your costs in one place.

That’s why this Project Cost Management Template from is so incredibly handy. Project Cost Management Template

Add each subproject and plan out projected costs, allocating totals to each department. You can use the document to estimate the budget you’ll need and to record your approved project budget. You can then use our dashboards or reports to see the information in a different, more colorful way.

4. Project Timeline Template

Plan out your schedules with this Project Timeline Template . Project Timeline Template

While this dashboard isn’t really suitable if you’re working with the Kanban framework, it’s ideal for those operating under Waterfall or Scrum frameworks.

For Waterfall projects, add in your milestones, attach a timeline, and allocate a set number of workdays to complete the tasks for each milestone.

Tag the team leader for each phase so project managers know which milestones they’re responsible for.

During project execution, teams can use the status bar to track progress. They can also add updates to each milestone by clicking on each item, which encourages inter-team collaboration.

For Scrum projects, you can organize the dashboard by Sprints, adding in the specific tasks as they’re decided.

5. Program Risk Register Template

Visualize all your project scope and schedule risks in this Program Risk Register Template . Program Risk Register Template

Use color-coded status bars to illustrate risk status, risk probability, and risk impact for your project scope and schedule.

You can even categorize risks, add a risk owner, and suggest mitigation strategies. That way other project team members know what to do if these risks start to blossom into real glitches.

Optimize your project management plan with the right tool

Project plans are an essential part of your team’s success.

While they are detail-oriented and complex, creating one and managing it shouldn’t be a struggle. Use’s pre-built planning templates to help you break down each section of the plan as you go and monitor everything in real-time.

Try monday work management, and see for yourself how much smoother your next project will run when you can consolidate all your project planning materials in one place.

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  • Free Project Management Software
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  • Asana vs Monday
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  • What is Agile Project Management?
  • Key Benefits of Agile Methodology
  • Most Important Agile Metrics
  • Agile Manifesto: Values and Principles
  • Agile Project Management Certifications

Project Documentation Guide (with Examples and Templates)

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Creating and managing projects is crucial for the effective running of any organization. Many project teams tend to struggle to repeat the same success levels they reached in previous projects or keep on repeating the same mistakes they made in previous projects. You can trace this to the lack of a solid project documentation process.

Effective project documentation is key for recording successful new projects. Establishing a dependable project documentation process helps you emulate past process successes and minimize previous failures or shortcomings.

The job of project documentation is to help you track your project’s progress and carve out a more organized and systematic way of executing and managing your projects.

Despite its clear importance, many project managers prefer not to use it due to how tedious, repetitive, and boring the process may seem. However, what often separates a successful project from a failed one is comprehensive project documentation.

In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about project documentation.

Let’s get started.

What is Project Documentation?

Project documentation is the process of adequately keeping records of key project details in an organized manner. All the documents about the project process produced during the project process are what comprise project documentation. Examples of project documents range from project proposals to business cases to project status reports .

Status Report Template

Proper project documentation ensures key documents needed for successful and prompt implementation of project strategies are readily available.

The project documentation process lists out a clear and well-detailed procedural method for the proper organization of key project documents. This ensures the project process goes on as smoothly as possible and key documents are within the reach of the project team.

Examples of Project Documents

Defining what is to be documented during a project process is dependent on the project description. Big projects require much more documentation than small-scale projects. But overall, some basic documents are needed irrespective of the project’s job description.

1. Project Proposal

A project proposal is often the first official document created for a project process. This document serves as the project initiator. The aim of creating this document is to paint a clear picture in the mind of the key project members and stakeholders on why they should buy into the project ideas.

Simple Project Proposal Template

2. Project Charter

The project charter is a key project document that serves as one of the foundational building blocks of the project planning process.

A well-drawn-up project charter should contain the ways the project would achieve its desired results. In addition, the project charter should also detail the key requirements, budgetary allocation, and the roles and responsibilities of every project undertaker.

Project Charter Template

3. Project Plan

The project plan serves as an efficient road map for the project. A good project plan details the key project milestones and the timeline expected for its completion.

Regarded as the most flexible of all the project documents, the project plan is often subjected to changes throughout the project process.

Simple Project Plan Template

4. Project Status Report

Keeping all project stakeholders on the happenings around the project process is important. The document that does just that is the project status report.

This essential project management report is designed to provide regular updates to project stakeholders on the progress made on the project. The project status report also spells out the next step to be taken during the project plan implementation phase.

Stoplight Project Status Report Template

Other key project document examples include project scope statement , risk management plan, cost management plan, communication plan, and financial plan.

The Value of Project Documentation

The importance of adequately documenting important project processes as they occur cannot be overemphasized. Proper project documentation makes the project management process much easier.

1. Breeds Effective Knowledge Management

You can learn lessons from previous projects embarked on if you document the former project process properly. Project documentation helps prevent the recurrence of past mistakes .

This also helps improve on the former service delivery as the necessary documented knowledge can now be passed across to the new project.

2. Helps Set and Define Your Project Goals

Project documentation is an efficient guide that helps you effectively set your project goals and define the necessary steps to be taken in achieving the set goals.

Drawing up the necessary project documents needed at the project onset helps give the project a sense of clarity. Project documentation also gives the project team a sense of direction as to where the project is heading based on the project objectives and schedule already detailed in the necessary project documents.

3. Supports the Project Planning Stage

Each project document created by a project team is designed to serve a specific purpose in the project process. These documents serve as the necessary backup for the project planning process and help improve the service delivery of the project process.

4. Gives a Clear Overview of the Project

Keeping up-to-date project documentation ensures all projects are well informed of the status of the project process. Project documentation is an efficient tool project managers use to keep tabs on the project process in real-time.

5. Makes the Project Trackable

Proper project documentation makes the project process traceable and accountable . This encourages transparency as all the details are properly accounted for.

Project documentation helps the project manager in his ability to successfully conduct a thorough project evaluation at the end of the project process.

Project Documentation Tools

The introduction of various project documentation tools has made the project documentation process relatively easier and more efficient. These tools are specially designed to assist in project documentation processes.


Overall best project documentation platform. is the Overall Best Project Documentation Platform is a project management software that provides users with an efficient project documentation tool. This platform is trusted by 127,000 customers including top brands such as BBC Studios, Coca Cola, Hulu, Uber, Universal, Discovery Channel, Deezer, and NBC.

Main Features

  • Templates: This project documentation tool provides users with hundreds of visual and easy-to-customize project documentation templates.
  • Good Customer Support: boasts of a 24/7 customer support system that provides users with personalized and outstanding customer service relations.
  • Project Visualization: With this project management software, you can visualize your work either as a map, calendar, timeline, or Kanban.
  • Integrations: integrates with all your favorite tools such as Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Teams, Dropbox, Slack, Zoom, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Excel, Gmail, LinkedIn, Zapier, and OneDrive.
  • Offers a free 14-day trial period with no credit card required
  • Helps save time with its automation tool
  • Mobile applications
  • Easy collaboration
  • Provides a high level of reporting

2. Filestage

Best-rated project review and approval platform.

Filestage is the Best Rated Project Review and Approval Platform

Filestage is an easy-to-use review and approval software platform that specializes in efficient centralized collaboration. This platform is trusted by top companies such as ABInBev, Emirates, and LG.

  • Due Date Feature: With this feature, you can ensure prompt project delivery and never have to worry about missing a deadline.
  • Feedback: Filestage offers a feedback mechanism where project members can react to newly updated project documents.
  • Doc Sharing: This review and approval software platform makes it easy for users to share their documents in a variety of formats such as DOC, DOCX, PPT, and XLS.
  • Fast approval process
  • Unlimited reviewers
  • Full GDPR compliance
  • AES 256-bit encryption

3. Workzone

Robust online project documentation tool for small, medium, and large organizations.

Workzone is the Robust Online Project Documentation Tool for Small, Medium and Large Organizations

Workzone is a project documentation tool specifically designed to make the project management process relatively easy. This platform is trusted by top institutions such as Boston University, Allianz, Wells Fargo, and Vizient.

  • Approvals Workflow: This project documentation tool addresses any pending approvals quickly to help you avoid delays.
  • File Versioning: Workzone makes it easy for you to track changes made to your project documents. This tool helps project managers to manage the steady inflow of project documents being turned in by different individuals.
  • Project Dashboard: This project management tool allows you to view all your project details such as notes, project plans, action plans, and due dates. You can display your company logos on your project dashboard.
  • Status alerts
  • Gantt charts
  • Project templates

4. TeamGantt

Visual project documentation tool with reliable baselining feature for small businesses.

TeamGantt is the Visual Project Documentation Tool with Reliable Baselining Feature for Small Businesses

TeamGantt is an efficient project documentation software that focuses primarily on visuals. This online Gantt chart maker for project planning is used by top companies such as Intuit, Amazon, Nike, and Netflix.

  • Intuitive Workspace and Workflow: This Gantt chart maker provides you with a smooth user interface that makes managing your workflow easier. You can create color codes for different elements of your workflow, create tasks and milestones with just a few clicks.
  • Baseline Feature: TeamGantt provides you with a baseline feature that helps you monitor your project performance. With this feature, you can compare your current project progress with the projected progress. This makes it easy for you to detect where your project went wrong.
  • PDF and Excel Exports: TeamGantt allows you to create beautiful project proposals and export your deliverables in PDF and Excel File formats.
  • Supports the creation and storage of key project documents
  • Easy to use and intuitive
  • Interactive Gantt charts
  • Great tutorials for beginners

5. Smartsheet

Best project documentation tool with major focus on document sharing and collaborations.

Smartsheet is the Best Project Documentation Tool with Major Focus on Document Sharing and Collaborations

Smartsheet is a project documentation tool that offers users much-needed support throughout the project documentation process. This software is trusted by top brands such as Apple, Pfizer, P&G, and American Express.

  • Smart Task Management: This project management software helps you manage your projects and tasks effectively, You can easily change the start and finish date for any task.
  • Task Roll Up: Smartsheet offers you a comprehensive project summary feature called Task Roll Up. This feature provides you with an overview of your project information such as planned work hours, actual log hours, and percentage completion.
  • Collaborations: This project management platform helps you maintain effective communications among your team members. With its rich array of collaboration features, you can share files, receive notifications on important updates, and set reminders. You can also choose between three permission levels for your team (admin, editors, and viewers).
  • Integration: Smartsheet integrates with popular third-party applications such as Google Docs, Microsoft Teams, Slack, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Zapier, DocuSign, Gmail, Dropbox, Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft OneDrive, and Box.
  • 30-day free trial on paid plans
  • Customizations
  • Multiple templates
  • Easy imports from Google Sheets, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft Projects

How to Document a Project

Taking out time to prepare a project document and the document not getting the needed attention can be very frustrating. This is usually the case because the project document was not presented in the best possible way to project team members.

Getting the much-needed and appreciative response for your efforts at proper project documentation is vastly dependent on how you document the project process.

1. Organize All Project Documents in One Place

As the project process is ongoing, a series of documents tend to emanate from the project process. This is to ensure all the stages involved in the process are adequately accounted for.

In keeping up with these developing stages, project documents are created. These documents tend to become cumbersome due to their volume and it might overwhelm the project team.

Creating an orderly arrangement for the project document and collating them in one centralized location for easy access helps to simplify the project documentation process.

2. Make it Easy to Access and Search

Generating interest from your project team regarding important project documents is a necessary factor to the success of the project process. Key project documents need to be easy to read and understand by all project stakeholders.

Making these key project documents easy to access by all project stakeholders will go a long way in generating much-needed interest.

For ease of convenience, you can also include a search function tool that specifies the particular project document required from loads of project documents available to the project team.

3. Keep it Lightweight

You must ensure your project document is not bulky and too detailed to ensure the document is easy to understand by the project team. Irrespective of the fact that your project document needs to be well-detailed, it should be restricted to key details that affect the project process.

Long pages of project documents prevent the project team from going effectively through them. This grooms a lack of interest. You should ensure your project document is as concise as possible without directly affecting the project’s document efficiency.

4. Keep it Presentable at All Times

Your project document should be kept neat, readable, and presentable at all times during the project process. Changes are likely to occur during the process and your project document should be flexible enough to adapt to these changes as they arise.

You should consider making your project document digital so that you can easily make significant changes without damaging the presentability of your project document.

Project Documentation Template

Several popular but necessary project documentation templates can help you in your project documentation process.

1. Project Business Case Document Template

One Page Business Case Template

Project business case document template is a key project business document that ensures all the necessary business points as regards the project process have been adequately accounted for in the project document.

2. Project Charter Document Template

Project Charter Document Template

The project charter document template is used primarily during the project creation stage. This acts as an efficient guideline which your project team refers to from time to time.

3. Work Breakdown Document Template

Work Breakdown Structure Template

Work breakdown document template is designed to create an adequate project document that meets the specific requirements of your project specification.

4. Risk and Issue Log Template

Risk and Issue Log Template

Risk and issue log document template ensures there is a significant cover on the likely risk and issues that may arise during the project prices

5. Requirement Specification Template

Technical Requirements Document Template

This project documentation template ensures all the specific requirements of the project process are strictly adhered to and met.

6. Communication Plan Template

Communication Plan Template

The communication plan template helps in ensuring there is effective communication among project stakeholders. This template also has the necessary tools to ensure prompt and timely dissemination of information.

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Anastasia belyh.

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Anastasia has been a professional blogger and researcher since 2014. She loves to perform in-depth software reviews to help software buyers make informed decisions when choosing project management software, CRM tools, website builders, and everything around growing a startup business.

Anastasia worked in management consulting and tech startups, so she has lots of experience in helping professionals choosing the right business software.

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How to Create a Realistic Project Plan with Templates & Examples

project planning documentation

As a project manager, a huge part of your role is to write project plans that help you keep projects on track. But that’s not all a project plan should do. 

A project plan is arguably the most important document you’ll create for a project. At its core, a plan should communicate your project approach and the process your team will use to manage the project according to scope.

Let’s take a closer look at how you can develop a rock-solid planning process that guides your team and projects to success.

What is a project plan?

Project plan example: what to include, why you should always write a project plan, 5 steps to an effective project planning process, how to create a project plan in teamgantt, free project plan templates.

A project plan is a document that maps out the tasks, effort, timing, and resources needed to meet project goals within a predefined scope. It’s often presented in the form of a gantt chart because it’s easy to visualize the project timeline and ensure work stays on track.

Any solid project management plan should answer the following questions:

  • What are the major deliverables?
  • How will we get to those deliverables and the deadline?
  • Who’s on the project team, and what role will they play in those deliverables?
  • Which stakeholders need to provide feedback on deliverables, and when?
  • When will the team meet milestones?

A project plan communicates this information in a simple, straightforward way so everyone clearly understands the objectives and how they contribute to project success. It may also be accompanied by other planning documents, such as a project charter , risk assessment , or communication plan .

While no two project plans are alike, they all share the same common building blocks. Be sure to include the following components in any project plan you create:

  • Project tasks : A detailed list of work to be done organized by project phase, process step, or work group
  • Project schedule : A visual timeline of task start dates, durations, and deadlines, with clear progress indicators
  • Key milestones : Major events, dates, decisions, and deliverables used for tracking forward progress
  • Dependencies : A line connecting tasks that need to happen in a certain order
  • Resources : Assignments that indicate the person or team responsible for completing a task

Here’s a simple example of what a project plan looks like with these basic elements highlighted:

An example of a project plan in gantt chart format with the following components highlighted: project tasks, project schedule, key milestones, dependencies, and resources.

Some people don’t understand the power of a good project plan. If you feel pressured to skip the plan and jump right into the work, remind your team and stakeholders that having a plan benefits everyone by making it easier to:

  • Build consensus before work begins : A detailed project plan ensures everyone has a clear understanding of—and agrees on—the overall process, scope, staffing, and even communications from the outset. That goes a long way in keeping project confusion and pop-up requests from gumming up the works.
  • Avoid scheduling conflicts : Project plans enable you to organize tasks so it’s clear who's responsible for what and when. If your team is juggling multiple projects, you can cross-reference other plans to see who’s available to take on new work before committing to a timeline.
  • Monitor project goals and scope : When new tasks creep in, it’s easy to lose sight of the original objectives. Spelling out the work you need to complete in a time-based plan keeps project goals front and center so you can ensure project scope stays intact.  ‍
  • Hold your team and stakeholders accountable : A good project plan sets expectations around the process and pacing you'll follow each step of the way. When plans are shared with teams and stakeholders, it keeps folks honest about what is—or isn’t—happening and forces you to resolve issues in a timely way.

Poor planning can lead to some pretty ugly consequences—from missed deadlines and budget overages to team burnout and client frustration. That’s why it’s important to establish a solid process you can use to plan any project. 

Planning a project doesn’t have to be difficult. These basic project planning steps can help you write a plan that’s both realistic and on target.

A chart that outlines 5 steps of the project planning process: 1. Discover & define; 2. Outline & draft; 3. Formalize & format; 4. Present & confirm; 5. Execute & adjust

  • Start with project discovery & definition
  • Draft a rough outline of your plan
  • Formalize your project management plan
  • Present & confirm your plan
  • Execute your plan & adjust as needed

Step 1: Start with project discovery and definition

A project plan is more than a dry document with dates. It’s the story of your project, and you don’t want it to be a tall tale! So make sure you know all the facts before you start creating a project plan.

Understand the project scope and value

Understanding the ins and outs of the project will help you determine the best process and identify any snags that might get in the way of success. Conduct your own research to dig deeper on:

  • Project goals and outcomes
  • Partnerships and outlying dependencies
  • Potential issues and risks

Review the scope of work , and dive into any documents or communications relevant to the project (maybe an RFP or notes from sales calls or client meetings). Be thorough in your research to uncover critical project details, and ask thoughtful questions before you commit to anything. 

Interview key stakeholders

If you want to dazzle stakeholders with a stellar project delivery, you’ve got to know how they work and what they expect. Schedule time with your main project contact, and ask them some tough questions about process, organizational politics, and general risks before creating a project plan. 

This will give project stakeholders confidence that your team has the experience to handle any difficult personality or situation. It also shows you care about the success of the project from the start.

Be sure to discuss these things with your stakeholders:

  • Product ownership and the decision-making process
  • Stakeholder interest/involvement levels
  • Key outages, meetings, deadlines, and driving factors
  • Related or similar projects, goals, and outcomes
  • The best way to communicate with partners and stakeholders

See a list of sample interview questions to ask stakeholders so you can develop better project plans.

Get to know your team

The last step in the research phase is to take time to learn more about the people who’ll be responsible for the work. Sit down with your team and get to know their:

  • Collaboration and communication styles
  • Availability and workload

Understanding these basics about your team will help you craft a thoughtful plan that takes their work styles and bandwidth into consideration. After all, a happy team delivers better projects.

Step 2: Draft a rough outline of your plan

Now that you’ve gathered the basic project details, the next step is to knock out a rough draft of your plan. Take some time to think about the discussions you had in the pre-planning phase and the approach your team might take to meet the project goals.

