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What Is a Project? Definition, Types & Examples


What is a project, exactly? We talk a lot about specific facets of project management, but it’s sometimes valuable to start at the root and dig into the basics.

To fully understand high-level project management concepts, it’s important to know the simple answers. When you can call on this knowledge, more complicated concepts are easier to master. Whether you’re the project manager or a stakeholder, give your next project definition with these project management tips in mind.

Project Definition

A project is a set of tasks that must be completed within a defined timeline to accomplish a specific set of goals. These tasks are completed by a group of people known as the project team, which is led by a project manager, who oversees the planning , scheduling, tracking and successful completion of projects.

Besides the project team, projects require resources such as labor, materials and equipment. Organizations and individuals manage projects with a wide range of objectives. These can take many forms, from constructing a building to planning an event and even completing a certain duty. Retailers, for example, may pursue projects that improve the way they track order fulfillment. Construction teams complete projects any time they plan and build something—and so on!

Project management software gives you the tools to manage all the parts of a project so it is delivered on time and within budget. ProjectManager is award-winning project management software with features to plan, manage and track your project in real time. Organize tasks on our robust Gantt, link all four types of task dependencies to avoid costly delays and save your project plan by setting a baseline. This allows you to track your actual progress against your planned progress to help you stay on track. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

ProjectManager's Gantt chart

What Are the Characteristics of a Project?

There are certain features or characteristics that are unique to projects and differentiate them from the daily operations or other types of activities of an organization. Here are the main characteristics of a project.

1. Any Project Needs a Project Manager and a Project Team

One of the most important characteristics of a project is that it’s a team effort. While the structure of project teams might change from one organization to another, projects usually involve a project manager and a team of individuals with the necessary skills to execute the tasks that are needed.

2. Every Project Needs a Project Plan

Project team members need clear directions from the project manager and other project leaders so that they can execute the work that’s expected from them. These directions come in the form of a project plan. However, a project plan is more than just a set of instructions for the project team. It’s a comprehensive document that describes every aspect of a project, such as the project goals, project schedule and project budget among other important details.

definition of business project planning

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Project Plan Template

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3. All Projects Go Through the Same Project Lifecycle

The project life cycle refers to the five phases all projects must progress through, from start to finish. The five phases of a project lifecycle serve as the most basic outline that gives a project definition. These five phases are initiation, planning, execution, monitoring and closure.

4. All Projects Share the Same Project Constraints

All projects no matter their size or complexity are subject to three main constraints: time, scope and cost. This simply means that projects must be completed within a defined timeline, achieve a defined set of tasks and goals and be delivered under a certain budget .

These project constraints are known as the triple constraint or the project management triangle and are one of the most important project features to know about.

5. Every Project Needs Resources

A resource is anything necessary to complete a project, such as for example, labor, raw materials, machinery and equipment. For example, in construction, raw materials such as wood, glass or paint are essential project resources . That said, other resources — like time, labor and equipment — are just as important.

A project manager must be able to identify all of the project resources in order to create a resource plan and manage the resources accordingly. When resources are left unaccounted for, it is easy to mismanage them.

resource plan template

Types of Projects

Projects can take many shapes and forms, which makes classifying them into types a very difficult task that requires different approaches. Here are some of the types of projects grouped by funding source, industry and project management methodology .

Types of Projects By Funding Source

One simple way to categorize projects is to look at their source of capital.

  • Private projects: Projects that are financed by businesses or private organizations.
  • Public projects: Projects which are funded by Government agencies.
  • Mixed projects: Projects that are financed by a public-private partnership.

Types of Projects By Industry

Projects can be executed by large or small organizations from any industry. However, some industries are more project-intensive than others. Here are some of the most common types of projects by industry.

  • Construction projects: The main goal of any construction project is to make a building that can be used for different purposes such as infrastructure, residential or commercial use.
  • Manufacturing projects: Manufacturing projects consist of manufacturing physical products to generate profits for a company.
  • IT projects: Information technology projects consist in establishing an IT framework for the processing of data at a company-wide scale.
  • Software development projects: The main goal of a software development project is to create a software product for a client.
  • Business projects: The term business project could refer to creating a new business, creating a new business unit for an existing company or simply launching a new business initiative.

Types of Projects By Project Management Methodology

Besides the types of projects mentioned above, projects can also be classified by the project management methodology that’s used to plan, schedule and execute them.

  • Waterfall projects: Waterfall is the most traditional project management methodology, where the project plan is defined before the project begins and each major project phase must be completed in sequence.
  • Agile projects: Agile projects are planned and executed in short iterations known as sprints , where project teams plan their activities as they execute the project.

Project Examples

Now that we’ve reviewed the main characteristics of a project and the various project types that exist, let’s review some common project examples to better illustrate what a project is.

Construction Project Examples

  • Construction infrastructure projects: Building a bridge, a road, a mass transportation system or a water treatment facility.
  • Residential construction projects: Building a house, a residential building or an apartment complex.
  • Commercial construction projects: Building a shopping mall, a parking lot or a hotel.

Manufacturing Project Examples

  • Building a factory from scratch
  • Manufacturing products for retail sale
  • Manufacturing products for a B2B purchase order
  • Improving an existing production line by acquiring new machinery and training employees

Key Project Terms to Know

No matter the project, there are universal project terms that are used regardless of project type, project size or any other factor. Know these seven terms like the back of your hand and you’ll be a step ahead before the project begins:

Project Scope

Project scope is a key aspect of the project planning stage. In many ways, it is the starting point. Determining project scope requires the project manager and their team to set goals and objectives, detail deliverables, create tasks, establish important dates and more. Project scope defines desired outcomes and all specific factors which will affect reaching them.

project scope template for managing projects

Project Stakeholder

A stakeholder refers to anyone and everyone involved in a project. A stakeholder can be involved at every stage of the project, or just in a certain way. Stakeholder analysis helps categorize how investors, team members, vendors, contractors and more can affect your project.

Project Deliverables

A deliverable refers to the specific outcome(s) a project creates. Deliverables can be “tangible” or “intangible,” meaning they can be a physical product or something conceptual. Typically, deliverables are the need that inspired the project in the first place. If someone contracts a builder to design and construct an office space, the office is a tangible deliverable.

