Planning is so important, but often the first thing abandoned, and that’s sad. I’m really good at maintaining my weekly planning sessions but I’m not always great at doing a project plan.
By ‘not always great’ I mean that until recently, I haven’t really had any specific method to build out proper project plans. A scope is a reasonable substitute, but a project plan should really be something your scoping document is built off of, or in tandem with.
A project plan should be built in partnership with your client. When they buy into the project plan you then start a scope and build a proposal/scope off of it.
Let's walk through the main headings of a project plan to get an idea of what it is. At the end I’ll show you the project plan for my email product.
What is the purpose of the project? Is it to get more sales, save time? Is it to bring a new resource online to customers -- one that didn’t exist before?
If you don’t have a purpose for the project then why on earth are you doing it in the first place? That’s why this is first, because without a purpose a project is more likely to fail.
These are the standards on which you’re going to run the project. Yes, many of you are going to put excellence on here, but 'excellence' can be an vague term. Write down what excellence looks like in the context of the project.
This is where most of us start, with what actually needs to get done to ship a project. It’s easy and more tangible than the above items so it's a more comfortable place to start.
Without defining our purpose and principles, though, this task list has no solid foundation.
When I do this, it’s a high-level view of the project. So you might say ‘Set up WooCommerce store’ as a task, knowing that there are about 55 sub-tasks that will need to get accomplished to complete the store.
This is for any information pertinent to the project, like who’s the Project Champion (if you’ve never heard of that before then go listen to Art of Value 33), or the contact information for the person you use for book design.
If you’re doing a live event, put in the name of the venue here.
Now let’s look at the project plan for my Effective Client Email Product with a planned release at the end of March 2015.
To give freelancers awesome emails which will help them get the right answers from prospects in the vetting process and ultimately identify their ideal clients.
Freelancers should save time using these templates because they don’t have to dig deep and create a new email for every new prospect.
Excellence - the email templates and the guide will help freelancers have excellent responses to prospects.
Value - there will be high value for freelancers in the emails because they’re going to get better clients and train them out of the gate to be awesome.
Help - I want to give freelancers the tools they need and a plan to follow so they will have awesome client interactions.
Email Course (this is the lead funnel and initial course)
Please feel free to steal use this project plan and I’d love to know how it works with your clients and projects.
It’s proven to be an awesome strategy for me to keep projects centered.