Sketch out the main components of your project plan

Sit down with a pen and paper (or a whiteboard), and outline how the project should work at a high level. Be sure you have a calendar close by to check dates.

If you’re at a loss for where to begin, start with the who, what, when, and how of the project. A first outline can be very rough and might look something like a work breakdown structure . Make sure your project outline includes the following components:

  • Deliverables and the tasks required to create them
  • Your client’s approval process
  • Timeframes associated with tasks/deliverables
  • Ideas on resources needed for tasks/deliverables
  • A list of the assumptions you’re making in the plan
  • A list of absolutes as they relate to the project budget and/or deadlines

Considering these elements will help you avoid surprises—or at least minimize them. And remember, you’re doing this as a draft so you can use it as a conversation-starter for your team. It’s not final yet!

Get input from your team on process, effort, and timing

You don’t want to put yourself or your team in an awkward position by not coming to a consensus on the approach before presenting it to your client. That's why a project manager can’t be the only one writing a project plan.

Once you’ve created a basic project outline, take those rough ideas and considerations to your team. This enables you to invite discussion about what might work rather than simply dictating a process. After all, every project must begin with clear communication of the project goals and the effort required to meet them. 

Be sure to get input from your team on how they can complete the tasks at hand without killing the budget and the team’s morale. As a project manager, you can decide on Agile vs. Waterfall approaches , but when it comes down to it, you need to know that the team can realistically execute the plan.

You can also use this review time to question your own thinking and push the team to take a new approach to the work. For example, if you’re working on a digital product, could designers start creating visual concepts while the wireframes are being developed? Or can you have two resources working on the same task at once?

Running ideas by the team and having an open dialogue about the approach not only helps you build a more accurate project plan. It gets everyone thinking about the project in the same terms. This type of buy-in and communication builds trust and gets people excited about working together to solve a goal. It can work wonders for the greater good of your team and project.

Step 3: Formalize your project management plan

You should feel comfortable enough at this point to put together a rock-solid project schedule using whatever tool works for you. 

Build out a detailed project schedule that’s easy to read

Any good online project planning tool will help you formalize your thoughts and lay them out in a consistent, visual format that’s easy to follow and track. (Ahem, TeamGantt works nicely for a lot of happy customers. ) 

Make sure tasks have clear start and end dates so there’s no question when work needs to happen to hit project deadlines. Organize work into phases, and use labels and/or color-coding to improve scannability. The easier your project plan is to understand at a glance, the better!

See how to create a project plan in TeamGantt

Consider how your team likes to work

Be as flexible as possible when it comes to how your project plan is presented. There's no absolute when it comes to how to format your plan as long as you and your team understand what goes into one.

Remember, people absorb information differently. While you might be partial to a gantt chart, others might prefer to view tasks in a list, calendar, or even a kanban board. You can make all of those variations work if you’ve taken the steps to create a solid plan.

For example, here’s an Agile project plan we built that lists each sprint as its own task group with milestones for sprint planning and deployment.

Agile project plan example with 2 sprints scheduled on a timeline

And here’s what that same project plan looks like if you turn it into a kanban board in TeamGantt. Simply click the Board tab and set up your columns so your team can manage their daily workflows more easily.

Sample Agile project plan in a kanban board view with columns for to do, in progress, and done

If your team currently prefers spreadsheets and isn’t quite ready to use TeamGantt yet, try our free Excel gantt chart template .

Step 4: Present and confirm your plan

You’re almost finished! Now it’s time to do your due diligence. It’s easy to throw stuff in a plan, but you have to make sure you get it right.

Run your final plan by your internal team

Your team needs to know the reality of your plan as it stands after you’ve built it out in TeamGantt. And you want to be sure they’re comfortable committing to the details. If they don’t, things will quickly fall apart!

Always review your final plan with your team before delivering it to stakeholders. Why? Because things like dates and tasks—and even assignments—will shift as you formalize the rough sketch of your plan. 

Here are a few things you’ll want to discuss with your team as you review the final plan together:

  • Review times
  • Team work times
  • Dependencies
  • Time off, meetings, and milestones
  • The final deadline
  • Any assumptions you’ve made
  • Major changes since your last talk

There’s nothing more embarrassing than delivering a plan with an error or a promise you can’t keep. Taking a few minutes to get buy-in from your team will give everyone peace of mind about your plan.

Review your project plan with stakeholders

Once you’ve confirmed the plan with your team and have their full sign-off, you’re ready to share your project plan with stakeholders . 

When delivering your project plan, make sure you provide an executive summary. This might come in the form of a project brief . A short recap of the overall methodology, resources, assumptions, deadlines, and related review times will help you convey what the plan means to the project and everyone involved.

Project plans can be daunting, so schedule time to present your project plan to stakeholders at a high level. Here are some things you’ll want to point out about your plan during this review:

  • Overall process and pacing
  • Major deliverables and timing
  • The time they’ll have to review deliverables
  • Overall timing for task groups or phases
  • How far off you are from the deadline
  • Wiggle room on the final deadline

If a stakeholder is interested in the day-to-day details, feel free to walk them through the plan line by line. Otherwise, start by explaining overall sections or phases, and be sure to come back to your plan at intervals throughout the project to remind them of tasks, next steps, and overall progress.

Step 5: Execute your plan and adjust as needed

Some projects are smooth and easy to manage, and others are a complete nightmare that wake you up at 3 a.m. every other night. Thankfully, having a solid project plan is your best defense against project chaos once work gets underway.

Keep in mind that project plans are living documents. Projects change constantly, and someone has to stay on top of—and document—that change. Remember to:

  • Update your plan regularly as work progresses and things change
  • Communicate changes to your team, partners, and stakeholders
  • Monitor and communicate risks as your project evolves

Ready to plan your project in TeamGantt? Follow these easy steps to build a plan that’s structured well and includes the elements you need for project success.

1. Enter your basic project details.

To create a new project plan in TeamGantt, click the New Project button in the upper right corner of the My Projects screen. Then enter your project name and start date, and select the days of the week you want to include in your plan. Click Create New Project to move on to the next step.

Example of the project creation screen in TeamGantt

2. List out your project tasks and milestones.

Now the real planning fun begins! Enter all the different tasks it will take to get the job done. If there are any key meetings, deliverable deadlines, or approvals, add those as milestones in your project plan.

List of tasks organized into 2 task groups in a project plan

3. Organize tasks into subgroups. 

Scrolling through one long list of tasks can be mind-numbing, even to the best of us. Break tasks down into phases or sections to ensure your project plan is easy to read and understand. 

4. Add task durations and milestone dates to the project timeline.

A visual project plan makes it easy to see exactly what needs to get done by when. Make sure every task has a start and end date so nothing falls through the cracks. TeamGantt’s drag and drop feature makes this planning step quick and easy.

Example of TeamGantt's drag and drop scheduling for task durations

5. Connect related tasks with dependencies.

Adding dependencies between tasks ensures work gets done in the right order and also helps you plan for delay risks. If your plan shifts and you need to move tasks around, dependencies speed up the process.

Example of a dependency line connecting a task assigned to Peggy to a subsequent task assigned to Don

6. Assign responsible team members to tasks.

That way there’s no confusion about who’s doing what, and your team can update and manage their daily tasks . Don’t forget to check team availability along the way to avoid overloading anyone with too much work.

Task assignment in TeamGantt

7. Use the RACI chart to define task roles more clearly.

This feature takes accountability one step further by letting you assign more specific roles to each task: Responsible , Accountable , Consulted , and Informed . Learn how RACI charts work and what each role means.

Example of RACI assignments in TeamGantt for a digital marketing campaign project plan

8. Add hourly estimates and/or points to each task. 

This makes it easy to see the lift each task involves at a glance. Including hourly estimates in your project plan also enables you to manage workloads and track overages more accurately.

Example of estimated hours for tasks in a project plan with actual vs estimated hours progress indicators

9. Color-code tasks for better scannability.

You can use colors to categorize tasks by project phase, priority, department, or team member—whatever makes visual sense to you and your team.

Example of color selection menu in TeamGantt for color-coding taskbars on the timeline

10. Add notes to clarify tasks or spell out important details.

There’s no such thing as too much information if it means your team has what they need to deliver quality work on time. Use the Notes section of your Discussion tab to enter any pertinent details your team will find helpful.

Task detail window example with notes on scope and word count, as well as a creative brief attached to the task

11. Upload important documents to the project.

This ensures project files are accessible to everyone in a centralized hub.  For example, you might attach your creative brief to the project so your content and design teams have clear direction for completing their deliverables.

If you’re planning a project for the first time or taking on a totally new type of project, you might be struggling to get your plan off the ground. We created a simple project management plan template to help you get started.

TeamGantt gives you the ability to quickly and easily build and adjust your plan using drag and drop scheduling. Plus, it comes with customizable views to fit every team member’s work style. 

Try our basic project plan template for free!

Basic project plan template in TeamGantt with placeholder tasks that can easily be customized

Looking for more specific project plan examples to jumpstart your process? Use these project planning templates to generate ideas and save time building out your plan:

  • Construction project plan template
  • Event planning template
  • Strategic marketing plan template
  • Tactical marketing plan template
  • Software development plan template
  • Video production schedule template
  • Website project plan template

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Discover just how easy project planning can be with TeamGantt. Create your first gantt chart for free!

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Key project documentation every manager needs for effective planning

Georgina Guthrie

Georgina Guthrie

November 11, 2022

It’s almost impossible to build a house without a blueprint. The same is true for any complex project; you need a plan if you want to succeed. That’s why creating and following project documentation is so important.

Just like a blueprint guides the builders, thorough documentation will keep your team focused on the project objectives . Without that, you’re flying blind — and probably wasting a lot of time and energy in the process. In this guide, we’ll show you the 21 essential documents every project manager needs in order to succeed.

What is project documentation?

Project documentation is a collection of all the documents used during the course of a project. It includes everything from the initial project proposal to the final project report and beyond.

The purpose is to provide a single source of truth about the project, ensuring everyone involved has access to the same information. It also provides a record of decisions made throughout the project, so everyone can see how things are progressing over time. Once the job is done, having a record of what worked well (and what didn’t) is also useful for managing future phases and new projects.

What happens if you don’t use project documentation?

Just like setting off on a journey without a map, starting a project without documentation is likely to result in a few wrong turns. 

First, you’ll see a lack of communication between project participants. This can lead to misunderstandings and disagreements about the project goals and objectives.

Second, there won’t be a record of decisions, progress, milestones , and other key project phases. This makes it difficult to track the project’s progress and make changes if necessary. You’ll find it harder to report back to stakeholders, prove project success, get buy-in for future jobs, and learn from mistakes and successes. Basically, you’ll miss out on a wealth of recorded data.  

Finally, without project documentation, it’s really difficult to hand over the project to someone else. They’ll have no way of understanding what has been done and which tasks are still outstanding. Then, when someone is out sick or the project is reassigned, everything grinds to a halt. 

To summarize, project documentation: 

  • Provides a single source of information about the project
  • Aids team communication
  • Provides a record of decisions, responsibilities, scope, milestones, and more
  • Makes it easier to track the project’s progress
  • Makes it easier to make changes to the project if necessary
  • Makes it easier to hand over the project to someone else

Project documentation by project phase: a complete list

You’ll need specific types of project documentation at different stages of the project. Here’s a complete list of everything you’ll need, organized by project phase.

1. Project initiation 

Project initiation documentation defines the project goals and objectives, and it includes the following:

  • The project charter
  • The project proposal
  • The business case
  • The project kickoff meeting agenda

2. Project planning

Here’s a list of everything you’ll need during the planning phase:

  • The work breakdown structure (WBS)
  • The work plan template
  • A working agreement
  • A statement of work (SOW)
  • The project schedule
  • The communications plan
  • The risk management plan
  • The quality management plan
  • The procurement plan
  • The change management plan
  • The resource plan

3. Project execution 

Project execution documentation helps you track the project’s progress and performance. It includes the following:

  • Deliverables
  • The issue log
  • The status/progress report

4. Project close-out 

Close-out documentation helps you finalize the project and hand it over to the client. It includes the following:

  • The project closure report
  • The customer satisfaction survey
  • The audit report
  • The project archive

Now that you have the full list, let’s go into more detail about each document and why it’s useful.

Project initiation documentation

1. the project charter.

The project charter is a high-level overview that sets out your project goals, objectives, and approach. It’s one of the most important documents you’ll ever create and typically includes the following information:

  • Project name and description
  • Project manager’s name and contact details
  • Names and contact details of other key project personnel
  • Brief description of the project scope
  • Project objectives
  • Success criteria
  • Approach/methodology
  • High-level risks and assumptions

It’s important to note that the project charter is a living document and should be updated as the project progresses.

2. The project proposal

The project proposal sets out the business case for undertaking a project. It’s essential for persuading stakeholders to approve the project and provide funding. 

The proposal should include the project chart but focus on the information from the stakeholder’s perspective. Outline factors like growth, profits, and opportunities with supporting evidence to show stakeholders what’s in it for them.

3. The business case

The business case sets out the justification for undertaking the project. It includes information on the expected benefit, ranging from financial to cultural. 

The secret to creating a great business case is to be clear and concise. Keep in mind that the business case is for the project stakeholders, not for you or your team.

4. The project kickoff meeting agenda

The project kickoff meeting is when the project team and the stakeholders come together to discuss the project objectives, approach, and expectations. Creating this document will ensure you cover the most crucial details in the meeting and make actionable decisions to start the project off well.

Project planning documentation

1. the work breakdown structure (wbs).

The work breakdown structure (WBS) breaks the project down into smaller, more manageable tasks. It’s a hierarchical list of every milestone, deliverable, and task in the project. Having it makes the road ahead seem a little less daunting and helps you assign tasks. If your project were a novel, these would be your chapters, each one marked by a milestone.

2. The work plan template

A work plan maps your overarching mission, with the tasks you’ll use to achieve that goal. Your work plan template should include your approach and any methodologies, plus the timeline, deliverables, risks, milestones, and resources. Keep it all high level; you’ll be creating separate documents for most of these things a little later on.

3. A working agreement

The working agreement sets out the expectations for how the project team will work together. It should include things like communication protocols, meeting frequency and format, and decision-making processes . This might seem like a small thing, but it’s incredibly important. Having a working agreement in place from the start will help prevent conflict and confusion later on.

4. A statement of work (SOW)

The statement of work document outlines the scope of work for a project. But rather than it being something that guides the team, it’s a formal document between a client/buyer and an agency, vendor, or contractor. 

The SOW includes information on the objectives, deliverables, milestones, and approach and defines expectations on both sides.

5. The project schedule

The project schedule helps you plan the project’s timeline. It shows the start and end dates for each task in the project, as well as any dependencies between tasks.

While not technically an essential piece of documentation, the Gantt chart forms a key part of the project schedule. It’s a visual representation of the schedule from start to finish, with start and end dates for each task, as well as any dependencies.

project planning documentation

6. The communications plan

The communications plan outlines which team members need to receive specific information, how and when it’s due, recommended communication channels , the chain of command, and the contact list. Setting out a detailed communications plan helps the team avoid miscommunication and have contingencies in place when a key person is unavailable.

7. The risk management plan

The risk management plan (or risk breakdown structure ) helps project managers identify, assess, and respond to risks. It includes information on the project’s threats and opportunities, as well as guidelines detailing how to mitigate risks and respond effectively to change.

8. The quality management plan

The quality management plan helps ensure the project meets its quality objectives. It outlines the objectives and route to achieving them, often in the form of a checklist. A good plan also includes the quality control methods and steps to ensure excellence at each project stage.

9. The procurement plan

No adventurer sets off on an expedition without a list of gear. Similarly, the project procurement plan helps managers identify and procure all the goods and services they’ll need for project completion. 

It should include what services or goods to source and when and how you plan to complete these transactions. To be prepared, you can also include a list of contractors and freelancers to call if things don’t go as planned or a team member becomes unavailable.

10. The change management plan

Ignore this vital document at your peril! The change management plan includes information on how the team should request, assess, and implement change. It also provides details on the project’s change control process, the proposed change, the reasoning for it, and information on who has the authority to approve changes. After all, every change needs to be stakeholder/boss-approved!

This document is so important that we’ve written not one but TWO guides to help you. Here’s how to create a change management plan from scratch, and here’s how to design a change management process .

11. The budget

The project budget is the benchmark against which you’ll track the project’s finances. It includes information on the project’s income and expenses, as well as the status of each. To create a project budget , you’ll need to consider the potential costs, limitations, revenue, and profitability.

12. The resource plan

The resource plan helps you identify and allocate resources. It explains who is responsible for each task, when they’re available, and how much time they have to complete the task. You should create the resource plan in tandem with the budget and project scope.

project planning documentation

Project execution documentation

1. deliverables.

The deliverables are the end products of the project. This document should include a list of every item/service the client expects, the delivery timeline, and a breakdown of responsibilities. Most importantly, it should have both internal and external stakeholder signoff.

2. The issue log

The issue log is a tool everyone on the team uses to track and resolve issues. It includes information on the problem and the actions needed or taken to resolve it.

3. The status/progress report 

The status report communicates the project’s status to the stakeholders. It includes progress information, as well as any risks or issues that have cropped up along the way. 

Traditionally, progress reports take the form of daily, weekly or monthly check-ins, but managers are increasingly using project management software to make the process more transparent. Using a cloud-based project tracking tool means everyone with access can log in and see progress in real-time. This means fewer update emails flying around and less need for expensive face-to-face meetings.

4. Timesheets

Timesheets track the time spent on each project task, which is important for billing and accurate progress reporting. Usually, workers fill out timesheets on a daily or weekly basis and include information on the date, hours worked, and relevant notes. 

Project close-out documentation

Phew — you made it! But your work isn’t over yet. Closing a project properly is as important as a strong opening. Here are the documents to help you close out in style.

1. The project closure report

Your project closure report is like the full stop to your project. Not only does it include information on the project’s final results and deliverables, it also assesses the project as a whole — what went well, what didn’t, and how you could improve future projects. Create it after holding a project post-mortem with your team.

2. The customer satisfaction survey

The customer satisfaction survey records how happy the customer is with the final results. The questions should highlight different aspects of the experience, because even when clients are satisfied overall, they may still have good suggestions for improvement.

The customer satisfaction survey is usually conducted soon after the project is over, but you can also run surveys during or before the project to gauge customer expectations.

3. The audit report

The audit report documents project compliance with applicable standards. It includes an audit record and the results. Keep this information safe in case you’re ever audited as a business by external bodies. Not having this information could land you in hot water! 

4. The project archive

The project archive is where you store the project documentation. It includes all of the important documents above and any supporting materials. Keep it safe — there are tons of data in here you can use again for future projects.

Final thoughts 

Gathering all your project documentation can feel like a daunting task — and make no mistake, it’s a big job. However, it’s well worth the effort and will improve many business operations in the future.

To make the job easier, we recommend using a cloud-based project management tool, like Backlog . Not only does this ensure a single source of truth for all your documentation, but it also simplifies project tracking, thanks to automatic notifications, interactive Gantt charts, milestones, commenting, and more. Try it free today! 