Project Milestones

Milestones are predetermined achievements that help track project progress. Think of milestones as checkpoints. These checkpoints are decided on before a project begins, so the project manager and team know when they are on track to achieve deliverables. Without milestones, it’s difficult to know if the project is on the road to success or needs to reroute.

Project Dependencies

Project dependencies refer to how resources must be shared and allocated within a project. Many projects will use the same physical materials for different purposes and across different stages. Understanding this dependency is the only way to ensure there is enough resources to go around. Similarly, all projects are broken down into tasks. When one task cannot begin before another is completed, these tasks share a dependency.

What It Means to Work on a Project

Whether it’s the project manager, a team member or any other project stakeholder, they’re a member of the greater project team and their actions directly affect other team members. Like any team, you “win” or “lose” as a unit, so it’s incredibly important to communicate and listen to other team members in order to coordinate efforts and succeed. Most project mishaps and project failures are the direct results of poor communication or lack of collaboration.

Why does this matter as long as the work is getting done? Working on a project is about understanding the project as a whole just as much as it is about doing the work. The only way to see this big picture is by listening to the team and learning from one another.

What Is Project Management?

The process of project management starts with the conception of the project and continues all the way through the project lifecycle. This requires detailed knowledge of company resources and how to assign them in order to complete tasks, duties, events and other projects.

A wide range of industries relies on project management methods and tools to execute projects. A few examples of these industries are construction, IT, engineering, marketing and advertising. Any team working together to reach a shared objective is engaging in some form of project management.

What Does a Project Manager Do?

A project manager is more than just a manager, in the traditional sense. This individual is the leader of the project team and oversees every aspect of the project, from beginning to end. The project manager will typically write the project plan, run team meetings, assign tasks and do quality control tests to ensure everything is running smoothly. A project manager can’t carry the entire project on their back, though. One of their key duties, in fact, is knowing how to entrust various responsibilities to team members.

With the help of their team, project managers will create project schedules and budgets. They will also create project reports throughout the project lifecycle.

As you can see, their responsibilities are widespread, but that doesn’t mean spreading too thin. Ideally, a project manager creates the foundation of the project—like the foundation of a house. They then appoint other individuals to finish out each room.

Project Definition: Best Practices for Project Management

Regardless of the project, the size of the team, or anything else, there are practices that exponentially increase the chances of success. As vital as it is to hit goals and achieve deliverables , it’s just as important to create a positive culture within the project. These five tips may seem simple, but they make a big difference:

Set Regular Team Check-ins

It’s easy to meet with the team “as needed,” but once a project begins it gets harder to find time in everyone’s schedule. Instead, schedule regular meetings before a project even starts. These meetings serve as check-ins where team members can give each other updates, voice concerns, ask questions, make adjustments and do anything else they may need. When these check-ins are already built into the schedule, no one is waiting to meet until there’s a mishap or issue.

Part of what gives a project definition is knowing how to delegate. Whether it’s the project managers or a team member, they’ll more than likely need help with a task at some point. Now, this doesn’t mean just passing along the task to someone else. It means that every team member has equal responsibilities. Instead, the best project managers know how to relinquish some control and delegate to team members.

Know the Team

Everyone on the project management team should be familiar with each other’s strengths, weaknesses and specialties. For example, if a team member needs information from a different department, they should know exactly who to ask. This familiarity cuts down on lost time. It is especially important for a project manager to know their team extremely well.

When a project member knows these things, they can make decisions that play to their team members’ strengths, not around their weaknesses. Knowing the team is a huge aspect of creating a positive culture within a project, as it celebrates everyone’s abilities.

team charter template for project management

Celebrate Milestones

Speaking of positive culture, never underestimate the power of taking a moment to mark meeting a milestone . Reaching one means the team has made significant progress and the project is still on track. At the very least, it’s important to announce reaching milestones during team check-ins. This keeps everyone on the same page and improves team efficacy.

Choose Superior PM Tools

Project management is an extremely complex job. Without the proper tools, it’s easy to make mistakes, become disorganized and even fail to complete the project. The best way to protect your project from these missteps is by choosing tools that simplify the entire process.

The best project management software does just that. Using project management software unleashes your team’s and the project’s full potential and takes the end result to new heights. The key is finding an intuitive, user-friendly project management software that makes no compromises in functionality.

How ProjectManager Makes Managing Projects Easy

ProjectManager is an award-winning project management software that makes managing projects easier than ever. Our online software allows the entire team to work on the project while in the field or on the go, and our modern interface combines functionality with user-friendly navigation. This means no more wasted time just trying to familiarize yourself with a new tool and more time perfecting your project definition.

Plan on Gantt Charts

Plan your projects from start to finish with ProjectManager’s powerful Gantt chart feature, which allows you to map out project tasks in phases. You can even create dependencies and set milestones. Plus, you can import Excel files and Microsoft Project files, so switching over to our software is seamless.

ProjectManager's Gantt chart

Track on Project Dashboards

As the project team moves forward with tasks, project managers can track every status update on our real-time dashboard that you can personalize to show the most important metrics. Every change to a task is tracked and automatically updates the colorful, easy-to-read charts and graphs. Keeping an eye on your project’s progress has never been easier!

ProjectManager’s dashboard view, which shows six key metrics on a project

Get all these features and more when you use ProjectManager. All of these tools are available in our software to help you plan, track and report on your project in real time. See what it can do for you by taking this free 30-day trial run!

Click here to browse ProjectManager's free templates

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What Is Project Planning? Benefits, Tools, and More

Project planning is an essential part of project management. Discover more in this guide to what it is and how to create a plan.

[Featured image] A project manager reviews the process and goals of the project plan.

What is project planning? 

Project planning refers to the phase in project management in which you determine the actual steps to complete a project. This includes laying out timelines, establishing the budget, setting milestones, assessing risks, and solidifying tasks and assigning them to team members. 

Project planning is the second stage of the  project management lifecycle . The full cycle includes initiation, planning, execution, and closing.

Read more: How to Make a Project Plan in 4 Steps

Components of a project plan

During the planning phase of the project management lifecycle, you'll determine the steps to achieve your project goals. This is the "how" of completing the project.