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Key Project Documents Every Project Manager Needs

Updated on: 25 November 2022

Proper project documentation is an integral part of project management . Documenting essential project processes and information help set up a project in an efficient and easy-to-understand manner, and ultimately ensure its success.

In this post, we will look at why project documentation is important and go over the essential and other useful project documents that are created throughout the life cycle of a project. All templates provided are customizable; click on them to start editing.  Use the menu below to navigate easily.

Project Initiation 

  • Project Plan  
  • Project Charter  

Business Requirements Document

  • Statement of Work  

Project Planning

  • Project Proposal  
  • Team Charter  

Project Budget

Project communications plan, project schedule, work breakdown structure, risk register, project scope statement.

  • Stakeholder Register
  • Project Organizational Chart  

Project Execution & Closure

Project Status Report

  • Project Closure  

Lessons Learned

What is project documentation.

Project documentation entails creating and maintaining project management documents throughout the different phases of the project life cycle. These project documents allow the project manager to adequately manage, control and deliver the project. 

Importance of Project Documentation

Documenting important details of the project thus helps you and the team verify that the ideas being implemented actually make sense. Project documentation simplifies clarifying project expectations and goals, breaking down the deliverables into manageable tasks, managing resources, and keeping all stakeholders on the same page.  

In addition, it also helps with,  

  • Retaining knowledge collected over the course of past projects, which allows to streamline onboarding new employees or new project team members.
  • Increasing clarity and transparency of the team workflows allowing for better cross-functional team alignment.

Top 10 Essential Project Documents 

Following are the essential project management documents that should be created during each phase of the project lifecycle. 

Project Plan 

The project management plan – or project plan – is a comprehensive document that outlines how the project is executed, monitored, and controlled. It may include baselines, subsidiary management plans, and other planning documents. It highlights vital project information such as deadlines, assignments, and key milestones and is usually represented in the form of a Gantt chart . 

Project-Plan-Template Project Documentation

Project Charter 

The project charter is a short document that explains what a project entails. It describes what the project goals are, who is involved and their responsibilities, and the stakeholders , and defines the authority of the project manager.  It is created in line with the business case for the project as described by the project sponsor.

IT-Project-Charter Project Documentation

The business requirement document explains the business solution for a project based on business or customer needs and requirements. It describes the purpose of the project, the business solution it provides, features and functionalities, as well as the project timeline. It synthesizes input from stakeholders and analysis of the current business situation to provide a technology-neutral description of what the product should do.


The project budget is the total estimated cost of  a project. It includes a detailed estimate of all costs, such as labor costs, material procurement costs and operating costs,that are likely to be incurred during the completion of project tasks over each phase of a project. It helps with establishing expenditure expectations and with getting project approval from stakeholders, ensuring funds are ready at the right time, and measuring performance.


A project schedule is your project’s timeline, it consists of all the sequenced tasks, activities, and milestones that need to be completed in a certain timeframe. Creating a project schedule is a way of communicating all the tasks that are needed to be performed, while clarifying what resources are needed, and under what time frame.

Project-Schedule Project documentation

The risk register , which is also referred to as a risk log , is a document that contains information about identified risks such as the nature of the risk, the level of risk, who is responsible for it, and the preventative measures, and corrective action in place. It serves as a brainstorming framework to establish risks and as a database of possible and potential risks and mitigation measures for them.


A project scope statement describes the work that needs to be done to deliver the project outputs on time and within the budget. The project scope statement document outlines what is being delivered (within scope), what is not being delivered (out of scope), assumptions to clarify the deliverables, and high-level requirements . 

Project Scope Statement Project Documentation

A project communication plan is a guideline of what, when, and how key project information will be shared at key intervals with invested stakeholders. It includes what kind of information will be distributed, to whom, and how often they will be updated.

project planning documentation

The project status report is a document that outlines the project’s overall progress against the projected project plan. It helps keep all project stakeholders informed about the high-level information such as milestones, work accomplished, risks, and roadblocks.


Project Closure 

The project closure report is a  document that formalizes the closure of the project. While it helps determine whether or not a project was successful, it provides confirmation that the criteria for customer acceptance have been met and requests sign-off from the Project Sponsor to close the project.


Other Useful Project Management Documents 

While the documents we’ve listed above are essential to ensure project success, there are multiple other project documents that will further contribute to accelerating its successful completion.

Statement of Work 

A statement of work is a document that describes the requirements of a project. It serves as an agreement between a client and an agency or service provider and defines the entire scope of work involved for a vendor, project deliverables, costs, and timeline.


Project Proposal 

The project proposal is a document that lists down all aspects of a project including its background, vision, goals, tasks, requirements, owners, associated risks, etc. Its purpose is to provide a summary of the project details and rally support for the project idea from stakeholders.

Project-Proposal- Template (Project Documentation)

Team Charter 

A team charter basically explains how a team plans to get its work done. It focuses on why the team exists, the objectives the team is designed to accomplish, and how it is going to achieve them. The purpose of the team charter is to get everyone on the same page and keep them focused.


The work breakdown structure is a diagram that helps break down large projects into smaller and more manageable parts which contain the project deliverables that it will complete. It divides project deliverables into sub-deliverables and work packages which define the work, duration, and costs for the tasks that need to be carried out.


Stakeholder Register 

The stakeholder register is a document that details information about the stakeholders of a project. This contains their names, contact details, the role they play in the project, their power over making project decisions, and their needs, concerns, and expectations. It serves as the basis for team formation, assigning roles and responsibilities, defining success criteria, and planning stakeholder communication.


Project Organizational Chart 

A project organizational chart is a visual representation of the team members and the roles they play in a given project. It illustrates the hierarchy and the reporting relationships between the team members. They help with allocating resources, clarifying responsibilities, and setting expectations regarding the effort required from each individual.

Project Organizational Chart

A lesson learned report can be used to document all the key challenges, risks, uncertainties, and blockers you have come across during a project along with the timely solutions you have implemented. Lesson learned reports are designed to guide you as you work toward achieving the desired outcomes, so it helps you and others who will work on a similar project in the future to avoid the hardships and easily achieve the expected outcome.

Lessons Learned Report

How Creately Can Help Streamline Project Documentation 

Creately – a work management software that runs on a visual canvas – can help you streamline creating, organizing, managing, and sharing the project management documents that are important to the success of your project. 

Creately is a simple tool with simple yet advanced features that even a non-technical user can easily learn. It has intuitive navigation with drag and drop functionality which makes organizing content effortless. Plus it integrates with tools you use every day such as Google Suite apps, Confluence, Jira, Slack, MS Teams, etc. making it easy to keep your project assets in sync. 

Easy-to-Use Visual Tools to Get Started

Creately offers multiple shape libraries, pre-made templates , and powerful diagramming capabilities to visualize and organize your project-related data in easy-to-understand visual structures such as Timelines , Kanban boards , WBS diagrams , Flowcharts , etc. 

With the database capabilities which can be accessed via the Shape Data panel, you can store unlimited data and information within a single shape in a structure and easily create wikis and project knowledge bases. For example, you can expand your Work Breakdown Structure that outlines project deliverables with additional data fields to capture information on due dates, owners, cost, etc., or provide a detailed overview for each deliverable with notes.    

A Single Source of Truth 

Creately’s unified workspaces operate on an infinite canvas, letting you place multiple documents side by side in a single location. While you can attach and embed resources, documents, images, and links with in-app previews, you can also import external data in Google Sheets, Excel, or CSV files into Creately and organize them as meaningful visuals, keeping all project-related assets centralized in the same workspace.  

Note: Easily search and locate any information across workspaces and folders with universal text search option. 

Advanced Collaboration and Sharing Capabilities

Creately offers a collaborative and secure online platform to simplify creating, updating, and sharing your project documents with stakeholders. Collaboration features such as true multi-user collaboration with concurrent editing, real-time cursor tracking, offline syncing, contextual comments and discussion threads, and in-app audio and video calls help streamline cross-functional project team workflows, whether the teams are co-located, remote, or hybrid. 

Creately folders and workspaces come with multiple access and role levels (Owner, Editor, Commentor, and Viewer) allowing you to manage how you share your project documents with internal and external stakeholders. 

Note: Set workspace status through workspace preferences and mark it Draft, In Progress, In Review, Approved, Final or Archived to indicate its review status. 

Streamline Project Documentation With Creately

Documenting all aspects of a project will help the success of your project in many ways. Whether it’s to clarify the terms of an agreement to clients or suppliers, to fulfill legal requirements, to keep your team aligned, or to keep track of project updates, maintaining proper project documentation for key processes and information is the key.

Project documentation may seem tedious, but with the right tool and techniques, you can not only simplify the process of documentation but also ensure that the final output is effective. Try Creately today to simplify and improve your project documentation process. 

Join over thousands of organizations that use Creately to brainstorm, plan, analyze, and execute their projects successfully.

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What is Project Documentation - A guide & template

Table of contents, what is a project outline, what is project documentation.

Project documentation is exactly what it sounds like. At its most basic, it consists of a collection of the essential documents that make up a project. Sounds pretty straightforward, right?

At face value, project documentation is straightforward. However, the sheer volume of paperwork involved in most projects is often daunting to project managers and team members alike. Combine this with poor organization, and you’ve created the perfect storm. Such a project will be difficult to execute and almost impossible to make successful.

That’s where templates come in. A project documentation template reminds you what key project management documents need to be collected, keeps them organized and facilitates easy collaboration. This is why project management teams are increasingly making use of project documentation templates as of the project initiation process.

Project Documentation Template

Who puts together project documentation?

Project documentation is best developed collaboratively . Having said that, project managers have the final say in terms of signing off on it. They are in charge of the project’s management system, process (and process documentation ), deliverables, and results, after all.

Owing to this, effective project documentation is normally put together by project managers or other PMPs (project management professionals) and their project teams. This is sometimes done in collaboration with human resources, important stakeholders and other interested parties in relevant project documentation phases as well.

What makes project documentation so important?

The importance of project documentation incorporated into project management tools can’t be underestimated. Don’t make the rookie mistake of shying away from the initial time investment project documentation requires only to end up with more ( poorly organized ) work on your plate down the road. Veteran project managers sing the praises of project documentation from the rooftops. This is because there are several key ways that using it will help you and your team:

  • Keeping Everyone Informed : Project documentation increases transparency and makes sure that all the key people working on a project stay in the loop. This is particularly important in relation to stakeholders who’ll want regular updates in relation to timelines, budget, deliverables and milestones, but it also helps teams work together more effectively. Try out our project budget template here.
  • Breaking It Down : When considered in their entirety, projects are incredibly complex. Project documentation allows you and your team to break your project down into key project planning phases represented by key documents and chew them off in bite-sized pieces, so to speak.
  • Staying Organized : Effective project documentation helps you keep track of the paperwork you need, and sift through what you don't. Forget about losing track of important documents, especially if you use a well-put-together template.
  • Making Collaboration Easy : When your whole project team has access to the same software documentation resources for example, it’s easy to work collaboratively in terms of assigning tasks, working efficiently, tracking process and staying on top of challenges as they come up.

What are the key elements of project documentation?

Project documentation looks a little bit different depending on the industry, company and specific project. However, you can find some variation of the following key elements in the vast majority of project documentation.

We’ll outline each of the key documents below, but they can also be categorized into 5 phases: Initiation, Planning, Execution, Control and Conclusion .

project planning documentation

Phase 1: Initiation

The initiation phase is the first phase in a project’s life cycle. This is when a given project is formally approved and brought to life.

Key milestones within Phase 1 include establishing the project manager and project team members, addressing issues of feasibility and justification, determining key project objectives and outlining a project scope statement . These topics are often fleshed out further in Phase 2 as well.

Project Proposal

The project proposal , also known as a business case , is usually the document that kicks off your project development. Keep your project proposal short and sweet. All you need to explain is what your project concept is and what problem it will ultimately address.

Project proposals templates are usually written by the project manager and/or the project sponsor.

Project Charter

The project charter is sometimes referred to as the anchor or blueprint of a project. It’s the first document that’s compiled after your project proposal receives formal approval. Most importantly, it establishes your project team as well as the key actions needed to bring your project to life. It also often covers initial funding allocation and authorization.

Basically, your project charter tells you where you’re starting from. View our Project Charter template here. Alternatively, for bigger projects, you can create a Statement of Work (SoW), which is more detailed than a project charter.

You’ve secured formal approval for your new project… now what? Well, you’ve entered the second phase of your project’s life cycle. The planning phase! This phase is absolutely critical to a successful project. The more details you collect, the easier the eventual execution of your project will be.

Here, all the different project requirements and actions needed to bring your project to life are outlined as comprehensively as possible, while still keeping things succinct. How’s that for a challenge?

Project Management Plan

With your project management plan, you’re really getting down to the nitty gritty of how your project will come to life. A project management plan can be as short or as long as you want it to be, but it will likely be one of your longest documents .

Basically, you’re asking yourself and your team: “What are all the steps we’ll have to take to successfully complete this project, from beginning to end?”

There are also several documents that are sometimes included within project plans , but can also exist by themselves. These include documents like work breakdown structures (WBS), human resources management plans and quality assurance plans.

All in all, you can usually count on project management plans to address topics like deliverables, time frame, budget, quality and version control, stakeholders and personnel, communication policies and risk management.

Project Schedule

This document is pretty self-explanatory, but it outlines an initial schedule for the deliverables, milestones and phases of your project. Your timeline will likely change throughout your project’s life cycle, but think of this schedule as your starting point.

Pro Tip: Make sure the schedule you establish is realistic. Don’t commit to deadlines that you know your team won’t be able to meet!

Financial Plan

This is another fairly self explanatory document, but it essentially consists of an anticipated budget for your project. It often covers topics like fund procurement and allocation, contracts, financial processes and even projected return on investment (ROI).

Since this document is in the planning phase, it’s usually the initial or projected budget. There’s sometimes another financial document in the execution or control phase in the form of a budget tracker.

project planning documentation

Phase 3: Execution

Sometimes referred to as the implementation phase, Phase 3 is when all your planning finally gets put into action. Your team will move from preparation mode to actually putting concrete actions into force .

The execution phase is often the longest phase as it comes with the loftiest goals. Your finished product, whatever that may be, will be formed throughout this phase. How exciting!

Risk & Issues Log

A risk and issues log is a key risk management tool. It consists of a log that helps you keep track of project issues that come up as well as potential future risks on the horizon. The following information is usually included:

  • Event type (risk or issue, for example)
  • Description
  • Action required
  • Priority ( optional )

Some risk registers are made with Excel, while others are simple lists.

RAID logs are also sometimes used in place of Risk & Issues Logs. RAID stands for: Risks, Assumptions, Issues & Dependencies .

Project Status Report

Depending on your communication plan, you’ll need to provide regular status reports to various people working on your project. These might consist of stakeholder updates, weekly reviews or department updates.

Whatever the purpose, this section consists of a collection of documents that report on your project’s progress . This is particularly important because it keeps everyone involved on the same page throughout the project’s life cycle. Project status reports can even be used to allocate tasks and next steps.

Project Communication Plan

Similar to project status reports, your project communication plan establishes policies regarding how you and your project team will communicate while working together. Effective communication is vital in project management.

This section differs from project status reports, because instead of establishing project progress, your communication plan lays out exactly how communication will happen . This encompasses specific communication methods, communication frequency and contact information details.

This section often focuses on communication with stakeholders, but it’s important for your project team as well. If your project has an established workflow on Slite , for example, it should be indicated here.

Phase 4: Control

The control phase is sometimes considered to be part of the execution phase, but the two can be separated as well.

The key difference between them is that the execution phase focuses more on putting project processes into action, whereas the control phase focuses on observing those processes and making changes as they come up.

Both phases benefit from good documentation, naturally.

Change Requests & Management

This is the most important section in the control phase of any project and often takes the form of a log. Whenever a change needs to be made to the original project plan, it should be requested and recorded in the change management section.

The following information is usually provided:

  • Proposed change
  • Reason for proposed change

Phase 5: Conclusion

At last! We’ve reached the final phase of your project’s life cycle and we’re sure that the result will be a roaring success.

This phase focuses on the closure of your current project, but it also looks towards future projects. Most importantly, you present all deliverables and your finished product. However, this is also a great opportunity to conduct final meetings with your project team and stakeholders, as well as reflect upon what went well during the project and what could be improved upon in the future.

Effective reflection will further streamline your project documentation and management processes and lead to increased success in your future endeavors.

Project Review Document

Also known as a project closure document, a project review document formally concludes your project. Hooray! Just like the project proposal, this document will need review and approval by the project manager, sponsor and relevant stakeholders.

This type of technical documentation normally summarizes what the project accomplished and/or produced, any notable big wins or difficulties and post-project issues or tasks that need to be addressed.

Is there anything else I should include?

As previously mentioned, all project documentation looks a little bit different depending on the industry, company and project context.

The aforementioned elements make up general project documentation essentials, but our list isn’t exhaustive. There are many other kinds of documents that you can integrate depending on your needs, such as a:

  • Human Resources Management Plan: This document is sometimes included as part of a project’s management plan. An HR management plan outlines guidelines related to staffing, contracts, training and other HR matters.
  • Quality Assurance Plan: Also often included under the scope of a project’s management plan, a quality assurance or QA plan outlines the protocols and processes that will be put in place to ensure the quality of the finished product.
  • Test Plan: A master test plan document is normally part of a project’s control phase and determines protocols and processes for how your product will be tested. It’s essentially a blueprint for all product testing that will take place throughout your project’s life cycle and is particularly important in the software and IT industries.
  • Lessons Learned Register: A lessons learned register of part of a project’s concluding phase. It serves as an additional project closure document that prompts project managers and their teams to reflect on the successes and drawbacks of their completed project. The purpose of this document is to strive for improved project management in the future!

project planning documentation

Brieuc Sebillotte is our Sales & Customer Success lead. Working closely with customer facing teams, his role is to make sure every prospect and customers enjoy the async life. Brieuc lives in Marseille, France. He often rides his Renault Kangoo to discover the best spots on weekends and holidays in Europe! Find him @Brieuc1 on Twitter.

Working remotely? So are we since 2016. Slite may be the right communication tool for you!

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Project Management

Project documentation: types of project documentation examples & templates.

Erica Golightly

Senior Writer

February 15, 2024

High-quality project documentation has long-term value. It not only helps to ensure the success of the project, but it also serves as a reference for future projects and initiatives!

At its core, project documentation is the pulse of any project. It connects everything needed to run the project successfully.

Documentation must be extensive enough so development can progress. But flexible enough so modifications or adjustments can be made in response to different situations.

Let’s take a closer look at the primary types of documentation, along with others typically buried within inboxes that should be organized into project management software . ⚒️

If you need a fast-track solution to start documenting your projects the right way, get your team into ClickUp’s Project Documentation Template ! Collaborate in real-time or async and even assign comments within the Doc to keep communication in one place.

Store project documentation in a single ClickUp Doc

Let’s get started!

What is Project Documentation?