The components of project planning are: tasks, milestones, people, documentation, and time. This step involves outlining your project scope, objectives, and timeline to make sure all stakeholders are on the same page.

Tasks: Tasks are activities that need to be accomplished within a set period of time. These are assigned to different members of the team according to their role and skill set.

Milestones: To go along with tasks, milestones are important points within the schedule that indicate progress. They tend to signify the completion of a deliverable or phase of the project.

People: A project plan also includes the people working on your team and their roles. It's important that each team member understands their role and the tasks they're responsible for completing. Ensuring that everyone is clear on their assigned tasks frees you up to focus on managing the project, ultimately creating a sense of personal responsibility for team members.

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 defines the project and outlines the details needed to reach your goals. You can include a budget and risk management plan, if relevant.

Time: Project plans should include the estimated duration of the project. How much time will be spent on each part? The schedule will be the anchor of your project plan. It includes dates for starting and completing tasks, and dates (deadlines) for reaching specific milestones. Indicating the project's start and end dates will help situate this project among competing priorities, and helps determine resources (including people) needed and when you'll need them.

Check out this video that outlines the components of a project plan:

Benefits of project planning

Project planning is important because it helps form the steps needed to complete a project successfully. Planning helps teams avoid potential problems and roadblocks to ensure the project stays on track. These are some benefits of a good project plan:

Helps ensure projects are completed on time, within budget, and to the required standard

Facilitates effective communication between all members of a project team

Helps identify potential risks and issues at an early stage

Helps you communicate your vision and objectives to your team

Keeps everyone focused on the goal

Tools used in project planning

Project planning tools can be manual using tangible items like pen and paper. They can also be software tools that produce visual elements that can connect teams across departments and time zones. A Gantt chart and a risk register can be conceived manually or on software.

Gantt chart:  A horizontal bar chart in which members can see what tasks must be completed in what order, and how long each is expected to take

Risk register:  A chart that lists risks associated with the project, along with their probability, potential impact, risk level, and mitigation plans

Project management software for planning

Project planning software helps you track and manage your project from start to finish. It can help you plan your project, assign tasks, track progress, and more. Project software has become more sophisticated and using cloud technology enables anyone to access the project data anywhere.

Here are some planning tasks you can perform with project management software:

Prioritize, organize, and allocate responsibilities using charts and graphs.

Create a timeline with milestones and task dependencies.

Keep track of your progress, costs, and resources.

Adjust timelines and maintain flexible scheduling as obstacles arise.

Share project plans with relevant parties.

Prepare data-driven reports and updates for stakeholders.

7 popular project planning software 

Each project planning software has its own unique features and benefits. Here are some of the most popular options:

This is a great option for small businesses, because it offers features like task management , time tracking, and file sharing. You can create projects and assign tasks to team members. It even has a built-in calendar so you can plan your upcoming workload.

ClickUp is a cloud-based software for managing projects, teams, and tasks. You can create projects, organize tasks, assign tasks to team members, track progress, and much more. ClickUp also offers integrations with other popular apps, including Trello, Jira, Google Docs, and Slack. 

3. Freedcamp

Freedcamp is a web-based project management tool designed specifically for people who need help managing multiple projects at once. It features task lists, calendars, file sharing, and other features needed by teams who want to collaborate on a project simultaneously. 

This is a very simple and easy-to-use project management tool that's great for teams of any size. It offers time tracking, progress reporting, and task management features. You can also integrate Hive with other tools like Slack, Google Drive, and Jira.

This is another popular project management tool with many great features like Gantt charts , resource planning, and issue tracking. You can also add comments on tasks, assign tasks to specific users or teams, and collaborate with them through chat.

Trello is a popular free project management app for managing projects and collaborating with teams. With Trello, you can manage projects across teams or solo efforts using cards representing tasks or ideas for future projects. The tool offers flexible sharing options so team members can collaborate on specific cards from anywhere.

Wrike is a project management and collaboration tool that allows you to manage projects from start to finish. It has a clean, easy-to-use interface and features like time-tracking and resource management. Like other tools, Wrike can integrate with other tools like Slack and Gmail.

Learn project management with Google

Whether or not you want to become a project manager, learning how to make a project plan and keep team members on track is important to many jobs. Google offers the popular Project Management Professional Certificate that covers the basics of project management, from traditional and agile methodologies. Over 75% of Google Career Certificate Graduates in the US report an improvement in their career trajectory (e.g. new job or career, promotion or raise) within 6 months of certificate completion.

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This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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  • Project planning |
  • 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.

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8. Overview of Project Planning

Adrienne Watt; Merrie Barron; and Andrew Barron

Click play on the following audio player to listen along as you read this section.

After the project has been defined and the project team has been appointed, you are ready to enter the second phase in the project management life cycle: the detailed project planning phase.

Project planning is at the heart of the project life cycle, and tells everyone involved where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. The planning phase is when the project plans are documented, the project deliverables and requirements are defined, and the project schedule is created. It involves creating a set of plans to help guide your team through the implementation and closure phases of the project. The plans created during this phase will help you manage time, cost, quality, changes, risk, and related issues. They will also help you control staff and external suppliers to ensure that you deliver the project on time, within budget, and within schedule.

The project planning phase is often the most challenging phase for a project manager, as you need to make an educated guess about the staff, resources, and equipment needed to complete your project. You may also need to plan your communications and procurement activities, as well as contract any third-party suppliers.

The purpose of the project planning phase is to:

  • Establish business requirements
  • Establish cost, schedule, list of deliverables, and delivery dates
  • Establish resources plans
  • Obtain management approval and proceed to the next phase

The basic processes of project planning are:

  • Scope planning – specifying the in-scope requirements for the project to facilitate creating the work breakdown structure
  • Preparation of the work breakdown structure – spelling out the breakdown of the project into tasks and sub-tasks
  • Project schedule development – listing the entire schedule of the activities and detailing their sequence of implementation
  • Resource planning – indicating who will do what work, at which time, and if any special skills are needed to accomplish the project tasks
  • Budget planning – specifying the budgeted cost to be incurred at the completion of the project
  • Procurement planning – focusing on vendors outside your company and subcontracting
  • Risk management – planning for possible risks and considering optional contingency plans and mitigation strategies
  • Quality planning – assessing quality criteria to be used for the project
  • Communication planning – designing the communication strategy with all project stakeholders

The planning phase refines the project’s objectives, which were gathered during the initiation phase. It includes planning the steps necessary to meet those objectives by further identifying the specific activities and resources required to com­plete the project. Now that these objectives have been recognized, they must be clearly articulated, detailing an in-depth scrutiny of each recognized objective. With such scrutiny, our understanding of the objective may change. Often the very act of trying to describe something precisely gives us a better understanding of what we are looking at. This articulation serves as the basis for the development of requirements. What this means is that after an objective has been clearly articulated, we can describe it in concrete (measurable) terms and identify what we have to do to achieve it. Obviously, if we do a poor job of articulating the objective, our requirements will be misdirected and the resulting project will not represent the true need.

Users will often begin describing their objectives in qualitative language. The project manager must work with the user to provide quantifiable definitions to those qualitative terms. These quantifiable criteria include schedule, cost, and quality measures. In the case of project objectives, these elements are used as measurements to determine project satisfaction and successful completion. Subjective evaluations are replaced by actual numeric attributes.

A web user may ask for a fast system. The quantitative requirement should be all screens must load in under three seconds. Describing the time limit during which the screen must load is specific and tangible. For that reason, you’ll know that the requirement has been successfully completed when the objective has been met.

Let’s say that your company is going to produce a holiday batch of eggnog. Your objective statement might be stated this way: Christmas Cheer, Inc. will produce two million cases of holiday eggnog, to be shipped to our distributors by October 30, at a total cost of $1.5 million or less. The objective criteria in this statement are clearly stated and successful fulfillment can easily be measured. Stakeholders will know that the objectives are met when the two million cases are produced and shipped by the due date within the budget stated.

When articulating the project objectives you should follow the SMART rule:

  • Specific – get into the details. Objectives should be specific and written in clear, concise, and under­standable terms.
  • Measurable – use quantitative language. You need to know when you have successfully completed the task.
  • Acceptable – agreed with the stakeholders.
  • Realistic – in terms of achievement. Objectives that are impossible to accomplish are not realistic and not attainable. Objectives must be centred in reality.
  • Time based – deadlines not durations. Objectives should have a time frame with an end date assigned to them.

If you follow these principles, you’ll be certain that your objectives meet the quantifiable criteria needed to measure success.

Text Attributions

This chapter adapted by Adrienne Watts from the following source:

  • Text under “Overview of Project Planning”  adapted from “ Project Planning ” in Project Management by Merrie Barron and Andrew Barron. Licensed under a CC BY 4.0 licence

8. Overview of Project Planning by Adrienne Watt; Merrie Barron; and Andrew Barron is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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What is Project Planning: Tools and Fundamentals

Table of Contents

Project planning ensures project success and timely delivery, a crucially important function in any technical organization. Striving toward a perfect plan will help increase the probability of customer satisfaction and their trust in the organization for future investments. It’s the most crucial step in the reduction of risk and project failures. After all, every project manager knows that no one gets points for a brilliant idea if the execution ultimately fails. 

There are some necessary steps to project planning that can help yield a successful and efficient process. We can refer to different project planning tools like Gantt chart, PERT chart, or Critical Path Method when forming a project plan.

The following tutorial covers the basics of project planning, its fundamentals, why it’s so important for organizations, some popular tools used for project planning, and basic steps. We’ll also look at some opportunities to learn about these tools in more depth.

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What is Project Planning?

A project consists of five different phases: initiation, planning, execution, monitoring and controlling, and closure. Planning is the second phase of the project life cycle , where a plan after the initiation phase is made so the process of execution may begin. The project plan serves as a roadmap for the entire process of project management . 

Project planning involves: 

Defining Objectives 

Explaining the scope, scheduling tasks , generating progress reports , project planning fundamentals.

Project Planning refers to defining fundamentals such as the following:

Determination of Scope, Cost, and Resources

  • The process of determining the scope, cost, and resources help estimate the time required to complete the project, the number of people needed, and the skill set required
  • Work Breakdown Structure ( WBS ) helps this process by dividing the whole task into smaller, manageable segments

Identification of the Problem

  • A variety of techniques, like surveys or meetings, are used to collect information to assess problems
  • There can be multiple problems; then, the project team selects the issue that requires the most immediate attention

Identification of Stakeholders 

  • Identification of stakeholders gives a clearer image of the real problem, specifically which function or people might be affected by the project
  • Stakeholders work with the project team and contribute to the project's success

Definition of Project Objectives

  • A plan is made, keeping in mind the various expectations of the stakeholders
  • The success of the project entirely depends on how much of the expectations the project is able to meet

Why Project Planning?

Project planning ensures monitoring of the budget and schedule at every step. The project plan includes a schedule that guides team members in completing their tasks and helps them in knowing which tool they will need and when. It also helps the team stay engaged for higher project performance. The project plan ensures there is the active participation of all the team members and allows them to have an opportunistic approach towards their work.

Project planning ensures timely testing of the output at every step. When successfully implemented, everyone on the project team can foresee problems before they happen. This creates efficiencies and ensures the successful execution of the plan.

Additionally, project planning helps analyze, prioritize, and ensure an appropriate plan for all kinds of risks. Proper planning ensures that if there is more than one risk, they can be prioritized and dealt with accordingly. This step ensures that nothing will fall apart and the plan makes it easy for the project team to remember all the crucial details and deadlines.

What are the Components of a Project Plan?

The following are the components of project planning: 

It is one of the most important components of a project plan. The scope determines what a project team will and will not do. Defining the project's in-scope requirements make the work breakdown structure creation process easier. The project manager must define performance objectives as part of the project scope.

One of a project's most important components is the budget. To determine the project's cost, project managers consider the amount of labour and other resources needed to complete the project's objectives. Different phases, tasks, and activities require different budget allocations depending on their priorities and needs. 