Project proposal, project charter, project plan (or scope of work), project status report, project change management plan, project post-mortem (or retrospective), 1. use document collaboration tools, 2. start early and document often, 3. update existing templates whenever necessary , 4. add visuals whenever possible, 5. archive completed projects, long-term benefits of project documentation.

Project documentation is any type of written material that describes the details of the steps taken throughout a project’s life cycle. This includes the project scope, planning, development, change control, assessments, and quality assurance reports. Sharing information makes sure everyone has the right context to get their work done efficiently. 

Good documentation helps with collaboration, communication, training, and problem-solving throughout the lifecycle of a project. 

More importantly, project documentation plays an important role in the success of any project by providing details for informed decision-making.

Examples of Project Documentation with Templates

Documentation connects people with the right content at the right time. 

Having the proper project documents is key to successfully managing a project from start to finish. A variety of documents, such as diagrams, timelines, policies, reports, meeting minutes, and project plans come together to provide a comprehensive overview. 🌐

Plus, maintaining accurate documents is required for reviews and audits, helping us track what’s been accomplished and keeping everyone accountable for their part!

Meeting minutes in ClickUp Docs

Here are the most common types of project documentation:  

Owner: Primary stakeholder, sponsor Contributors: As needed

A project proposal document outlines the objectives and scope of a proposed project . It’s typically written by the project’s stakeholders in order to secure approval and necessary funding for the project. 

The document typically includes an executive summary, background information, objectives or goals, proposed methods, projected timeline, budget, and risks. After approval, the project manager uses the document to write the project charter.  

Streamline the entire voting process for agile estimation techniques using ClickUp’s readymade templates

Owner: Project manager Contributors: As needed

A project charter is a document illustrating a project’s objectives and scope based on the project proposal. It’s the first document that serves as a foundation for the project team’s work. 

While drafting the project charter , it’s the perfect time to make sure you have a solid understanding of the project. Take careful consideration of the project schedule, goals, objectives, and scope. It requires close attention to details and the needs of stakeholders.

If the project has circumstances such as working with cross-functional teams or company-wide impact, you’ll likely have a short list of stakeholders from different areas:

  • Product Marketing
  • Engineering
  • Account Executives

Documenting the necessary stakeholders ahead of time will help prevent scope creep later in the project!

Organize your project, define success metrics, and identify potential problems with ClickUp’s hyper-organized project charter template

Discover project charter templates & team charters !

Owner: Project manager Contributors: Department leads

A scope of work document is a detailed description of the work that needs to be done on a project. It outlines the objectives, tasks, deliverables, timeline, cost estimate, dependencies, and any other relevant information to guide your project team to success. 

Additionally, the project plan should discuss any potential risks or challenges that could happen during the course of the project, and propose solutions for handling them.

Simplify product development sprints with a personalized project plan template

Learn how to write a scope of work document !

Owner: Project manager Contributors: All team members as needed

A project status report covers the current state of the project written for key stakeholders and project leaders. Status reports are typically sent on a weekly basis by the project manager, who condenses large amounts of data and task progress.  

It generally shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes to read and includes these key information:

  • The project’s overall key milestones are summarized in a few words: Scoping , On Track , Blocked , Delayed , At Risk , Cancelled , or Complete
  • Major project tasks, activities, decisions, or updates since the last status report 
  • Key issues and risks (For example, tight timelines with task dependencies) 
  • Blockers (For example, bugs or pending stakeholder approvals)
  • Any small/big wins, problems solved

Owner: Project manager  Contributors: Stakeholders 

A change management plan outlines the processes, procedures, and resources required to apply changes to a project’s deliverables, team members, or strategy. It helps maintain control of the scope and ensures all stakeholders are fully aware of changes being implemented. 

The plan typically includes: 

  • An overview of the change
  • An assessment of the impact of the change
  • A communication plan for stakeholders
  • A timeline for each stage of the process
  • New tools and resources required to implement the change
  • New roles and responsibilities related to the change
  • A list of potential risks associated with the change

Learn more about how project change management plans in ClickUp help teams stay on track!  

Owner: Project manager Contributors: As needed  

A project post-mortem is a reflection document capturing key outcomes and lessons learned from a project. Post mortems should include an assessment of the project’s overall effectiveness, along with an analysis of any challenges and the tools used for project completion. 

The project manager creates the retrospective document, and all project team members contribute their feedback and questions. This can help the team become more aware of blind spots, identify areas of improvement, call out specific project successes, and develop better methods of problem-solving!

Check out the best Sprint Retrospective templates for teams , or get started with ClickUp’s Retrospective Brainstorm Template !

project planning documentation

How to Manage the Project Documentation Process

Keeping track of documentation takes a considerable amount of effort if you’re updating multiple channels of communication. And sometimes you’re sending the same information to different channels.

Here are the best practices to create project documentation:

If a new marketing team member needs to get up to speed on a specific project, it wouldn’t make sense to digitally toss them into a group Slack channel to put pieces of information together. 

Organize information with the audience in mind.

ClickUp Docs are the most efficient tools to connect tasks to documentation within a few clicks. And it’s easy to set up! Divide the documentation by the types we learned earlier—proposal, charter, plan, and so on—into separate subpages. 📄

From there, you can take your team’s Doc experience even further with page customization and collaboration tools. If you have other project documentation like Google Sheets and PDFs, embed these resources into the Doc for quick access!  

For seamless integration of project documentation, make the most of ClickUp’s AI Writing Assistant.

ClickUp AI can generate drafts based on your notes, suggest content improvements, and even help in maintaining the documentation up-to-date. By centralizing and streamlining the documentation process with a sophisticated AI assistant, your team can focus on more strategic tasks while keeping everyone informed and aligned with the project objectives.

Working together on documentation allows for different perspectives to be included, which can increase engagement and alignment. 

Check out the top document collaboration software !

Documenting a project early and often is important because it guides the work with the right context. 

Project members can avoid wasting time trying to figure out why certain decisions were made or how something was supposed to work. 

And if you’ve ever waited until the last minute to document your time, tasks, and statuses, you know firsthand the mental energy it takes to get it done! (We’ve all been there.) 🙋

Bonus: Team charter templates !

Project templates are useful tools for teams to quickly and efficiently start up new projects. They provide a standard process to follow and a reusable framework for the project, taking out the time and effort of setting up the project from scratch. 

However, as time goes on, industry standards, customer needs, and internal procedures are constantly changing. This means that project templates need to be updated regularly to ensure they remain efficient and relevant. The result? Teams can maintain their workflow and quickly launch into a project with minimal setup time!

Adding visuals to project documentation helps stakeholders and team members understand the content by making it more engaging, easier to comprehend, and more memorable. Visuals have the power to convey a point quickly, allowing for more efficient communication of complex topics. 

They also help to break up large blocks of text, making the content more readable. Visuals can be used to explain relationships between different pieces of data and elements, creating a deeper understanding of the context. 📊

Archiving projects is important for a few key reasons:

  • It allows us to refer back to past solutions that may be applicable to current or future projects
  • It serves as a record of our growth and project success, helping us to recognize our strengths and identify areas for improvement
  • It creates a shared understanding of the goals and objectives behind our processes, helping everyone on a team work more productively
  • It provides an efficient way to compare old and new versions of the same project and see how the design has developed over time
  • It offers actionable insight into the development process of a project

Project documentation is an essential part of any project, providing not only a record of the project’s progress but also important information for future decision-making and planning. 

An indispensable archive of all the decisions, changes, and discussions associated with a given project allows teams to have past reference points to draw upon, making it easier to track progress, address technical issues and avoid costly mistakes in the future. 🔮

Edit project documents in ClickUp Docs, Chat view, and List view

Here’s what your team can look forward to with high-quality documentation: 

  • Increased process efficiency : Project documentation provides a reference for future projects, enabling future teams to understand the purpose and context of the project and avoid having to reinvent the wheel
  • Enhanced knowledge retention : Through documentation, team members are able to share their expertise with each other and pass on their knowledge to future teams, helping to ensure that important skills and knowledge aren’t lost over time
  • Improved collaboration : Project documentation helps facilitate better communication between teams as all relevant parties have access to the same information, allowing for more informed conversations between team members
  • Increased accountability : Documentation helps create a chain of responsibility and accountability, which helps prevent confusion and that accountability remains clear when members come and go
  • Improved team morale : Documentation improves overall team morale, as it helps with communication, collaboration, and accountability, which makes it easier for team members to work together
  • Improved workflow : Well-structured, up-to-date project documentation can help streamline workflow by providing an easily accessible source of information for project teams
  • Better staff onboarding : Project documentation allows for faster onboarding of new staff as they can quickly become acquainted with the project and its progress by studying the documentation
  • Reduced errors : Documentation provides a single reference source that can be used to ensure all teams are working from the same information. This reduces the chances of errors caused by misunderstandings or discrepancies between versions of a project
  • Increased visibility : Documentation such as a business agreement or contract provides access to information that is up-to-date and accurate, thus increasing the visibility of the project and its progress for stakeholders

Bonus: Writing Tools & AI Text Generators

Project Documentation Made Easy in ClickUp

Project documentation is essential for teams to stay organized, on-task, and successful. With ClickUp, teams can streamline their project management and workflow processes, giving them the power to stay organized and be more productive. ⚡️

No more wasted time trying to track down scattered files and documents caused by multiple sources. Everything is accessible on one platform. Get started with ClickUp for free !

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create project documentation with examples

How to Create Project Documentation with Examples & Benefits

Category: Standard Operating Procedures

Last updated on Oct 31, 2023

Table of Contents

What is project documentation, benefits of project documentation, types of project documentation, how to create project documentation, best practices in writing project documentation, choosing the right software for project documentation.

Launching a new project is exciting. You’re in a race to get started and implement this project which you are sure will make a huge difference to your business. But wait.

First, you need to create robust product requirement documentation that clearly defines your goals and the scope of your work. The success of a project is highly dependent on the thoroughness of documentation which gives a project direction and accountability.

With project documentation in place, there will be fewer unpleasant surprises concerning the project. Everyone on the project team is on the same page and has greater visibility into the nature of the project.

It’s important to start with a project documentation definition.

Project documentation is very simple. It’s a collection of all the documents relating to a project, containing core project specifications, goals to aim for, budgets, risks, and many more subjects that are vital to know about. Documentation can be consulted by team members when they want to find out the status of the project, what work still needs to be completed, or client requirements.

project documentation types

If you create project documents, the project has transparency and everyone is working from the same playbook. You can track how well the project is going and whether it is meeting requirements. If someone has a question about a previous stage of the project, you can check the documentation records for a definitive answer.

Also Read:  The Ultimate Guide to Create a Business Playbook

There may be Project Managers out there who feel like they don’t have time to invest in making any kind of project document. It’s hard enough to get a project off the ground without having to create numerous documents that may or may not get read.

We’re here to tell you that project documentation has numerous benefits.

Keep project tasks and progress traceable

When you have thorough project management documentation, the roles and responsibilities of each team member are clearly defined. The project tasks and progress are traceable as you know who is supposed to complete what work by what deadline. This means you can track the project much more effectively and understand whether you are on target.

Improve communication between stakeholders and the team

Project documentation makes your assumptions about a project explicit. Stakeholders can understand what a project involves, how much it’s going to cost and how long it’s going to take. Any information relating to the project is readily available so that clear communication is made possible. Changes to the project are immediately conveyed so that stakeholders are always kept up-to-date on the status of the project.

Describe the methodologies and techniques beforehand

When you define your project documentation, you can outline the methodologies and techniques you are going to use beforehand which will lead to a more successful project. Documenting your methodologies means everyone can follow along and they know what to expect, because your project is more consistent.

Define and assign responsibilities with more accuracy

Project documentation allows you to clearly state who is assigned which tasks and ultimately responsible for which deliverables. When someone wants to ask a question about the project, they can easily see who is taking care of the relevant aspect and employees also spend less time duplicating work. Tasks don’t fall through the cracks as everyone knows who should be delivering what.

Improve deliverable and success rate

If your team knows what the deliverables are then they are more likely to be able to meet their targets. They can continually refer back to the documentation to find out the goals of the project and ensure that they are on track. Deliverables are given milestones and timelines to ensure that the team is held accountable and able to complete the project successfully.

Enhance productivity

Teams are more productive when they have access to the latest project documentation. They know what is within and without their scope of work and are better placed to meet the demands placed on the project team. They know which tasks are the highest priority and are more able to balance their workload. Projects are completed more quickly as everyone is working at full capacity with an understanding of their role in the process.

Mitigate the risk of losing information

Documenting your project means you are much less likely to lose information that could be valuable later down the line. It’s easy to forget what was said in meetings and projects become confused as everyone is relying on verbal communication to get things done. When you later want to look back on a project and learn from it, you have a written record of what took place.

Project Charter

The project charter is the foundation stone of your project documentation that communicates the scope of your project. It outlines the project’s objectives, the stakeholders who will be participating in the project, and who will be responsible for what. The project charter is created at the start of a project’s lifecycle and is continually referenced as the project unfolds.

Statement of Work (SOW)

A statement of work is more detailed than a project charter and it contains a project’s specifications. The statement of work details the project’s deliverables, timelines, and budgets and it may be exchanged between a company and a client to act as an informal contract for the work to be undertaken.

project documentation timeline example

Leave no room for errors by documenting your procedures!


Requirement Documentation

Requirement documentation explains clearly what the end result of the project will or will not do. The product has a particular purpose and must achieve specific ends in order to fulfill the needs of a certain user group.

Stakeholder Communication

Stakeholder communication outlines procedures relating to how your project team will communicate with stakeholders during the project’s lifecycle. It explains in detail exactly how communication will occur, from the channels used to communicate to the frequency of communication.

Change Management

When changes need to be made to the initial project plan they should be asked for and documented in the change management log . This keeps track of all the alterations to a project and includes the reason for the requested change, plus the person who is responsible for asking for the change.

Risk Analytics and Documentation

In risk analytics you should include all the potential risks of your project and their likelihood of occurring as part of your risk management plan, and what you will do to prevent them.

Issue logs are lists that help you stay on top of project issues as they come up and understand the impact that they have on the project. You record when the issue happened, a description of the issue and the action required and by whom.

We’ll talk you through how to make project documentation in six simple steps.

Step 1: Collect all requirements and related in a central repository

First of all, your project documentation needs to be collected in one place where team members and other stakeholders can easily access it. You might begin your project documentation process with documents spread out all over the place, in email chains, Word docs, Slack messages, PDF files, and more. It’s vital to bring all your documentation into a centralized repository which will function as a single source of truth that employees can check whenever they have a question.

Step 2: Be descriptive of the process and stages of the project

Next, make sure you give detailed descriptions of the project management process and the stages of the project. The different stages of the project management process all require different types of documents, ranging from planning to execution to completion. For example, your project charter is something that will be written at the beginning of the project while your issue log will be created and updated throughout the project lifecycle.

Step 3: Organize the information by stages and topics

Once you’ve created your project documentation, use your project documentation tool to organize the information into stages and topics. Different types of documents like your project status updates and project charter belong in different sections depending on what stage of the project planning process they’re at.

Step 4: Collaborate with your team on reviews

Your project documentation should be a team effort. Even if you’re a Project Manager tasked with creating a whole body of project documentation, you can benefit from the contributions of your team on reviews that help improve your documentation. They can tell you what is unclear, what is missing from your project documentation, and anything that is out-of-date. Incorrect documentation can damage the credibility of your project and confuse your team members, so reviews are essential.

Step 5: Publish the documents, add tags and indexing

Once you’ve got your project documentation up to a good standard, publish it in a documentation portal and make sure you add tags and index it with search. Your documentation should be easy to find by anyone who is searching for it and your documentation should show related articles for better content discovery.

Step 6: Maintain the documentation and update it

This is the final step in how to prepare documentation for a project. Your project documentation is a living entity that must be continually updated and maintained for comprehensiveness and freshness. Set aside an hour for every work to go through your documentation and identify documents that could benefit from revision. Keep certain documents updated like your issue log or your change management log.

Also read: External Documentation: Best Practices, Tips & Examples

Define the scope of the project

You must clearly lay out the terms of the project, defining what is within the scope of the project and what lies outside it. This guards against scope creep and ensure everyone knows what the project involves and what success looks like. A project could go on forever if you just keep adding things to do to the scope.

project documentation scope example

An intuitive project documentation software to easily add your content and integrate it with any application. Give Document360 a try!

Set up a team (contributors, reviewers, editor or publisher)

Bring a team together to collaborate on your project documentation. Your team must consist of contributors, reviews, editors and publishers so they can take your content through the entire lifecycle. Everyone has a different role to play in bringing your documentation through to completion and ensuring that it is created to the highest standard.

Identify topics and sub-topics

Identify all the areas in which your project documentation could be usefully divided into topics and sub-topics. Make a plan of all the documentation you want to create and systematically work your way through going topic by topic. Your documentation should be clearly organized in a systematized way so anyone can browse through your content to find what they need.

Be specific about expected results

You must clearly explain what you hope to achieve with your project so your team knows when your project has been successful. Specifically layout the expected results and when you think you will get there, with a solid definition of done. Articulate the final product in the most descriptive terms possible and make it clear to everyone involved.

Document technical parameters and environment requirements

If you’re working on a technical project then you’re going to need to document technical parameters and environment requirements. Make sure everyone knows the specifications needed and the technologies that will be involved in executing your project. Really go into detail about the requirements so there is no doubt in anyone’s mind about the project’s dependencies.

Compose project deliverable

Get really clear about what is going to be delivered at the end of the project after your definition of done. This could be a new mobile app or a new community center. Whatever your deliverable, get clear about what it is and how it will benefit the company when you’ve built it. What will be the tangible results of your project and how will you know when it has been delivered?

Assess Quality, Scope, Risk, Training, and Cost

When documenting your project, assess:

  • Quality – how will you ensure the quality of your project outcome?
  • Scope – what is included in the boundaries of the project and what isn’t?
  • Risk – what are the natural risks associated with your project and how will you tackle them?
  • Training – what training is required to build the necessary skills for the completion of the project?
  • Cost – how much will the project cost and what is the budget for it?

Refresh and update documents with version history

Use a documentation tool that allows you to store the version history for every document so you can refer back to it whenever necessary. Regular updates to your project documentation may result in a need to revert back to previous versions sometimes as you might need to remind yourself of the history of the project

If you’re engaging in the documentation of a project, you’ll need to have the right tools in place to store your documents and share them with your team. A good choice for project documentation is a company knowledge base , which is centrally managed by a team of contributors.

Document360 is one such tool, and it will help you get up and running with your project documentation using its stylish and intuitive interface. You can use the WYSIWYG or the markdown editor , and the category manager to organize your content into topics. The simple drag-and-drop UI allows you to rearrange categories with just a few clicks.

knowledge base portal

You can build a private , login-required, knowledge base for employees or clients so your documentation is always secure. Take advantage of Document360’s integrations and extensions with popular apps so you can expand the functionality of your knowledge base.

With Document360, you can view version history between multiple article versions or roll back to a prior version. You don’t have to worry about accidentally overwriting the content with automatic source control.