The term "timeline" describes how long it is anticipated for each project stage to be finished. It also entails stating how the project is broken down into tasks and subtasks. The definition of these timelines, the creation of individual and team schedules, and the selection of project milestones are all included in the timeline process.

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6% Growth in PM Jobs By 2024 - Upskill Now

How Do You Create a Project Plan?

The following steps will ensure that the project will be executed properly: 

Define Stakeholders

Anyone with interest in the project is a stakeholder. Thus, any person, organisation, or party interested in a company or its actions' results is considered a stakeholder.

Define Roles

Stakeholders have a variety of responsibilities within the business. They may occasionally participate in making decisions, bringing in money, and performing other duties.

Introduce Stakeholders

It is essential to schedule formal or informal meetings with each team member at various points throughout the project. Before the project starts, issues like scope, budget, goals, schedule, and roles should be discussed.

Setting goals is essential to prepare for personal change and achieve project goals. It serves as a basis for managing performance and motivates and focuses attention.

Prioritize Tasks

You need to set tasks in order of importance. Also, the more significant task can be simplified into smaller objectives and tasks.

Create a Schedule

You must set up a system to make sure when deadlines are missed, corrective actions are taken. Your timeline may need to be modified, considering your objectives.

Assess Risks

A risk is a potential issue with your project that may or may not materialise. To avoid being caught off guard later, it is crucial to identify risks in project management and mitigate them during the project planning phase.


Setting up reliable communication lines and expectations for project communication is essential. Hold a meeting or solicit opinions from each team member regarding the risks you should take into account.

You should reevaluate everything once you've reached the halfway point or other significant milestones. Doing so lets you assess which areas you are doing well in and which require more effort. Your original plan may need to be modified after revaluation.

Final Evaluation

You need to reflect on the project once it is finished. Learn from your areas of weakness and focus more on improving the ones where you performed better. Your likelihood of project success goes up as a result.

What are the 5 Phases of a Project?

Following are the essential 5 phases of each project: 

You must create a business plan and define a broad project at this stage. Ensure the project meets business needs and that stakeholders and project teams agree. Creating the project success criteria throughout the project life cycle is the main objective of the Initiation Phase. Also, at this point, the feasibility of the project and its measurement are taken into account.

Successful project management depends on good project planning. The project team members focus on specific requirements, tasks, deadlines, and actions during the project planning phase. The project manager collaborates with every team member to develop the design, list the tasks, and determine the budget. S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) and C.L.E.A.R. (collaborative, limited, emotional, appreciable, refinable) are two of the most common approaches to setting project goals.

To keep the project on track for the remainder of the life cycle, the project manager attempts to manage every task and aspect of project delivery during this phase. During this phase, the project manager also must consistently uphold productive stakeholder collaboration. This ensures everyone is on the same page and everything goes off without a hitch during the project.

Monitoring and Management

By working in parallel with project execution, the project monitoring and controlling phase guarantees that goals and project deliverables are met. Along with keeping tabs on task progress, the project manager also looks for problems or risks, develops a plan to mitigate them with the team, and regularly communicates the project's status to stakeholders.

Closing and Review

The project management process ends at this stage. The final crucial tasks must be finished to ensure that the client is satisfied. However, the team should conduct a project retrospective regardless of the life cycle. The project team can consider new lessons learned and ensure that current project management procedures are improved for a future project during this post-mortem activity.

Project Planning Tools

Project planning tools help everyone concerned keep track of project requirements and deadlines. Some of the most popular project planning tools include the following:

Gantt Chart

  • Gantt charts are an industry standard that helps in tracking both time and interdependencies between tasks
  • Gantt charts are an essential tool to show different phases, jobs, and resources involved in project management

Critical Path Method (CPM)

  • Critical Path Method (CPM) is a crucial tool for determining the progress of the project to ensure that the project is on schedule
  • CPM helps in determining the essential or critical path by finding out the longest stretch of dependent tasks
  • The Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) helps in analyzing the tasks to complete the project and the time required to complete those tasks
  • PERT simplifies the planning and scheduling of large and complex projects

Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

  • Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is a process of organizing the team's work into manageable sections
  • WBS is a hierarchical structure of the deliverables needed to complete the project

Project Documentation

  • Project documentation is created during the project lifecycle, which involves project scope, its schedule, and the risk analysis
  • Project documents help in better understanding and risk analysis of the project

Project Planning Steps

There are seven essential project planning steps:

project planning steps

1. Identify and Meet Stakeholder

The stakeholders might include the project manager, the customer, or the team. The first step is to identify and meet the stakeholders to discuss their expectations and establish the project scope.

2. Define Scope

Project scope involves determining a list of specific project goals, deliverables, budgets, and deadlines. Project scope helps in establishing boundaries of the project and responsibilities of each team member.

3. Set and Prioritize Objectives

The objectives are set and prioritized once the expectations of stakeholders become certain. More exquisite detail to initial ideas is given, which serves as a reference point throughout the project.

4. Determine Deliverables 

Deliverables are the reason why the projects are created. It is one of the most critical steps of the project planning to determine what these deliverables will be and how they will be delivered in time. 

5. Create a Project Schedule 

The project schedule outlines when different tasks of a project are supposed to begin and end. The project schedule helps measure the project progress and set up progress reports.

6. Risk Analysis

Identifying risks and considering how to deal with them is an essential step in project planning. Specific steps to prevent risks from happening or limiting their impact should be considered.

7. Set Progress Guidelines 

There must be a communication plan to update the stakeholders regarding the project progress. This can be done monthly, weekly, or daily so that all involved members can monitor the progress.

Learn How Project Planning Can Improve Your Organization and Career

Even the most promising plans will fall flat if they aren’t properly executed. The best way to ensure success is to employ one of the proven project management methodologies already used by some of today’s biggest and most agile companies. Best of all, you can upgrade your skills online by enrolling in Simplilearn’s comprehensive PMP® Certification Training  today!

Find our PMP® Certification Training Online Classroom training classes in top cities:

About the author.

Ishan Gaba

Ishan Gaba is a Research Analyst at Simplilearn. He is proficient in Java Programming, Data Structures, and Project Management. Graduated in Information Technology, Ishan is also passionate about writing and traveling.

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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 monday.com 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?

monday.com 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

monday.com 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 .

definition of business project planning

Using this highly visual template by monday.com, 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.

monday.com 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 monday.com is so incredibly handy.

monday.com 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 .

monday.com 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 .

monday.com 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 monday.com’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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  • Building Your Business
  • Becoming an Owner
  • Business Plans

What Is Business Planning?

Why Business Planning Isn't Just for Startups

Susan Ward wrote about small businesses for The Balance for 18 years. She has run an IT consulting firm and designed and presented courses on how to promote small businesses.

definition of business project planning

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Business planning takes place when the key stakeholders in a business sit down and flesh out all the goals , strategies, and actions that they envision taking to ensure the business’s survival, prosperity, and growth.

Here are some strategies for business planning and the ways it can benefit your business.

Business planning can play out in many different ways. Anytime upper management comes together to plan for the success of a business, it is a form of business planning. Business planning commonly involves collecting ideas in a formal business plan that outlines a summary of the business's current state, as well as the state of the broader market, along with detailed steps the business will take to improve performance in the coming period.

Business plans aren't just about money. The business plan outlines the general planning needed to start and run a successful business, and that includes profits, but it also goes beyond that. A plan should account for everything from scoping out the competition and figuring out how your new business will fit into the industry to assessing employee morale and planning for how to retain talent.

How Does Business Planning Work?

Every new business needs a business plan —a blueprint of how you will develop your new business, backed by research, that demonstrates how the business idea is viable. If your new business idea requires investment capital, you will have a better chance of obtaining debt or equity financing from financial institutions, angel investors , or venture capitalists if you have a solid business plan to back up your ideas.

Businesses should prepare a business plan, even if they don't need to attract investors or secure loans.

Post-Startup Business Planning

The business plan isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it planning exercise. It should be a living document that is updated throughout the life cycle of your business.

Once the business has officially started, business planning will shift to setting and meeting goals and targets. Business planning is most effective when it’s done on a consistent schedule that revisits existing goals and projects throughout the year, perhaps even monthly. In addition to reviewing short-term goals throughout the year, it's also important to establish a clear vision and lay the path for your long-term success.

Daily business planning is an incredibly effective way for individuals to focus on achieving both their own goals and the goals of the organization.

Sales Forecasting

The sales forecast is a key section of the business plan that needs to be constantly tracked and updated. The sales forecast is an estimate of the sales of goods and services your business is likely to achieve over the forecasted period, along with the estimated profit from those sales. The forecast should take into account trends in your industry, the general economy, and the projected needs of your primary customers.

Cash Flow Analysis

Another crucial component of business planning is cash flow analysis. Avoiding extended cash flow shortages is vital for businesses, and many business failures can be blamed on cash flow problems.

Your business may have a large, lucrative order on the books, but if it can't be invoiced until the job is completed, then you may run into cash flow problems. That scenario can get even worse if you have to hire staff, purchase inventory, and make other expenditures in the meantime to complete the project.

Performing regular cash flow projections is an important part of business planning. If managed properly, cash flow shortages can be covered by additional financing or equity investment.

Business Contingency Planning

In addition to business planning for profit and growth, your business should have a contingency plan. Contingency business planning (also known as business continuity planning or disaster planning) is the type of business planning that deals with crises and worst-case scenarios. A business contingency plan helps businesses deal with sudden emergencies, unexpected events, and new information that could disrupt your business.

The goals of a contingency plan are to:

  • Provide for the safety and security of yourself, your employees, and your customers in the event of a fire, flood, robbery, data breach, illness, or some other disaster
  • Ensure that your business can resume operations after an emergency as quickly as possible

Business Succession Planning

If your business is a family enterprise or you have specific plans for who you want to take over in the event of your retirement or illness, then you should have a plan in place to hand over control of the business . The issues of management, ownership, and taxes can cause a great deal of discord within families unless a succession plan is in place that clearly outlines the process.

Key Takeaways

  • Business planning is when key stakeholders review the state of their business and plan for how they will improve the business in the future.
  • Business planning isn't a one-off event—it should be an ongoing practice of self-assessment and planning.
  • Business planning isn't just about improving sales; it can also address safety during natural disasters or the transfer of power after an owner retires.

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Project Planning Phase

how to plan a project

The project planning phase of the project management life cycle defines the scope and objective of a project. Proper project planning is one of the most important steps in ensuring everything is delivered on-time and on-budget.

It can help smooth out the planning phase, helping bring together complex workstreams. Whether your project is still an idea or you’re managing an ongoing project, use this guide to the planning phase in project management to get familiar with key concepts.

Table of Contents

What is project planning?

Purpose of project planning., what is a project plan, what is included in a project plan, pre-planning: meeting with stakeholders., how to create a project plan., what happens after a project plan is approved, project planning techniques., how to maintain an ongoing project., successful project planning., frequently asked questions..

The project planning phase of project management is where a project manager builds the project roadmap, including the project plan, project scope, project schedule, project constraints, work breakdown structure, and risk analysis.

It doesn’t matter if the project is a new website or a new building, the project planning phase serves as a roadmap and acts as a control tool throughout the project. Project planning provides guidance by answering questions like:

  • What product(s) or service(s) will we deliver?
  • How much will the project cost?
  • How can we meet the needs of our stakeholders?
  • How will progress be measured?

Before we jump into the step-by-step of how to plan a project, let’s consider why the planning phase is such a critical piece of the project life cycle .

Project planning communicates deliverables , timing and schedules, along with team roles and responsibilities. During the planning phase of a project, the project manager is forced to think through potential risks and hang-ups that could occur during the project.

These early considerations can prevent future issues from affecting the overall success of the project, or at times, cause a project to fail. Too little planning causes chaos and frustration and too much planning causes a lot of administrative tasks, not allowing enough time for creative work.

Ultimately, the planning phase of project management determines how smoothly your projects move through the life cycle. That’s why it’s so important to spend ample time at the beginning of a project and get your planning right.

A project plan is a set of documents that can change over the course of a project. The plan provides an overall direction for the project, so drafting this is a key aspect of the project planning phase. If unexpected issues arise, such as delivery delays, the plan can be adjusted by the project manager.