Wrapping up

It’s clear by now that if you are a Project Manager, your project is in desperate need of documentation to bring clarity and organization to your team. If you’re running a small project, you won’t need too much documentation or you might find your team getting weighed down with documents. Larger projects need more documentation naturally, as they are more complex and involve more moving parts.

Whatever your project documentation needs, make sure you get started with a tool like Document360, which will help you create and share your documents with your team. You can keep all your documents in one centralized location and team members can take advantage of a powerful search to find the content they need.

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Selvaraaju Murugesan

Jun 14, 2022

User Research for Technical Documentation

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Tactical Project Manager

The documents you MUST create for any project

  • by Adrian Neumeyer

If you frequently get stuck while setting up a project, this article will help you. What I’m gonna show you is a document based approach to prepare and set up new projects. Any project.

By following my approach — and doing your homework (mainly clarifying the project goal) — you’ll no longer get stuck during project launches.

Update: I just released a new video course where I show you exactly how to create the necessary documentation for your project. Click here for details .

From overwhelm to clarity

We get stuck when we are focusing on too many things at the same time:

  • Figuring out how to go about for your project
  • Getting estimates from team members
  • On-boarding stakeholders
  • Setting up a budget
  • Setting up a document share
  • Getting your new laptop to work

What happens is you end up completely overwhelmed and not moving forward.

And I don’t want that to happen to you.

Here’s how you can avoid overwhelm with new projects:

Ask yourself this question

Instead of starting with a blank page, ask yourself this question:

What documents do I need to prepare for my new project?

Your work becomes much easier that way.

Why it is smart to start with the documents

When you focus on the documents that need to be created, you have a step-by-step process for setting up a project. Setting up a project becomes like painting by numbers.

And even painting a Mona Lisa becomes achievable when all you have to do is fill out a pattern.

Look at this:

paint by numbers image

I’m not saying everything will become easy. Leading a project remains a tough job. But at least now you have a path that will take you to a complete and consistent action plan.

And all you have to do is fill out documents, one by one, until your project is fully-planned.

You can organize your calendar this way.

For example:

  • Today you write the project charter
  • The next day you create the schedule
  • Again the following day you plan out the budget

After 2-3 weeks of juggling Word and Excel, your project is ready to go!

Writing is thinking

You know what I found most helpful about this process?

Putting your ideas on paper forces you to think through your idea and to verify if it actually makes sense. This is how your initial, crappy plan becomes rock-solid in the end.

Just by writing it down, thinking and refining.

The documents you need for any project

Here’s the minimum set of documents you need:

You can get all these document templates with my Project Template Pack .

Description of the documents

Learn what each document is for. I added my templates.

1. Action and issue tracker

Record all action items and issues in a simple Excel file. Here’s the action tracker I use:

action tracker

Get all my project templates (including the action tracker) with my Project Template Pack .

2. Project charter

A project charter is like a contract between you and the client. It contains essential project information like milestones, budget, schedule and the high-level scope in a summarized form.

Learn how to fill out a project charter and download the template (same link).

The project charter is usually created in close collaboration with your client. You sit together and discuss expectations, responsibilities, important milestones and other things. Then you document everything in the project charter and make revisions factoring in the client’s feedback.

3. Project organization

A simple org chart of the entire project organization. It shows who is working in the project.

You’ve seen such kind of org charts before:

This project organization chart template can be used as basis to create your own project org chart.

Need a template? Get my project organization chart template here.

4. Project roles and responsibilities

People need clarity on what they are expected to do. Otherwise, team members will be running around like headless chicken and the project will not move forward.

Create a simple Powerpoint with the key roles and responsibilities. I recommend reading my article on defining roles and responsibilities .

Once you have defined the roles and responsibilities, share the information in a team meeting or project kick off . It’s not enough that you know what team members are supposed to do. You need to explain this to your folks!

5. Project plan

The project plan shows everyone what has to be done by when. You can use my project plan template for Excel which is included in my Project Template Pack .

If you are creating project plan on a regular basis, I recommend using a tool like Tom’s Planner — it makes drawing Gantt diagrams much easier.

Image: Tom's Planner makes drawing project plans a lot easier.

6. Project budget

Obviously, you need to put the costs somewhere …  a budget tracker!

You can get my budget tracker for Excel as part of my Project Template Pack .

The file allows you plan estimated effort and cost and to track actual expenses on a monthly basis.

If this is the first time you’re setting up a project budget, read my practical guide on project budgeting . The article shows you how to estimate and calculate project costs for each category, from personal effort to material and service fees to capital expenditures.

7. Stakeholder matrix

I recommend you also create a stakeholder matrix. This is an overview of all stakeholders of the project or – in other words — a list of people (or organizational entities) that might be affected by your project.

Why is it a good idea to create the overview? You don’t want to miss anybody in your project who might actually have a saying in it. Also, you want to communicate early to people who might be affected by the project’s scope.

Remember that stakeholders can be internal as well as external (for example government agencies).

Putting together a stakeholder matrix takes some time and a bit of “detective work”.

8. Risk Log

The benefits of the document-centered approach to project planning becomes clear when we talk about creating a risk register.

A risk register (or risk log) is where you record the most critical risks your project could be facing. It doesn’t just define those risks, but it also requires you to think about mitigating actions. Actions that either reduce the negative impact of a risk or alternative steps you could take if your original plan fails (your plan “B”).

screenshot of the risk assessment template for Excel

Should you create a risk log? Absolutely!

Get all my project templates (including the risk log) with my Project Template Pack .

9. Project communication plan

How often does the project team meet? When do you send out email updates to management?   What’s the escalation process?

That’s what you define in a project communication plan  document (includes template).

The reason why a communication plan is so important: As I’ve been stressing in my other articles too, good communication is absolutely essential for the success of your project:

  • Good communication means that that news and updates are regularly shared with the team and stakeholders. This way people know where the project is at. And they know what actions or issues are still open and require their attention.
  • Good communication also means fostering team collaboration. That is to bring the participating team members together on the same desk in order to work on common tasks or to brainstorm potential solutions for the issues the project is facing.

The communication plan defines the type and frequency of meetings and email updates and thus enforces proper collaboration and communication within the project.

10. Scope statement (requirement specification)

This document should include a detailed description of the project scope and the customer’s requirements ( what is meant by project scope? )

For example, if you’re building a new machine for a customer, the scope statement must specify in detail what the machine is supposed to do and how it’s going to be used.

If you’re setting up a new IT system, the scope statement (or requirement specification) must include a detailed description of the system features and interfaces with other systems.

The scope document determines the timeline and budget of the project, so it must be put together with great care. Often this can be a long process but it’s worth to put in the time until you have an approved and accurate scope document.

11. Change request tracker

As a project progresses, there will be changes to the initially agreed scope. This is totally normal and you can’t completely avoid that.

  • Your customer may decide that he would like marble instead of wooden flooring for his new home.
  • In an IT system rollout, the customer realizes that the system needs to be hooked up with another external system which wasn’t considered at the start.

Both examples are so-called changes  (or change requests) to the original project scope. They both will impact the project cost and maybe also the timeline. In other words: the project may require more time.

It’s a good practice to track such changes in a simple change tracker . Even if they are small. This allows you to set up a formal and well-organized process where every change gets reviewed, estimated (extra cost) and approved.

No change will be forgotton and nobody can blame you when the project budget goes up because a change was implemented. So, it’s a way to protect yourself as well.

screenshot of Excel change tracking form

For bigger changes I recommend you create a dedicated change request form. This is simply a detailed specification of the new requirement.

In my project scope article , you’ll find an Excel change tracker as well as my change request form.

A few more project documents I did not list here

There are a couple of project documents I did not include in the overview. That’s because I don’t consider them as essential for a successful project. However, you may want to use one or the other if internal project regulations require you to do so, or if you just consider them helpful.

  • Business case:  You create a business case to show that your project has economic and strategic benefits. For many projects this makes sense. On the other hand, many projects are started without an economic benefit in mind. They are just launched because they have to get done. An example would be upgrading a company’s outdated PC or network infrastructure.
  • Project status report:  Everybody uses their own template for communicating the project status. I didn’t want to limit you in that respect. If you are looking for proven template, get my project status template.
  • Lessons learned document: It’s a great practice to conduct a lessons learned workshop after a project is complete. It makes any future project better, because you learn from the things that have worked (or that didn’t work). But for your project itself a lessons learned document is not required.

If you are interested, I have a video course about Project Documentation

Adrian Neumeyer

Hi! I'm Adrian, former Senior IT Project Manager and founder of Tactical Project Manager. I created the site to help you become an excellent project leader and manage intense projects with success!

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How to create a goal-crushing project plan (+ 13 templates)

These project plan templates will prepare you for a smooth project..

Hero image with an icon representing a project template or Kanban board

If I learned anything from my borderline unhealthy obsession with "The Price is Right," it's that you can't underestimate the power of a good plan. Convinced I was just a hop, skip, and a "Come on down!" away from Showcase Showdown glory, I drafted a meticulous battle plan for how I would crush all the people who think a toaster oven costs the same as a Camry.

Even if the most meticulously laid plans are at the mercy of a capricious host with a skinny microphone, starting with a project plan template lays a foundation of order and direction in a world where the rules are made up and the points don't matter. (Wait, wrong show.)

In this post, I'll show you how the right project plan template can bring that same level of preparedness to your professional projects.

Table of contents:

What is a project plan template?

13 free project plan templates, who uses the project plan template, how to create a project plan in 7 steps, automate your project plan, what is a project plan.

A project plan is a formal document that details how a project will be executed by outlining the purpose, resources, scope, timeline, and deliverables required to complete said project. It guides teams on what the project is supposed to achieve, helps them communicate, keeps track of goals, decisions, and changes, and monitors progress.

The project plan isn't just a roadmap for how to proceed; it's also a vital tool for managing risk, ensuring clarity and transparency, and serving as a communication medium between all stakeholders. It provides a foundation for subsequent detailed planning, such as resource allocation and scheduling, and is essential for maintaining control over the project's progression.

Put simply: imagine trying to whip up a soufflé for the first time without a recipe. You might end up with a deflated mess and egg on your face (possibly literally). A project plan ensures you won't need a towel.

Zapier Interfaces , a no-code app builder, has a simple project plan template that lets you store data, create an interface for users to interact with, and set up workflows to automate the plan.

What does a project plan look like?

A project plan can take various forms, depending on the project's needs and complexity. It might be a comprehensive multi-page document detailing every phase, milestone, and activity or a succinct one-pager for smaller projects. Visual representations like a Gantt chart are often used to depict task sequences and dependencies, highlighting how different tasks interlink and the project's overall workflow.

Who crafts a project plan?

The project manager or a dedicated project planning team is responsible for crafting a project plan. This team must deeply understand the project's objectives, constraints, and the steps required to complete it successfully. Creating a project plan involves a series of strategic decisions, such as defining project phases and milestones, setting up timelines, and breaking the project into bite-size pieces, so the team doesn't choke on ambition.

A project plan template is a pre-formatted document that serves as a starting point for outlining the approach to a project. It typically includes sections for the project scope, objectives, timelines, resource allocation, risk assessment, and communication strategies (unless telepathy is in the budget).

These templates are vital, as they offer a structured framework ensuring consistency and thorough planning. They help avoid overlooking critical elements, streamline the planning process, and increase productivity, all while facilitating clear communication, aligning stakeholders, and setting a clear path to project completion. By using one, you're basically copying off the smart kid in class—you'll hit all the marks without having to think too hard.

Why reinvent the wheel when someone else has already done the heavy lifting for you? In a gracious act of charity, I present to you not one, not two, but 13 free project management templates. (Don't thank me too much—my design team made them.) Feel free to use them as is or, if you're feeling fancy, jazz them up with your own branding and visual elements.

1. Project proposal template

Screenshot of a project proposal template

A project proposal template provides a standardized format for outlining a project's objectives, scope, methodology, and resources. Aimed at persuading stakeholders or clients to approve and fund the project, think of this project management plan template as your first date outfit—designed to impress, communicate your best attributes, and get a "yes" to that second date or, in this case, the green light on your project.

2. Project kickoff meeting template

Screenshot of a project kickoff meeting template

A project kickoff meeting agenda is a guide that outlines the important topics to tackle during an initial meeting with project stakeholders to align goals, expectations, roles, and timelines for a new project. It's your project's pilot episode, where you introduce the cast of characters, set the scene, and tease the drama that'll unfold as your plan comes to life.

3. Project brief template

Screenshot of a project brief template

A project brief template is your project's elevator pitch on paper—a short, snappy document that tells everyone on the elevator (team members and stakeholders) why they should care about what you're doing before they reach their floor.

4. Gantt chart project plan template

Screenshot of a Gantt chart project plan template

A Gantt chart project plan template is a visual tool that outlines a project schedule, showing the start and finish dates of elements within the project and how they relate to each other over time. It's like a time-travel map for your project, visually plotting out your tasks in a way Doc Brown would appreciate.

5. Project communications plan template

Screenshot of a communications plan project template

A project communications plan template outlines the strategies, methods, frequency, and responsibilities for all communications within a project, ensuring no wires get crossed.

6. Business case template

Screenshot of a business case project template

A business case template is a bit like your project's resume. It highlights the skills (benefits), experience (costs), and special zing (risks and rewards) to convince the big bosses to hire (approve) your project.

7. Risk management project plan template

Screenshot of a risk management project plan template

A risk management project plan template is designed to identify potential risks in a project, analyze their impact, and outline mitigation strategies to ensure project continuity. It's your project's horror movie survival guide, except instead of avoiding chainsaw-wielding maniacs, you're sidestepping budget blowouts and timeline traps.

8. Project activity template

Screenshot of a project activity template

A project activity template is like a chore chart for grown-ups, detailing who's doing what, where, and when—hopefully without the bribery of gold stars and ice cream.

9. Project budget allocation template

Screenshot of a project budget allocation template

A project budget allocation template provides a structured approach to estimate the costs associated with various aspects of a project, helping to manage and distribute financial resources appropriately.

10. Project status report template

Screenshot of a project status report template

A project status report template summarizes a project's progress, risks, and issues, keeping stakeholders informed about its current state. It's basically your project's report card.

11. Resource management project plan template

Screenshot of a resource management project plan template

A resource management project plan template helps plan, allocate, and schedule the resources needed to complete a project.

12. Project monthly monitoring template

Screenshot of a project monthly monitoring template

A project monthly monitoring template is used to track the project's progression, financial status, and performance metrics systematically every month. It's like a monthly diary entry for your project but with fewer feelings.

13. Project change request template

Screenshot of a project change request template

A project change request template is a formal document that outlines a request for a change in the project, detailing the nature of the change, its impacts, and justification. This is the polite way of saying, "Hey, I know what we agreed on, but I've had a better (or more terrifying) idea, and here's a form filled out in triplicate about why we should do it."

A project planning template and the resulting project plan are used by a bunch of folks involved in the project's lifespan.

Project managers: Armed with a template and a dream, project managers are responsible for creating a clear and comprehensive project plan. They're constantly checking the plan like it's a newborn baby to make sure everything's on track and no one has accidentally dropped the project on its head.

Project team: These are the folks in the trenches who use the plan throughout the project execution phase. It helps them understand their roles, responsibilities, and timelines, providing a clear path to follow.

Subject matter experts: These are the brainiacs you call when you can't figure out how to fit that last puzzle piece. Their expertise helps in creating an accurate and feasible plan.

Stakeholders: These are the people, like clients and executives, who rely on the project plan for progress updates and a glimpse into the future of the project. It's as if they're trying to read tea leaves, discerning the fate of the project from the swirling patterns of tasks and deadlines.

Other departments: Depending on the nature of the project, departments like Finance, Marketing, or HR might also use the project plan template to align their activities with the project's scope and timeline.

The more these groups are involved in the plan creation and execution, the more collaborative and inclusive the project environment is. This effort also increases the likelihood of catching and rectifying any potential issues early in the project lifecycle, like a safety net made of collective brainpower and teamwork.

If you're the sort who likes to prep for a zombie apocalypse with a well-stocked pantry and a blunt object near every door, then you probably know the power of a good project plan. But drafting your own is a different story. These seven steps to banging out a project plan will make you feel like the boss of everything, including the undead.

1. Define the project scope and objectives

The project scope outlines the boundaries and limitations of the project, serving as a guideline to ensure the project doesn't deviate from its intended path. It helps in preventing scope creep, the sneaky goblin that eats your budget and poops out deadline delays.

Well-defined objectives offer a clear vision of what the project aims to achieve. They serve as a motivating factor for the project team, encouraging them to work toward a common goal. It's like gathering a group of first-graders and challenging them to build the world's tallest LEGO tower. Suddenly, their chaotic energy transforms into focused determination.

Additionally, objectives provide a benchmark against which you can measure the project's success. Making objectives as clear as my grandma's moonshine ensures that every decision and action taken aligns with the project's ultimate goals.

2. Identify key stakeholders and team members

Identifying key stakeholders and team members during project initiation is about as crucial as remembering to put on pants before leaving the house. Sure, you could wing it, but you'll likely encounter some uncomfortable situations and potential embarrassment along the way.

Stakeholders, like senior management and investors, have a vested interest in the project, and their input can be invaluable in shaping the project's direction. They provide resources, unique perspectives, and the uncanny ability to spot potential disasters from a mile away.

Team members are the fine folks who will bring your project plan to life, so make sure you know who's who and what they're responsible for. By doing this, you'll foster a sense of ownership and promote a collaborative work environment where everyone understands how their role contributes to the project's success.

3. Develop a work breakdown structure

A work breakdown structure (WBS) is a visual tool that breaks down all the work a project needs into smaller, more manageable parts. It's like that weird quote about eating an elephant. You wouldn't just shove the whole thing in your mouth, right? You'd start with small bites. The WBS is your fork and knife in this elephant-sized project feast.

Starting with the top level representing the overall project goal, each step down the hierarchy gets more detailed. The last level of the WBS is where you'll find measurable, actionable tasks.

4. Create a project timeline

Once all tasks have been created and organized in the WBS, you'll have to start estimating how long each task is going to take. It's a bit like guessing how many jelly beans are in the jar at a carnival, but with more spreadsheets. Assign a time frame to the project and create a schedule, making sure to include a buffer to account for any potential delays and prevent the plan from falling apart.

It's always wise to use a Gantt chart or another form of a project flow chart for time planning. That way, you can spot task dependencies quickly, track progress like a pro, and shuffle things around when the project gremlins inevitably throw a wrench in your plans.

5. Allocate resources and set a budget

Proper allocation of resources—be it human or material—is of the utmost importance in any project. Identifying these resources for each task helps ensure the project runs smoothly and efficiently.

When it comes to human resources, it's about assigning the right people to the right tasks based on their skills and expertise. Think of it as a less romantic, more productivity-focused version of Tinder: swipe right if their skills match the task at hand, swipe left if they think Excel is a brand of gum. Material resources involve physical supplies or equipment required to complete each task. Basically, if it's tangible and you need it to get the job done, put it on the list.

You've got to make sure your financial ducks are in a row, so you're not left scraping the bottom of the piggy bank. This means predicting all the expenses likely to be incurred—from salaries and equipment to software licenses and those pesky overheads. Just imagine a crystal ball, but instead of mysterious smoke, it's filled with receipts, invoices, and the occasional moth flying out of your wallet.

6. Identify risks and communication strategy

In order to effectively manage the project, it's important to identify potential risks and develop a communication strategy. Some challenges or threats that could arise include budget constraints, resource limitations, and unforeseen technical issues. Conducting a risk assessment is like planning a picnic and assuming it'll rain, there will be ants, and at least one seagull attack. Once you've got your list of potential project-ruining catastrophes, come up with a contingency plan to either stop them from happening or deal with them if they do.

You should also determine your communication strategy, whether through emails, seances, yelling across the room, or other means. Decide how often you'll check in and who needs to be in the loop.

7. Review, approve, and monitor

At this stage, all aspects of the project plan are reviewed and scrutinized to ensure that every detail has been considered, including whether Mercury is in retrograde. The approval process involves sign-offs from key stakeholders to ensure everyone is on the same page.

Once your project is up and running, keep those plates spinning with regular check-ins because if one crashes, everyone's going to hear it. If something isn't going according to plan, be ready to whip out your duct tape and make some adjustments.

While the seven steps outlined can set you on the path to a well-structured project plan, leveraging existing software can streamline the process. If Google Docs and Sheets aren't your jam, check to see if an existing app you use (like Notion or Coda ) has a template that might work for you, either built-in or from the community surrounding the app.

And once you've built out your project plan, you can use Zapier to automate workflows and connect your favorite apps. Learn more about how to automate project management , or take a spin at the Big Wheel with one of these pre-built workflows to automate the project plan templates above.

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Zapier is a no-code automation tool that lets you connect your apps into automated workflows, so that every person and every business can move forward at growth speed. Learn more about how it works .

Related reading:

How to automatically create documents from a template

The best project management software for small businesses

21 free Google Sheets templates to boost productivity

How to DIY Google Sheets Kanban boards (or use one of these templates)

21 project management templates to organize any workflow

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Based in New England, Allisa is a content marketer and small business owner who hopes to make the internet a more interesting place than she found it. When she’s not working, you can find her lying very still not doing anything.

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Project Documentation: Examples and Templates

Learn how to keep your project documentation organized and up-to-date with simple best practices.

Project documentation is a vital part of project management. It's also every project manager's least favorite task.

"We have no time for this right now."

"We're doing Agile."

"No one reads that stuff."

It may seem tedious, but comprehensive documentation is what can make the difference between the success and failure of your project. Let's dive deeper into what project documentation actually is and why it's worth your time.

What is project documentation?

Examples of project documents, the value of project documentation, choosing the right documentation software, how to document a project, project documentation template.

Project documentation is the process of recording the key project details and producing the documents that are required to implement it successfully. Simply put, it's an umbrella term which includes all the documents created over the course of the project.

Project documents come in many forms – from project proposals and business cases, to project plans and project status reports.

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It's difficult to strictly define what should be documented over the course of a project, as it's strongly dependent on the kind of project you are managing. A major project at a big enterprise usually requires a lot more paperwork than a small-scale initiative at an early-stage startup.

But some basic documents are needed in most cases. Here are five project document examples that your project will likely require.

Project proposal

A project proposal is written to initiate a project – it's the first step in the project management process . The goal of this document is to convince the decision-makers and stakeholders that the idea behind the project is worth pursuing. A project proposal needs to outline the project's core value proposition, which is often done in the form of a business case.

Project document example

Project charter

A project charter is another key project documentation example. This document lays the foundation for the project by covering the high-level project planning . It needs to outline how the business goals of the project will be achieved by explaining the key requirements, budget, tasks, roles, and responsiblities of the project. It’s the first document you write after your project proposal is formally approved.

Project plan

After the high-level planning is complete, the project manager creates a more detailed project plan . It serves as a roadmap for the project, defining the key project milestones and placing them on a timeline. This document evolves together with the project, capturing all changes and decisions and facilitating communication among project stakeholders.

Project status report

Depending on the scope of your project and the size of our team, keeping everyone up-to-date may become difficult. Project status reports are written to keep all project stakeholders – both internal and external – on the same page. These documents usually contain an overview of the progress you've made so far and the next steps you are planning to take.

Project retrospective

Every project is a learning opportunity. What went well? What could be improved next time? After you conclude the project, sit together with your team and do a project retrospective. Document your lessons learned in a separate document and use it as a reference for your next project.

Other project document examples

This was by no means an exhaustive list. Some large-scale projects require hundreds of separate documents and forms, while smaller projects tend to simplify and combine them.

Depending on the type of project you are planning to undertake, you may want to additionally create some of the following project documents:

Project scope statement

Business requirements document

Risk management plan

Cost management plan

Communication plan

Financial plan

The first and perhaps the most important reason why you should document your project is simple – writing things down forces you to think through your idea and to verify if it actually makes sense. It also makes your project much easier to manage by helping your team to:

Clarify the project expectations and objectives

Break down the work into manageable blocks

Plan and assign resources

Ensure that all stakeholders are informed about the progress

But it can also create long-term benefits for your organization even after the project is concluded:

Faster new employee onboarding . Good project documentation gives new team members access to all the knowledge that has been collected over the course of your projects, both past and ongoing. New team members are able to immediately understand decisions made in the past and to find relevant information without having to ask others on the team over the course of many weeks.

Better cross-team alignment . Thorough documentation brings clarity and transparency to what everyone is working on. As a result, decisions and discussions don't get scattered over chat and email, less time is spent in meetings, and work is less likely to get duplicated.

More effective knowledge management . The insights and lessons learned from one project can be transferred to new projects. Capturing and sharing this knowledge can help you develop new best practices, prevent repeated mistakes, and continuously improve your team's overall performance.

But in order to deliver on these goals, your internal documentation needs to be well-written, accurate, and up-to-date. In this guide, we will cover the tools and best practices you can use to improve the quality of your project documentation.

There are many different tools you can use to document a project – Google Docs, Confluence (and a variety of Confluence alternatives ), different types of internal wikis and knowledge bases , and more.

Depending on the size of your team and your approach to project management, your requirements may differ. Some teams need complex solutions with advanced features, such as built-in approval workflows and automated tasks, while others prefer simpler and easier tools with no learning curve. Whatever tool you choose, make sure all project stakeholders know how to use it.

In any case, an ideal project documentation tool should:

Be easily editable even by non-technical users, ideally, in real time .

Provide an instant and reliable search function.

Have intuitive navigation .

Make it easy to organize content .

Integrate with other tools to keep all your project assets in sync.

One such tool is Nuclino . It works like a collective brain, allowing you to bring all your team's knowledge, docs, and projects together in one place – create an account and give it a try:

Project documentation software

Part of what makes project documentation seem so frustrating – and even useless – is that the finished documents are often not read by anyone. Documentation is created only because it's what you're expected to do, and then immediately forgotten and discarded.

There are a few ways to ensure that the time you invest in documenting your project is not wasted:

Organize all project documentation in one place

Project-related communication tends to scatter across meetings, chat, email, and shared drives, leaving your team without a single source of truth. Instead, bring all project-related documents together in one place and don't waste time hunting through outdated Confluence pages or stale emails.

Organized project documentation

Make it easy to access and search

The easier you make it for people to find the information they need, the more likely they will be to read the documentation. Make sure your documentation tool is equipped with a reliable and fast search feature.

Keep it lightweight

While it's important to keep your project documentaion thorough, it also needs to be concise. No one will bother reading pages and pages of text – write down what you need and only what you need, with a clear purpose and audience in mind. Follow the rules of Agile documentation .

Collaboratively maintain it

Don't rush to laminate your project documents. As your project evolves and progresses, many key details may change, and your documentation needs to keep up. Create living documentation and give stakeholders access to share feedback, ask questions, and update it as needed.

Collaborate on project documentation

Every project is different and there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to project documentation. But this simple one-page project documentation template can be a good starting point.

As your project evolves and your documentation becomes more detailed, you may want to split it into separate documents to keep things more organized.

Project documentation template

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Free Project Management Templates

Enhance your project management skills with our pmbok®-based project management templates.

All of our free Project Management templates are developed by PMP certified Project Managers with extensive project management experience. Our templates are organized according to PMBOK® process group. Templates are one step in the how-to project management process and perhaps the easiest way to learn all about project management. All templates are provided free of charge, all we ask is that you share us with your colleagues and friends.

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Scope Management Plan Template

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Root Cause Analysis Template

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Project planning templates for project management

Use project planning templates to get your project going faster. Organize tasks and milestones while facilitating communication by using templates product development, marketing, business plans, goals, and employee onboarding.

What are project planning templates?

Templates provide frameworks that follow best practices for specific types of projects and help you plan and manage them from beginning to end.

Simple project planning

Track progress and take notes on a calendar with an easy-to-use project planning template.

Agile project planning

Plot milestones and tasks and use charts with this agile project planning template.

Product development and launch

Plan every stage of a new product launch with this project planning template.

Project goals and objectives

Break a large project down into smaller goals with this project goals and objectives template so you achieve every milestone on time.

Benefits of project planning templates

Discover how templates help you achieve the objectives of any project.

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Ramp up fast

Skip building and formatting plans for entire projects from the ground up. Just download project planning templates.

See and share information

Get an in-depth view of project status and easily communicate it with your team.

Stay on task and on track

Manage tasks and milestones throughout your project timeline.

Keep track of resources

Know where you stand at all times with employees and outside contractors.

Adapt as needed

Assess and adjust on the fly with easy-to-edit templates.

Essential reading about project planning

Explore resources that will help you save time and achieve your goals for every project, from kickoff to final reporting.


The project manager’s guide to planning a perfect project


5 project management tools to save time and money


How to pick a cloud-based project planning solution

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Frequently asked questions

A project planning template is a document that follows a standard format based on the type of project and helps define the scope and objectives with a list of essential elements such as stakeholders, scope, timelines, estimated costs, and methods of communication with team members.

Project planning templates let you quickly start new projects, set organizational standards, and facilitate processes.

It’s relatively easy to find free project planning templates online that are available for download. There are project planning templates built into many apps such as Microsoft Project .

Project plan templates actually do much more than help you plan a project. They help you manage it, track information such as costs and timelines, and lets you see the big picture and communicate important information to people on your team.

There are many different types of project planning templates. Chances are the type of project or project management style you use will have planning templates. These range from Agile to Scrum and Kanban to Waterfall and everywhere in-between.

Project Central

Project Documentation: What Is It and How to Do It Right?

Any initiative comes with paperwork. However, the importance of project documentation is greater than that of your run-of-the-mill paperwork.

Properly documenting projects comes with numerous benefits.

In this article, we’re going to show you the most important project management documents, as well as teach you how to document properly .

Let’s take a look!

What Is Project Documentation, and Why Does It Matter?

According to various definitions , project documentation is “a set of officially written, maintained or recorded material with information or evidence pertinent to your project.”

The main purpose of project management documents is to provide materials that you can reference , and with which you can prove that something was or was not done .

For example, when you’ve finished a project, you can reference documentation to double-check that the end product meets the quality standards and expectations set at the beginning.

Without relevant project documents, you would have no way of confirming that your project has met the client’s expectations .

They could easily say that they’re not happy, and you’d have no way of proving that you’ve done everything you agreed on .

Similarly, with project documentation, you can gauge some valuable lessons about your performance .

Then, you can apply them to future projects, improving your success rate.

Finally, documenting your project is one of the key responsibilities of your role as a project manager .

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Manage documents and deliverables in one place with SharePoint Online and Project Central. 

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Other benefits of project documentation include:

  • Define the benefits and costs of the project, and allocate resources with higher accuracy
  • Use a variety of methodologies, depending on the project’s specific requirements
  • Break down (sometimes overwhelming) project work into manageable tasks that are easier to track
  • Evaluate performance and progress, and make sure you complete the project in time
  • Check if the requirements have been met, and plan on meeting them. Without project documentation, there is no way of confidently knowing what has to be done, and what’s left to do
  • Reference change and risk documentation in case of disputes, scope creep, or other issues, to make resolution plans
  • Accurately communicate with all project stakeholders, including clients, top management, and project team members
  • Assign task responsibilities and prioritize tasks with more accuracy than without proper project documentation
  • Identify issues and/or risks before they’ve affected your project.

All these benefits are barely grazing the tip of the project documentation iceberg.

In general, project documents can help you understand, plan, and manage your projects better.

This is especially important if you’re a first-time or occasional project manager .

When you’re working on your first projects, you want to make sure the plan is watertight, and that no details slip through the cracks.

By using project management documents, you’ll improve your success rate and customer satisfaction from the get-go, and increase your credibility.

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4 Essential Project Documents 

Now that the benefits are clear, you don’t have to despair.

There really aren’t that many documents to keep track of, and they can significantly improve the way you work on your projects.

Here are the documents you’ll need:

1. Project Initiation Document or Project Charter

Your project initiation documentation should define the:

  • Project outline, expectations, and details
  • Project goals
  • Project scope
  • Project deliverables
  • Project organization
  • Business case for the project (How will it meet business goals?)
  • Project constraints (What cannot be done?)
  • Project stakeholders
  • Project risks
  • Project controls
  • Reporting frameworks.

Project Central Project Description

Typical project initiation documents are extremely detailed, which is why project managers sometimes use Project Charters instead.

Your Project Charter should include :

  • Reasons for starting the project
  • Project’s objectives and constraints
  • Project work directions
  • Target project benefits
  • Budget and spending authority.

Your project initiation documentation is crucial.

You’ll be referencing it throughout the project, as well as when the project is finished, so make sure it includes all the important details.

2. Project Scope Document

The second most important document is your Scope of Work.

Your Scope of Work document should include :

  • Deliverables
  • Project timeline
  • Project milestones
  • Project constraints.

The goal here is to ascertain what will be done, what can be done if needed, and what cannot be done at all, for example, you may be building an app for the client.

You could stipulate that you could spend 50 additional hours on changes.

However, you may not be able to spend any more time than that. That is a constraint.

Similarly, it’s always a good idea to define project milestones.

They’re great for tracking progress and checking in with stakeholders.

3. Project Plan Is One of the Most Important Project Management Documents

When you’ve defined the basics, it’s time to actually plan out the project itself.

The project plan contains all your plans regarding tasks, milestones, and timelines.

Consider it as your road map to project success.

Your project plan should include :

  • A work breakdown structure
  • Task responsibilities, priorities, and deadlines
  • Preferably your critical path, as well
  • Resource and budget management
  • Stakeholder communication and reporting plan/schedule, and a RACI matrix
  • Quality and performance management plan
  • Project change management plan
  • Risk, change and issue management plan.

In short, your project plan defines what you’ll do to complete the project .

It’s one of the most expansive documents in your project, but it’s well worth the time it takes to assemble it.

Project Central Task List

4. Other Project Documents You’ll Need

In addition to the big initiation documents that will set the project off on the right note, you’ll also need:

  • Project closure report (What was achieved? What were the lessons learned? Other information the receiver needs to know.)
  • Change and risk log (What changes and risks have you handled? How did you mitigate them?).

As you work on your projects, you’ll likely add your own documents to the list.

You’ll combine some documents with others (e.g. project requirements document may be added to your project charter).

However, these are the most important project management documents to start with.

3 Tips for Documenting Your Project Like a Pro

1. what you need to document.

As a rule of thumb, you should document everything that may pose a potential problem in the future , if left undocumented:

  • Legal constraints
  • Changes, issues, and risks
  • Requirements and deliverables specifications
  • Client meetings with proposed changes.

2. Use Document Collaboration Software

Make it easier for your team to find the right documents with Project Central , which integrates seamlessly with Microsoft 365, including SharePoint Online .

You can connect a project to a SharePoint Online document library to collaborate on files and deliverables in one place.  Users can attach the entire document library or a particular folder to the project. Project files remain in your SharePoint environment.

Project Central Document Library

3. Use Work Breakdown Structures and the Critical Path Method

Create accurate project plans with a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) .

With your WBS, you can break down project work into relevant tasks and sub-tasks.

And once you’ve done that, it’s time to chart your critical path .

By identifying task priorities, lengths, and dependencies, you’ll be able to create the quickest path to achieving all project goals.

Then, you can use the information gathered from your WBS and critical path diagrams to create highly-accurate and efficient project plans.

After that, documenting your project will be a piece of cake!

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Project Plan Template

Get your Project Plan Template for Word or open it in ProjectManager, the best way to manage your projects online.

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Download this free project plan template for Word to scope your work and break it down into manageable components; then schedule and assign the tasks needed to complete your project.

You can also use this project management plan template to manage workloads and tasks as changes occur. A project plan is the foundation of the work you do to lead a project to successful completion.

Once everything is sorted on the Word doc, open ProjectManager’s free project plan template. It lets you build a dynamic project plan that can be managed in five different project views: Gantt chart, task list, kanban board, calendar and spreadsheet. Plus, your team can collaborate on the project in real time and track progress along the way with dashboards and instant status reports. Get started for free with ProjectManager and build a better project plan.

Free project plan template

What Is a Project Plan Template?

A project plan template is a document that compiles all the guidelines and procedures the project management team needs to execute a project. Project plan templates allow project managers to save time during the project planning phase and also help them ensure nothing slips through the cracks.

How to Use This Project Plan Template

Project planning starts with a thorough project plan document. Follow these planning steps to ensure that your project plan covers all project aspects. This means you’ll be less likely to run into surprises.

1. Planning Basis

Project scope.

Begin with the project scope. What activities and tasks as defined in your project must be completed to make the project a success? Use the project charter as a springboard. You can also use a work breakdown structure to identify all the activities, tasks, deliverables and milestones of your project.

Project Milestones

Based on your project charter or work breakdown structure, note the milestones or major events or phases in your project, and collect them in a chart with three columns for the milestone, a description and its delivery date. Examples of milestones are when the business case is approved when the project team is appointed or the project management office is established.

Project Management Phases

The next step is detailing the phases of the project, which is defined as a set of activities, such as the project’s initiation, planning, execution, monitoring and closure. These should also be noted in a chart with the phase followed by a description of it and its sequence.

Project Tasks

You need to note the tasks that are necessary to complete the project, too. There are many project tasks such as developing a quality plan, formulating supplier contracts and performing project closure. Write them out in a chart listing the phase, activity, description and sequence.

Effort & Resource Requirements

This leads to the effort likely needed to complete the above tasks. List the task with the amount of time you believe necessary to finish the task. This in turn goes hand in glove with resources, so you want to take the task and attach a resource or team member to it. This is the person responsible for completing the task.

2. Project Plan

Project schedule.

Now you’re ready to create a project schedule from the summary above. Use the phases and activities to create a Gantt chart to easily visualize the project timeline, the work needed and its duration.