Project plans are coordinated by the project manager, with input from stakeholders and team members. Plan components cover the “what” and “how” of a project.

Plans include details related to:

  • Timelines and stages
  • Deliverables

They also cover practical aspects such as:

  • Manufacturing
  • Risk management
  • Procurement

While resource-related considerations are also included, like:

  • Communications
  • Dependencies

Learn how to write a project plan in more detail .

In project management, planning is a multifaceted process. A full project plan might include the following documents:

Project charter.

This is a short, formal summary of your project’s aims, methods and stakeholders. You’ll likely refer back to this document later in the project lifecycle and may find it a useful frame of reference when measuring success.

Project schedule.

Schedules list what needs to be done and when, including details of any tools, bookings or people you might need to utilize at each stage. This is sometimes paired with a work breakdown structure (WBS). Depending on the nature of your project, you might list activities, costs and allocated hours beneath each deliverable.

Cost management plan.

This is essentially a detailed budget. Using the project planning phase to identify procurements, suppliers and resources can help you to map your project’s price tag. A project manager might use this document to think about human resource costs and consider figures that might grow if elements of your project plan change.

Statement of work (SoW).

A statement of work can help you keep an eye on scope, by listing a breakdown of the project’s aims and tasks. It’s often more detailed and less formal than a project charter and you might include practical details, such as the location of meetings, quality standards and software requirements here.

Risk management plan.

This allows you to identify the project’s main hazards for your organization and their potential impact. Analyzing the likelihood of each risk, high, medium or low, can give you sight of where to focus your efforts right from the project planning phase.

Stakeholder management plan.

In project management, each department comes to the table with distinct priorities, so drafting a stakeholder management plan can help. This document can ensure you identify all stakeholders, assign roles and prioritize interests accordingly.

Quality plan.

This aspect of the planning phase sets quality standards and acceptance criteria for deliverables.

Good project planning software can streamline the document drafting process in project management. It might allow you to combine these elements of analyze them side-by-side, for instance.

Prior to developing a project plan, the project manager should explain the purpose of the plan to key stakeholders. These are the organizations and individuals who are affected by the project and they need to understand what goes into planning their project – a key component of good stakeholder management .

Examples of stakeholders include:

  • Project sponsors
  • Business experts
  • Project team

Gaining buy-in from all stakeholders can be one of the most challenging components of project planning, yet it’s central to the project’s success. Projects fail when management isn’t supportive, or there is limited stakeholder engagement.

The project manager should host a project kick-off meeting for stakeholders. The meeting may be used to discuss the vision statement from the project sponsor, roles and responsibilities, team dynamics, decision-making, and other ground rules.

Ebook: The Complete Guide to Planning Creative Projects Ebook: 3 Strategies to Plan Successful Marketing Projects

It’s simple to create a project plan for your next stream of work. Simply follow these seven steps.

1. Create a scope statement.

A scope statement documents what the project will produce and what it will not. Once a project manager understands the stakeholder requirements, they need to define the scope. This is a crucial step because the scope will serve as the foundation of the project plan.

By outlining project scope boundaries during the planning phase, a project manager can minimize the chance of unauthorized tasks popping up. A clear and accurate scope statement helps gain buy-in from stakeholders, while also minimizing risk.

Formalizing these decisions in a project charter document may help to cement the business case for the project. When project managers take the time to meet with key stakeholders from the very beginning, they can feed cross-department insights into the scope statement.

2. Create a statement of work.

A statement of work contains project details including project timelines , requirements, and components. It’s an essential document that projects both the client and agency as it is a legally binding document that details the amount a client will pay for certain deliverables.

A SoW can also help prevent scope creep and shifting project requirements, which can individually, and combined, derail the progress of a project.

3. Conduct research.

From stakeholder interviews to project risks, conducting research is an essential step. Project research is based on the scope of the project and stakeholder requirements.

During the research phase, the project manager is encouraged to attend stakeholder interviews, or at least suggest questions to be included in the interviews.

At this stage of the planning process, it’s important to understand:

  • Project ownership
  • Decision making
  • Times when the stakeholders are away
  • Preferred communication methods

The project manager should also dig into team dynamics in order to assign responsibilities appropriately. At this stage, the team should discuss expertise, interests, and collaboration. The goal here is to define ownership of individual tasks.

4. Identify risks.

Including a risk analysis as part of your project’s planning phase helps you to keep an eye on potential problems. You can also use risk analysis to plan how to mitigate risks to a project should they arise.

Focus areas might include scope risk, the possibility that a project could drift beyond its original aims due to internal or client demands. Technical risks can arise if mission-critical software or hardware breaks down, and this can impact your schedule, budget and goals.

The right software can make the process of ongoing risk management easier. If delay is a key risk to your project, the ability to view progress quickly can be invaluable.

5. Create a project plan.

The next step in the planning phase is to draft the individual components of the project plan. The first draft should provide a rough sketch of the general process, outlining:

  • Project deliverables
  • Stakeholder feedback

Once the project manager has a general idea of how the project could go, they should share the draft with their team. Sharing the plan and asking for feedback from key team members ensures the plan is collaborative.

The project manager should adapt and change the path of the project to ensure the process works for everyone involved. As you draft project plan documents, think about:

  • Project deliverables. Even in the planning phase of a project, it’s wise to pinpoint exactly what needs to be produced.
  • Project stakeholders. This is the who’s who of your project, from start to finish.
  • Tasks and milestones. Consider the multiple milestones and project streams you’ll need to manage simultaneously.
  • Resources. Will you need investment, materials or extra staff?
  • Budget. When this is defined, it can be easier to make a business case and track return on investment (ROI).
  • Analytics. In project management, planning also means thinking about how you’ll report on progress and measure success.

6. Create a project schedule.

After the plan is drafted, the project manager needs to break the tasks into sections and map tasks to deliverables. This detailed step involves assigning tasks to organizations and individual responsibilities to people. This assignment of duties creates an important sense of accountability.

A project schedule includes specific start and end dates, along with notes that describe tasks. The schedule also notes dependencies. For instance, Task B cannot be completed until materials, as outlined in Task A, are delivered.

Spelling out dependencies illustrates how individual responsibilities will impact potential changes.