Task Dependencies

You want to add the dependencies, or tasks that are linked to others and can potentially block team members if not done in a timely and sequential manner. In fact, there are four types of task dependencies: finish-to-start, finish-to-finish, start-to-start and start-to-finish. List the key dependencies in a chart with the activity, what it depends on and the type of dependency.

Project Assumptions and Constraints

List any assumptions you have about the project. Then note the project constraints. Finally, in an appendix, you’ll want to attach the supporting documentation, such as the project schedule, business case, feasibility study, project charter, etc.

3. Budget, Risk and Change Management

Project budget.

The project budget is one of the most critical components of any project plan. That’s because the project budget determines the amount of money available for your project. Therefore, you need to be very careful when creating yours.

First, gather your project tasks, identify the resource requirements for each and lastly estimate their costs. Once you have the costs for each project task, you can add them to get your estimated project cost value. That value will be your cost baseline and the base for your project budget.

Every project plan needs a risk management section. Our project plan template has a risk log so you can list the potential risks that could affect your project plan. From there you can develop your risk mitigation strategies and assign risk owners.

Change Management Process

Every project plan needs to be changed during the execution phase for several reasons. For example, new project requirements might arise and cause changes to the original plan. As a project manager, you must oversee how changes are made to your project. Our change management log helps you keep track of any changes made to your project plan.

4. Appendix

Each project management plan is unique, and its components might vary depending on the requirements of your project. These are the most commonly used documents:

  • Project Budget Template
  • Change Request Template
  • Change Order Template
  • Scope Management Plan
  • Cost Management Plan
  • Risk Management Plan

Why You Need a Project Plan Template

Now that you’ve downloaded the free project plan template, you are ready to get your project on track to a successful completion! The project plan is crucial, as it is the fundamental project planning document from which your project is formally managed.

The project plan is made up of goals, activities, tasks and resources needed to complete the project as outlined in the project business case and the project charter. You want to have a description of the major phases of the project, a schedule of activities, tasks and their duration, dependencies, resources, timeframes, etc. Then list the assumptions and constraints in the project planning process.

When you’re creating a project management plan, follow these steps: note the project scope, identify milestones and tasks, estimate costs, quantify the effort required, allocate the resources, make a schedule , list dependencies and document it for approval. Your project management plan template needs to incorporate components such as the scope management plan, cost management plan and schedule management plan, among others.

A Project Plan Template, showing the first steps in the form-fillable project management plan template document

While the business case from earlier in the project planning process may offer a general project view, the project plan goes into greater detail once the project scope and charter are formalized and a team is hired. Although you write the project plan during the project planning phase, it doesn’t stay in a drawer once complete. This project plan template should be considered a living document that’ll be revisited and referred to throughout the project life cycle. This is because the project management plan is a roadmap that project managers use during the execution phase when they need information about the project schedule, costs, scope and budget.

Once your document is finalized, it’s time to build a dynamic project plan and schedule. Project planning software can help you transfer your project plan onto a Gantt chart so you can create a timeline, schedule work, design phases, attach documents and track progress along the way. Then share the plan with your team, who can use multiple project views, such as the task list, sheet, calendar and kanban board.

ProjectManager's kanban view

When Do I Use the Project Plan Template?

The project management life cycle is made up of five phases: the initiation phase, the planning phase, the execution phase, the monitoring and the closure phase. Planning comes in after you’ve initiated the project but before it’s executed.

For example, during the initiation phase, there are many documents that are created to set up the project plan, such as a feasibility study to identify the problem you want to solve, the scope of the project and the deliverables you want. This feeds into the business case , which compares costs versus benefits. The statement of work (SOW) looks at the project goals, objectives, scope and deliverables.

These don’t constitute a project plan, but they do lay the foundation on which you’ll build your plan. This is when you take the broad strokes from the initiation phase and break it down into smaller, more manageable tasks. Each of these tasks must be achieved within the project timeframe.

Who Uses the Project Plan Template?

It’s important to note that the project manager is tasked with the ownership of creating the project plan, but work isn’t done in isolation. The project manager must work in congress with the team, experts and others who can provide insight and guidance into developing a realistic project management plan.

Teams are assembled for their skills and experience working on such projects, so it makes sense that you need ideas on how to plan the project. Of course, the team will have access to the project plan throughout the execution phase of the project. They’ll be assigned tasks and be responsible for delivering them on time and within budget.

Others who will use the project plan include stakeholders and executives, or anyone with a vested interest in the successful outcome of the project. The project manager will present to these groups throughout the project life cycle to keep them abreast of progress and ensure that actual progress matches what’s been outlined in the project plan.

Free Project Management Templates

There are dozens of free project management templates for Word and Excel available on our site. Some of them are useful during the project planning process. Here are a few that can help build your project plan.

Action Plan Template

Your project plan has to align with a larger strategy which is outlined in an action plan. The free action plan template provides you with a space to lay out the needed steps and concrete tasks to reach your project goal. The action plan gives you a frame in which to capture the main thrust of the project to help you prioritize tasks in your plan.

Gantt Chart Template

The Gantt chart is the workhorse of project management planning. It’s a visual tool that organizes your tasks on a timeline . It helps you prioritize and set durations for each task, shows phases and breaks up larger projects into more manageable phases.

WBS Template

Another key tool when building your project schedule is the work breakdown structure (WBS). This is a technique for working backward from your final deliverable to outline each step that gets you there. It’s a thorough way to make sure you don’t miss any puzzle pieces of your larger project. This project management template takes you through that process.

Related Content

Now that you’ve downloaded your free project management plan template and it reflects your project plan, you’re ready for the job at hand. But, whether you’re a project management journeyman or apprentice, you never want to stay complacent. Industries and businesses don’t stand still, and you have to do your best to stay up-to-date on new trends.

There are many free project management templates and topics of discussion on ProjectManager that can be easily filtered to bring you the content that’s most relevant to your interests. Subjects include, but aren’t limited to, project management software, scheduling, risk and task management, collaboration, time tracking, Gantt charts, reporting and, of course, planning.

As the subject at hand is planning, we’ve compiled three of the most recent and relevant posts on project planning. Enjoy!

  • Project Documentation: 15 Essential Project Documents
  • How to Choose a Project Planner
  • How to Create a Program Management Plan
  • Agile Sprint Plan Template

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ProjectManager is a great project planning tool. It offers the features you need to plan, track and report on your project. There are online and interactive Gantt charts that take the pain out of having to build one manually.

The software is also online so it’s easy to access from anywhere and on any device. Better still, it makes sharing necessary documents and tasks easy, and both the project manager and team members can get automated notifications to streamline the reporting process.

Why not plan your next project on ProjectManager? Our project management software has been repeatedly ranked #1 on Gartner’s GetApp in its project management software category. ProjectManager has been helping businesses both big and small to lead their projects to success, including such innovative organizations as NASA.

Our project management software is big enough to handle the largest and most complex project planning challenges while being user-friendly and intuitive. There’s no learning curve or long and involved training involved, and a team of customer service reps is available to answer any question you may have. Sign up for a free 30-day trial today and start planning your projects online.

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Table of Contents

What is project documentation, project documentation uses, details of project documentation phases, choose the right program, lessons learned, project documentation and its importance in 2024.

Project Documentation and Its Importance

Project management leaders are often asked a common question: what is the importance of project documentation and how can I ensure I’m performing the function right. There’s no doubt that project documentation is a vital part of Project management training . The essential two functions of documentation substantiate it: to make sure that project requirements are fulfilled and to establish traceability concerning what has been done, who has done it, and when it has been done. 

Are you looking forward to making a mark in the Project Management field? If yes, enroll in the PMP Certification Program now and get a step closer to your career goal!

Project documentation consists of a collection of documents that the project manager creates during the project's development process . The project team is expected to follow certain procedures, specifications, and guidelines for such documents, including a project plan, schedule, and budget.

Documentation must lay the foundation for quality, traceability, and history for both the individual document and for the complete project documentation. It is also essential that the documentation is well arranged, easy to read, and adequate.

Earn 60 PDUs: Pick from 6 Courses

Earn 60 PDUs: Pick from 6 Courses

Experienced project manager s excel at making and following standard templates for their project documents. They reuse successful project plans , business cases, requirement sheets, and project status reports to help them focus on their core competency of managing the project rather than balancing the unmanageable paperwork.

Project management usually follows major phases: Initiation, Planning, Control, and Closure.

Project Details

Feasibility Report

The purpose of a feasibility report is to investigate and showcase task requirements and to determine whether the project is worthwhile and feasible. Feasibility is verified by five primary factors – technology and system, economic, legal, operational, and schedule. Secondary feasibility factors include market, resource, culture, and financial factors.

Project Charter

Project charter is sometimes also known as the project overview statement. A project charter includes high-level planning components of a project, laying the foundation for the project. It acts as an anchor, holding you to the project's objectives and guiding you as a navigator through the milestones. It is formal approval of the project.

Requirement Specification

A requirement specification document is a complete description of the system to be developed. It contains all interactions users will have with the system as well as non-functional requirements. 

Design Document

The design document showcases the high- or low-level design components of the system. The design document used for high-level design gradually evolves to include low-level design details. This document describes the architectural strategies of the system.

Work Plan/Estimate

A work plan sets out the phases, activities, and tasks needed to deliver a project. The timeframes required to deliver a project, as well as resources and milestones, are also shown in a work plan. The work plan is referred to continually throughout the project. Actual progress is reviewed daily against the stated plan and is, therefore, the most critical document to deliver projects successfully.

Traceability Matrix

A traceability matrix is a table that traces a requirement to the tests that are needed to verify that the requirement is fulfilled. A useful traceability matrix will provide backward and forward traceability: a requirement can be traced to a test and a test to a requirement.

Issue Tracker

An issue tracker manages and maintains a list of issues. It helps add issues, assign them to people, and track the status and current responsibilities. It also helps develop a knowledge base that contains information on resolutions to common problems.

6% Growth in PM Jobs By 2024 - Upskill Now

6% Growth in PM Jobs By 2024 - Upskill Now

Change Management Document

A  change management  document is used to capture progress and to record all changes made to a system. This helps in linking unanticipated adverse effects of a change.

Test Document

A test document includes a test plan and test cases. A test case is a detailed procedure that thoroughly tests a feature or an aspect of a feature. While a test plan describes what to test, a test case describes how to perform a particular test.

Technical Document

Functional document.

Functional specifications define the inner workings of the proposed system. They do not include the specification of how the system function will be implemented. Instead, this project documentation focuses on what various other agents (such as people or a computer) might observe when interacting with the system.

User Manual

User Manual is the standard operating procedure for the system.

Transition/Rollout Plan

The rollout plan includes detailed instructions on how to implement the system in an organization . It consists of the schematic planning of the rollout steps and phases. It also describes the training plan for the system.

Handover Document

The handover document is a synopsis of the system with a listing of all the deliverables of the system.

Contract Closure

Contract closure refers to the process of completing all tasks and terms that are mentioned as deliverable and outstanding upon the initial drafting of the contract. This is only applicable in cases of outsourced projects.

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Program Name PMP® Certification Training Course PMP Plus Post Graduate Program In Project Management Geo All Geos All Geos All Geos University PMI Simplilearn University of Massachusetts Amherst Course Duration 90 Days of Flexible Access to Online Classes 36 Months 6 Months Coding experience reqd No No No Skills you wll learn 8+ PM skills including Work Breakdown Structure, Gantt Charts, Resource Allocation, Leadership and more. 6 courses including Project Management, Agile Scrum Master, Implementing a PMO, and More 9+ skills including Project Management, Quality Management, Agile Management, Design Thinking and More. Additional Benefits Experiential learning through case studies Global Teaching Assistance 35PDUs Learn by working on real-world problems 24x7 Learning support from mentors Earn 60+ PDU’s 3 year course access Cost $$ $$$$ $$$$ Explore Program Explore Program Explore Program

Lessons learned in project documentation are used at midpoints of the project and at project completion to catalog significant new learnings that have evolved as a result of the project. They are used to build the knowledge base for the organization and to establish a history of best and worse practices in project implementation and customer relation.

Proper project documentation is undoubtedly a mandatory element in managing projects, but it is also extremely useful in keeping projects moving at a speedy pace, ensuring all stakeholders are as informed as possible, and helping the organization make better improvements in future projects. We hope this information was useful for you and wish you good luck in your PMP certification journey.

PMP ® and PMI® are registered trademarks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

Our Project Management Courses Duration And Fees

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Recommended Reads

An Introduction to Project Management: A Beginner’s Guide

Understanding the Importance of PMP® Bootcamps

Study the Importance of Types of Networks: LAN, MAN, and WAN

Project Management Interview Guide

How to Close a Project: Product Scope Analysis, Indexing, and Documentation

What is Project Planning: Tools and Fundamentals

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Process Street

Project Management Project Plan Template

Define project scope, identify key stakeholders, create project schedule, determine budget, define communication strategy.

  • 4 Project Management Software
  • 5 In-person
  • 5 As needed

Identify Risks and Mitigation Strategies

Define project success criteria, approval: project manager for project scope.

  • Define Project Scope Will be submitted

Develop Detailed Project Plan

Set up project tracking tools.

  • 1 Project Management Software
  • 2 Spreadsheets
  • 3 Kanban Board
  • 4 Task Management Software
  • 5 Gantt Chart

Initiate Kickoff Meeting

  • 1 Project Manager
  • 2 Client Representative
  • 3 Team Members
  • 4 Stakeholders
  • 5 External Consultants

Assign Roles and Responsibilities

  • 2 Team Lead
  • 3 Subject Matter Expert
  • 4 Quality Analyst
  • 5 Technical Support

Monitor Project Progress

  • 1 Checklists
  • 2 Progress Reports
  • 3 Task Assignments
  • 4 Milestone Tracking
  • 5 Status Meetings
  • 5 Quarterly

Conduct Regular Project Status Meetings

  • 4 As needed

Maintain Project Documentation

  • 1 Project Charter
  • 2 Requirements Document
  • 3 Risk Register
  • 4 Meeting Minutes
  • 5 Change Requests

Apply Risk Management Practices

  • 1 Risk Identification
  • 2 Risk Assessment
  • 3 Risk Mitigation
  • 4 Risk Monitoring
  • 5 Risk Communication
  • 4 Quarterly

Facilitate Change Management

Approval: stakeholder for project deliverables.

  • Develop Detailed Project Plan Will be submitted

Conduct Project Closure Meeting

Analyze project performance.

  • 2 Key Performance Indicators
  • 3 Benchmarking
  • 4 Project Success Criteria Evaluation
  • 5 Stakeholder Feedback

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project planning documentation

Creating effective technical documentation

Author avatar

Effective feature documentation is important in enhancing a user's experience with the feature. Good documentation is like a piece of the puzzle that makes everything click — the key for encouraging feature adoption.

To support you in creating effective technical documentation, this article provides an overview of the core principles of technical writing. It also highlights the best practices for creating clear and accessible documentation. Applying these technical writing principles helps us maintain the high quality of content on MDN. Whether you're documenting your own project or product or contributing to technical content in various settings, you can improve the quality of your work by following these best practices.

Adopt clarity, conciseness, and consistency

These three Cs form the core principles of technical writing. They can take you a long way in producing quality documentation.

For achieving clarity in your writing, apply the following guidelines:

  • Use simple words and clear language. Keep in mind the audience, especially if it includes non-native English speakers.
  • Be clear about who needs to perform the action. Writing in active voice is not strictly required. However, you should use it when you want to be clear about who needs to perform the action. For example, clarify whether a function is triggered by an event or if the user needs to explicitly call the function.
  • Clearly introduce and explain new terms. This helps to lay the foundation for concepts that are covered later in the documentation.
Tip : Replace "it", "this", and "these" with proper nouns if they can refer to more than one thing in the given context.
  • Aim for one idea per sentence to improve readability.
  • Stick to one main idea per paragraph. Each sentence in a paragraph should logically connect to the one before it. Imagine if each sentence in a paragraph was a link in a chain. If you pick up the first link, the other links in the chain should follow, forming a continuous sequence. This is how the sentences should connect to each other, ensuring a seamless flow of a single idea.


Keep sentences short. This automatically increases the readability and clarity of your document. It also helps in quick comprehension. Long sentences can be more challenging to understand quickly due to their complex structures.

Tip : Based on common readability standards, aim for 15-20 words per sentence.

For additional insights on sentence length and readability strategies, see Simple sentences (on ) and Popular readability formulas , including the Flesch-Kincaid index, on Wikipedia.


Use the same terminology throughout your documentation to ensure a seamless reader experience. For example, if you start referring to "user agents" as browsers, stick with that term consistently. This avoids confusion that can arise from using words interchangeably, even when they share the same meaning.

Additionally, maintain consistent word casing and follow a uniform formatting style throughout your documentation. These practices not only enhance readability but also contribute to a professional presentation of your documentation.

Organize your content for maximum impact

Apply the same principles for organizing your content as you would for organizing your code: spend some time setting a clear goal and thinking about the desired structure for your documentation. Ensure that each subsection contributes to this goal incrementally.

Start with an introduction

In the introduction, first describe the feature you're documenting. Next, set the context by explaining why learning about the feature would be beneficial to the readers. This can include describing real-life scenarios where the feature can be useful. The more relevance you add to the topic, the easier it will be for readers to understand and engage with the content.

Progress logically

The following questions can help you ensure that your content is progressing logically:

  • Is your document structured to guide readers from foundational concepts to more advanced ones? Are there sections to introduce the " what " to establish a base before delving into the " why " and " how "? Consider whether the document structure mirrors the natural learning path for the topic. Aligning the document's structure with the natural progression of learning helps readers build their knowledge step-by-step and also enhances the overall learning experience.
  • Are there sufficient how-to guides or examples following the conceptual sections?
  • Consider the flow of the content. Is it following a logical sequence — from one sentence to the next, from one paragraph to the next, and from one section to the next? Does each section logically build on the information presented previously, avoiding abrupt jumps or gaps in the content?

Additionally, as you work on the draft, always ask yourself:

  • What reader questions am I addressing with this sentence?
  • Can I add a simplistic or real-life use case to explain this concept?

Include examples

Imagine sitting next to someone as you explain the concepts to them. Preempt their questions and address them in your writing. Use this approach to add as many relevant examples as possible.

When adding examples, don't restrict yourself to only code; include non-code scenarios to demonstrate a feature's utility. This helps readers understand the concepts better and also caters to different learning styles. Consider providing real-world scenarios or use cases to illustrate how the feature or concept applies in practical situations.

Optimize the document structure and length

Evaluate your documentation's structure to ensure it maintains a logical and balanced hierarchy.

  • Ensure that each section and subsection has a clear purpose and sufficient content.
  • Look for instances where a main section contains only one subsection (orphan), such as a single H3 section under an H2 section. This indicates that you need to reorganize your content or make some additions.
  • Check if there are lower-level headings such as H4 . Too many subsections can be overwhelming for readers, making it difficult for them to grasp the information. In such cases, consider presenting the content as a bulleted list instead to help readers retain the key points more effectively. This approach helps to simplify the hierarchy and also contributes to easier navigation.
  • While there should be sufficient content for each section, pay attention to the overall length. If any section becomes too extensive, it can be overwhelming for readers. Split large sections into multiple logical subsections or restructure the content into new sections and subsections. Grouping content into digestible pieces helps maintain focus and improve navigation for readers.

Proofread your writing

One aspect that cannot be stressed enough is the importance of self-reviewing and proofreading what you've written. Whether you're creating a large document or a short paragraph, this step is crucial.

Taking the time to fully review your work will help you identify sections that don't flow well or can be improved for clarity. During self-review, aim to spot and remove redundancy (repetition of ideas without adding value) and repetitiveness (overuse of words or phrases). These refinements will ensure your documentation is clear and coherent and conveys your ideas as intended.

Proofread and then take a break before you review again. Only then submit your work. While spell checkers can flag spelling errors, they might not flag incorrect use of words, such as an unintended use of "he" instead of "the". It's best to take a break and return with fresh eyes to catch any errors you might have missed. Pay close attention to identify inconsistencies in tone, style, tense, or formatting and make the necessary adjustments.

Additional tips

To improve the clarity and accessibility of your documentation, also keep the following guidelines and tips in mind. To go in-depth into any of the topics, feel free to consult our Writing style guide .

  • Bulleted vs numbered lists : Lists, in general, make documentation easier to scan. Use bulleted lists when there is no specific order of the items. Use numbered lists when the steps need to be followed in the specific order. Always include a lead-sentence before beginning a list to provide context.
  • Commas : Use a comma after an introductory clause to improve readability and to clarify the sentence structure. Use a comma to separate items in a list to ensure clarity.
  • Alt text : Always provide an alternative text for the images you add to content. This makes your documentation accessible to people using screen readers. In addition to images, ensure that video and audio files have accompanying descriptive texts.
  • Descriptive link text : Make sure each link text is clear even out of context and clearly indicates where the link leads. Descriptive link texts also help people using screen readers understand the destination of links. For example, use "Read our writing style guide to learn more" instead of "Click here to learn more".
  • Inclusive language : Make your documentation welcoming to everyone. Strive to use words that respect and acknowledge the diversity of your audience.

That's it for this article. I hope you found these tips helpful as a quick refresher on technical writing best practices. Remember that learning how to create effective and easy-to-use documentation is an ongoing process. It starts with understanding your audience and the goals of your documentation. By applying these technical writing principles and tips, you'll certainly be able to enhance the clarity and overall quality of your documentation.

Let me know if you learned something new or if there's any idea that resonated with you. I'd also like to hear if there are any best practices you use in your technical documentation workflow. Share with us on Mastodon or Discord .

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10 Essential Types of Construction Documents

types of construction documents

Construction documents help keep your projects organized and guide the construction process from start to finish. Having access to these construction documents puts information into the hands of the right people at the right time, so decisions can be made quickly and action can be taken to finish projects on time and within scope. 

There are many documents that you’ll come across when working in construction, but there are around 10 that make up the core essential documents that you need to have for each project. 

What are Construction Documents?

Construction documents have several purposes, including covering daily information, keeping track of a project and documenting changes, inventory tracking, permit applications, and others. These documents essentially cover the full range of your business operations from the beginning of a project until the end. 

Some common kinds of construction documents include:

  • Bidding documents
  • Architectural drawings
  • Work orders
  • Safety reports
  • Certificates of insurance
  • Subcontractor applications

…as well as many others. 

The 10 Types of Construction Documents for Construction Projects:

There are all kinds of construction documents that you may come across on any single project, and they may not always be the same. However, there are usually several core documents that you’ll come across regardless of the type of project you’re handling. 

Feel overwhelmed trying to stay ahead of changes and decisions when countless project documents are all over the place? Watch our webinar, Document Management 101: How to Align Teams & Simplify File Sharing .

The following is a collection of the 10 types of construction documents that we believe you should understand and use on your projects. These are some of the most common and important construction documents for building projects of all kinds. 

1: Construction Agreement

A construction agreement is a document that goes over the scope of work that is to be done on a construction project. It will touch on information such as:

  • Who will complete the work on the project
  • The scope of work that is going to be done
  • A full description of the project
  • Supplier information
  • Payment information, including who is going to pay for the project
  • A general schedule and timeline
  • Provisions for delays 
  • Contractor protections
  • Documentation about local contract laws
  • Insurance 
  • Claims processing

The basic agreement has to be signed before any work can begin. 

2: General Conditions

The general conditions contract goes over the contractor’s obligations. It basically goes over the legal framework for the contract and will have details about how you can resolve problems or disputes during the construction process. 

3: Special Conditions

Special conditions documents go over any aspects of the project with specific instructions that don’t apply to the rest of the project. This kind of document is an extension of the general conditions document. 

4: Scope of Work (SOW)

For any project, you need to know the scope of work to be done. Scope of work documents state everything that will need to be done to complete the project. 

With a good scope of work document, the details about the entire project will be made clear, so it’s simpler to come up with a timeline for the project as well as other conditions tailored specifically for the build. 

Scope of work documents may cover information such as who will complete certain parts of the project or what kinds of materials are going to be used. 

5: Drawings

Construction documents often include architectural drawings. These visual documents represent the final design and give something for the customer and contractor to review and agree on before work begins. 

6: Specifications

A project’s specifications discuss technical details about the project. Also referred to as “ specs ,” these will cover information such as the:

  • Equipment that is expected to be used on-site
  • Techniques necessary for the build
  • Acceptable material deviations
  • Material requirements
  • Best practices
  • Common standards
  • Testing or certifications required when the project is done

7: Bill of Quantities

To keep track of all tools and materials, a bill of quantities is needed. This is essentially an itemized list of all the materials, tools, labor, and parts used on the build. Pricing for each of these items is also included. 

A bill of quantities helps contractors estimate how much a project will cost to build, so they can offer accurate bids. Customers can also benefit from this document, as they can see an itemized breakdown describing where their money has been spent. 

8: Construction Schedule

Every project you complete will have a schedule. A construction schedule is important, because it helps keep the project on track and finished on an approximate timeline. Schedules aren’t always firm; some will have options for delays, or ways to alter the schedule if necessary during the build. 

As an example, most commercial projects will need multiple permits, and those could cause delays. The schedule may go over what will happen when delays occur, as well as what to do if materials or permits cannot be obtained as expected.

A good construction schedule will go over the components needed for the project as well as when construction will begin and be completed. If licensing or permits are needed, they might be added to this schedule, so the team knows when to apply for them.

9: Schedule of Values

A schedule of values is a helpful document that goes over each work item on a particular project. It also includes the cost or value of each item. 

This list is comprehensive and goes over all costs in the contract price from start to finish. 

10: Cost Estimate

With a cost estimate document, it’s easy to identify both soft and hard costs. This kind of estimate may be issued as a lump sum or may be broken down into sections. 

First, hard costs have to be added. These include:

  • The expected work to be completed
  • Estimates for labor
  • Contingencies
  • Overhead costs
  • Landscaping costs

A cost estimate may also go over soft costs , such as:

  • Inspection fees
  • Equipment needed to complete the job

Normally, soft costs make up around 30% of the overall budget, while hard costs make up closer to 70%.

How to Streamline and Simplify Construction Document Management

It is helpful if you have all of the above documents available to you, so you can search for data quickly and easily. Searching for documents like these takes up around 35% of all construction professionals’ time .

Fortunately, there is technology that can help keep construction documents in order , helping centralize your data to make it available where and when you need it.

Read more: 10 tips for better construction document control

1. Centralize Your Construction Data

One of the best ways to stay organized is by centralizing your construction data . Data is most valuable when it’s easy to find and analyze. When data is hard to find, decisions may need to be made with less information, and that increases the risk of errors on a project. 

Instead of having your data on disconnected engines or in multiple locations, consider leveraging a common data environment. This environment centralizes everything you do, so you, as well as anyone else on your team, have access to all the information you need when you need it. 

For example, if you keep your construction data in a centralized cloud-based environment, you’ll be able to collect, manage, analyze, and distribute that data much more efficiently. A centralized data environment facilitates collaboration and helps your team avoid duplication and mistakes. It is also available online, which means that you can access your data on-site, in the office, or anywhere you are. 

How to Effectively Track Documents in Construction

2. Make Construction Documents Accessible Anywhere

Speaking of centralizing your documents, helpful cloud-based construction management solutions like Autodesk Construction Cloud can make it easier to access your data from anywhere while also keeping it organized and secure. 

Looking closer at a common data environment, a CDE is one of the best ways to collect, manage, and disseminate all documentation throughout the course of your project. A CDE, essentially a digital hub, makes it easier for all people working on the project to collaborate, since they can access graphical and non graphical data from all teams working on the same project. 

Adopting technology that integrates and centralizes information is the first step to moving into a more data-driven environment.

3. Optimize Document Management Workflows

Finally, using the right technology to centralize your data can help you establish better workflows that are both standardized and streamlined. You can establish the best workflow for your company by asking simple questions like, who needs to review and approve changes, and who can access or change data in this new system? 

Every company is different, so you will want to establish your workflow based on your current team and the project’s needs. Your initial system may change at first, but once you have one that works for you, you should stick to it and train new workers on that workflow as and when necessary.

Streamline Construction Communication & Stop Searching for Documents

Easily Manage Construction Documents With Autodesk Construction Cloud

With good technology, it’s possible to centralize data and keep track of all the most important construction documents. Your team will have the opportunity to see all the documents and data from a single project in one place, making it possible to improve your workflow and minimize disruptions. 

Autodesk Construction Cloud is construction software that helps you connect your teams and data, so you can keep better track of your goals and stay on track. Get a demo today and learn more about how you can improve communication throughout every stage of construction. 

Grace Ellis

Construction trends, tips, and news – delivered straight to your inbox, you might like..., demystifying autodesk technology: unlocking efficiency for factory planning and factory design, using digital technology for project success in denmark’s construction sector, less guesswork, more confidence: how to make better decisions in construction .

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Dry Well Assessment

Dry Well Assessment

In 1785, George Washington had a dry well built in the Mansion cellar for storing ice. As part of the Mansion Revitalization Project , the 22-feet-deep dry well underwent necessary masonry repairs to ensure its survival for years to come.

Before commencing repairs, Mount Vernon’s Preservation team conducted a condition assessment and documentation of the well.

Conservator Riley Morris conducts a condition assessment of the well, which will help the Preservation team determine the necessary masonry repairs and ensure its survival for years to come. (MVLA)

Conservator Riley Morris conducts a condition assessment of the well, helping the Preservation team determine the necessary masonry repairs to ensure its survival for years to come. (MVLA)

From left to right, Clay Fellows (Preservation Specialist), Riley Morris (Preservation Conservator), and George Brown (Visual Asset Specialist), photograph the sump or drain at the bottom of George Washington’s 18th-century ice house. The well of the ice house extends underground about 18 feet, and the sump at the bottom extends another 7 feet.

From left to right, Clay Fellows (Preservation Specialist), Riley Morris (Preservation Conservator), and George Brown (Visual Asset Specialist), photograph the sump or drain at the bottom of George Washington’s 18th-century ice house. The well of the ice house extends underground about 18 feet, and the sump at the bottom extends another 7 feet.

View these 360-degree images of the Ice House


Mansion Revitalization Project

Mansion Revitalization Project

Mount Vernon has embarked on a landmark preservation project to ensure the Mansion's structural integrity for generations to come.

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  1. The Ultimate Guide to Project Documentation (with Free Template)

    project planning documentation

  2. Project Documentation: 16 Project Documents with Editable Templates

    project planning documentation

  3. 48 plantillas de plan de proyecto profesional [Excel, Word, PDF

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  4. 10+ Free Project Documentation Templates

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  5. 10+ Free Project Documentation Templates

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  6. Project Documentation Template Free Download

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  1. project plan

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  1. Project Documentation: 15 Essential Documents

    The term project documentation refers to the project management documents that are created throughout the project life cycle. These documents, such as the project plan, project schedule or project budget, define activities, procedures and guidelines that the project team should follow.

  2. How to Write a Project Plan

    1. Write a Project Overview The overview is a short introduction to the project, not exceeding a page or so in length. Summarize the high-level details, covering project goals, deliverables, success measurements, and dependencies. Include the project's sponsors and their titles, and name the project.

  3. What Is a Project Plan? The Ultimate Guide to Project Planning

    Project Plan: The project plan document is divided in sections to cover the following: scope management, quality management, risk assessment, resource management, stakeholder management, schedule management and the change management plan.

  4. What Is Project Planning? How Write a Project Plan [2024] • Asana

    Julia Martins July 18th, 2023 10 min read Jump to section Summary Organize your projects with project plans to keep things on track—before you even start. A project plan houses all the necessary details of your project, such as goals, tasks, scope, deadlines, and deliverables.

  5. What is a Project Plan? Learn How to Write a Project Plan

    What is a project plan and how to write a killer plan in 6 steps. A project plan is an essential document for keeping your project on track. It states the purpose of your project and identifies the scope, structure, resources, goals, deliverables, and timelines. Without a solid plan, projects typically get delayed and run over budget.

  6. Project Documentation Guide (with Examples and Templates)

    Project documentation is the process of adequately keeping records of key project details in an organized manner. All the documents about the project process produced during the project process are what comprise project documentation. Examples of project documents range from project proposals to business cases to project status reports.

  7. How to Create a Realistic Project Plan: Templates & Examples

    To create a new project plan in TeamGantt, click the New Project button in the upper right corner of the My Projects screen. Then enter your project name and start date, and select the days of the week you want to include in your plan. Click Create New Project to move on to the next step. 2.

  8. Key project documentation every manager needs for effective planning

    Project documentation is a collection of all the documents used during the course of a project. It includes everything from the initial project proposal to the final project report and beyond. The purpose is to provide a single source of truth about the project, ensuring everyone involved has access to the same information.

  9. Key Project Documents Every Project Manager Needs

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  10. The Ultimate Guide to Project Documentation (with Free Template)

    ‍ ‍ Who puts together project documentation? Project documentation is best developed collaboratively. Having said that, project managers have the final say in terms of signing off on it. They are in charge of the project's management system, process (and process documentation ), deliverables, and results, after all.

  11. Project Documentation: With Examples & Free Templates

    Project documentation is any type of written material that describes the details of the steps taken throughout a project's life cycle. This includes the project scope, planning, development, change control, assessments, and quality assurance reports.

  12. How to Create Project Documentation with Examples & Benefits

    Step 4: Collaborate with your team on reviews. Your project documentation should be a team effort. Even if you're a Project Manager tasked with creating a whole body of project documentation, you can benefit from the contributions of your team on reviews that help improve your documentation.

  13. The documents you MUST create for any project

    Project documents: Eleven documents you need for your project Watch on From overwhelm to clarity We get stuck when we are focusing on too many things at the same time: Figuring out how to go about for your project Getting estimates from team members On-boarding stakeholders Setting up a budget Setting up a document share

  14. What Is Project Planning? Benefits, Tools, and More

    Documentation: During the project planning phase, it is a good idea to draft a project plan that links to relevant documentation. Besides your project plan, you can include documents like a RACI chart (Responsibility Assignment Matrix), which defines roles and responsibilities for individuals on your team. Another document is your charter which ...

  15. How to create a goal-crushing project plan (+ 13 templates)

    A project plan is a formal document that details how a project will be executed by outlining the purpose, resources, scope, timeline, and deliverables required to complete said project. It guides teams on what the project is supposed to achieve, helps them communicate, keeps track of goals, decisions, and changes, and monitors progress.

  16. Project Documentation: Examples and Templates

    Project charter. A project charter is another key project documentation example. This document lays the foundation for the project by covering the high-level project planning. It needs to outline how the business goals of the project will be achieved by explaining the key requirements, budget, tasks, roles, and responsiblities of the project.

  17. Free Project Management Templates by Project Management Docs

    Go To Template Scrum Project Management for Beginners: A Comprehensive Introduction Scrum project management is the most popular version of the Agile project management system. Agile was developed to improve the process of developing software.

  18. Project Planning Templates

    A project planning template is a document that follows a standard format based on the type of project and helps define the scope and objectives with a list of essential elements such as stakeholders, scope, timelines, estimated costs, and methods of communication with team members.

  19. 7 Essential Project Planning Documents

    1. Project management plan -- This is used as a reference index, encompassing all planning and project documents. 2. High-level project schedule plan -- This document captures high-level project phases and key milestones. It is the document most project stakeholders will see or want to see. 3.

  20. Project Documentation: Why it's important for project success?

    various definitions, project documentation is "a set of officially written, maintained or recorded material with information or evidence pertinent to your project." The main purpose of project management documents is to provide materials that you can reference, and with which you can prove that something was or was not done

  21. Project Plan Template for Word (Free Download)

    Project planning starts with a thorough project plan document. Follow these planning steps to ensure that your project plan covers all project aspects. This means you'll be less likely to run into surprises. 1. Planning Basis Project Scope Begin with the project scope.

  22. Project Documentation and Its Importance in 2024

    Project documentation consists of a collection of documents that the project manager creates during the project's development process. The project team is expected to follow certain procedures, specifications, and guidelines for such documents, including a project plan, schedule, and budget. Documentation must lay the foundation for quality ...

  23. The Planning of Project Documents

    This brief article advises parsing document-related activities into small, discrete activities when creating a project plan so that a logical, timely, and accurate sequence of document implementation phases (e.g. preparation, review, update, approval, and refresh) is outlined versus the unclear "Test Plan--duration: 6 weeks" type of activity identification which specifies nothing about ...

  24. Project Management Project Plan Template

    Create a comprehensive project plan that outlines all tasks, resources, timelines, and dependencies in detail. This plan serves as a roadmap for the project and guides its execution. ... Establish a system to store and manage project documentation. Proper documentation enables knowledge sharing, fosters accountability, and facilitates smooth ...

  25. Creating effective technical documentation

    Good documentation is like a piece of the puzzle that makes everything click — the key for encouraging feature adoption. To support you in creating effective technical documentation, this article provides an overview of the core principles of technical writing. It also highlights the best practices for creating clear and accessible documentation.

  26. 10 Essential Types of Construction Documents

    Construction documents often include architectural drawings. These visual documents represent the final design and give something for the customer and contractor to review and agree on before work begins. 6: Specifications. A project's specifications discuss technical details about the project.

  27. Project 3

    (Note that A to the left of the assignment operator in that example is just a Python variable name, i.e. symbol1 = Expr('A') would have worked just as well.). A note on conjoin and disjoin One last important thing to note is that you must use conjoin and disjoin operators wherever possible.conjoin creates a chained & (logical AND) expression, and disjoin creates a chained | (logical OR ...

  28. Dry Well Assessment · George Washington's Mount Vernon

    In 1785, George Washington had a dry well built in the Mansion cellar for storing ice. As part of the Mansion Revitalization Project, the 22-feet-deep dry well underwent necessary masonry repairs to ensure its survival for years to come. Before commencing repairs, Mount Vernon's Preservation team conducted a condition assessment and documentation of…