7. Review and approve the plan.

Before the project plan is finalized, the project manager needs to receive approval from stakeholders. To do this, they should build and maintain rapport with stakeholders to gain their trust.

If the project manager can prove that the project risks have been assessed and managed, and the project plan has been built to satisfy the overall vision of the sponsor, they can increase their chances of receiving approval.

When your plan is in the books, you’re ready to start executing those strategies and proposals that have been put together. Here’s what you need to do once your project plan has been given the green light.

Assign team roles and ongoing responsibilities.

Over the course of a project, a project manager should continually analyze project quality, monitor risk, and communicate effectively. The plan may have been mapped out, but your project’s wheels start turning only when tasks are assigned.

Define responsibilities clearly, either by individual, group or department, depending on project scale. Ensure systems are in place for each task and line of communication to flow smoothly from the last.

Monitor project quality.

The project manager is responsible for monitoring project quality to ensure the end result meets expectations. Project quality is proactive and it involves error prevention and risk management.

A quality plan aids in this ongoing responsibility by outlining standards, acceptance criteria, and project metrics . It is used to guide reviews and inspections during the project.

Communicate effectively.

Effective communication is central to the success of a project. Project communications can be guided with a communications plan . This document clarifies:

  • Who receives which reports
  • How issues will be handled
  • Where project information is stored
  • Who has access to it

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After the project management planning phase, you want your groundwork to set things out in a way that works for everyone. Some useful techniques could make this more likely, including:

Ask open-ended questions and feed input into the content of your plan as well as its structure. Some project plans take a list form and other, large-scale projects need multiple branches to segment each — this may be displayed as a tree diagram. The answers you receive may help to guide the fundamentals of how you lay out your project plan.

In fact, charts, sheets and software can help you to visualize plans more broadly — think color coding and intuitive tabs. If it’s easy to digest, various team players will likely find it easier to plug in.

Practical techniques for project planning include PERT, which stands for Program Evaluation and Review Technique. This helps with timing estimates by using statistics to manage probabilities, so it’s easier to predict how hypothetical scenarios could impact your timelines.

Naturally, the planning phase is just the beginning. Once your project is underway, managing the way things change can become a side project in its own right.

Set up pathways to deal with change and feed information into each branch of your current plan. If a cog in the chain alters, the best project plans are able to absorb this information quickly and direct it through all channels.

Your project might go through each of these life cycle stages :

  • Planning phase
  • Executing phase
  • Monitoring and controlling phase
  • Closing phase

Prioritization can help set the tone for success through each part of the journey.

The project planning phase is a roadmap for project managers. From pre-planning and meeting with stakeholders, to research, drafting, scheduling, and receiving final approval. All of these steps and subtasks help contribute to a successful project that aligns with the sponsor’s vision and overall objectives.

What is the definition of project planning?

Project planning outlines the purpose and scope of a project. It also addresses how you will approach and deliver it within a specific timeframe. We define project planning as a distinct phase within the project lifecycle .

In this phase, you’ll set out a roadmap for success, incorporating everything from the scope and projections of the project to its risks and constraints.

How can project planning help minimize risks?

Project planning can minimize risks in several ways. It can help you:

  • Analyze risks to consider their likelihood and impact.
  • Consider alternative courses of action, should a pitfall occur.
  • Prevent risks from occurring in the first place.
  • Manage stakeholder expectations for snags and delays in the project.

Risk analysis is therefore an integral part of the project planning process. Without it, you will be poorly prepared for the execution phase.

Why is project planning so important?

Project planning takes a lot of time and effort, but it is essential to delivering the finished product.

A solid plan can guide your team, stakeholders, managers and other parties through your project from start to finish. It allows you to set clear goals and objectives, allowing you to work out how best to achieve them.

Without adequate planning, projects can stray way off track and this can affect your bottom line. For example, in 2017, the Project Management Institute estimated that organizations lost an average $97 million on every $1 billion invested due to poor project management.

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What is planning

Definition: Planning is the process of establishing the goals and objectives of a project and determining the resources and actions needed to achieve those goals.

It involves creating a detailed project plan that outlines the steps and tasks required to complete the project, as well as identifying potential risks or challenges and developing strategies to manage them.

The goal of planning is to create a roadmap for the project that ensures its successful completion.

To do this, managers need to have a good understanding of the current situation and where they want to be in the future. 

Types of planning

There are four types of planning: 

  • Operational
  • Contingency

‍ Strategic planning

Strategic planning is defining a company's direction and goals and allocating its resources to pursue them. It consists of analyzing the competitive environment and identifying external and internal factors that can affect the organization.

An example of strategic planning for a SaaS company that offers project management software and wants to expand its customer base and increase revenue would look like this:

  • Conduct market research to understand the needs and preferences of its target audience.
  • Analyze the competitive landscape to identify potential opportunities and threats. 

Based on this analysis, the company sets the following goals :

  • Introduce new features and functionality to the software that addresses the specific needs and pain points of the construction and engineering industries.
  • Develop targeted marketing campaigns to reach small and medium-sized businesses in these industries through targeted online advertising, social media marketing, and content marketing.
  • Increase customer retention by providing exceptional customer support and offering a loyalty program for long-term subscribers.

To achieve these goals, the company allocates needed resources for marketing, development, and customer support staff.

Operational planning

Operational planning is the process of defining specific actions and resources needed to achieve the goals set out in the strategic plan. 

It involves developing detailed plans and budgets to implement the strategies and tactics outlined in the strategic plan and identifying and addressing any potential risks or challenges that may arise.

The example SaaS company has identified introducing new features and functionality to its software as a key goal in its strategic plan. To achieve this goal, the company develops an operational plan that outlines the specific actions and resources needed to execute this strategy. 

The operational plan includes tasks such as:

  • Implementing new features.
  • Allocating development resources and setting goals and timelines for developing the new features.
  • Developing a budget for testing and quality assurance efforts .
  • Assigning staff members to oversee the development and testing of the new features.

Tactical planning

Tactical planning develops plans and actions to achieve the goals set out in the operational plan . 

It involves breaking down the larger goals and objectives into smaller, more manageable tasks that can be completed within a shorter time frame, typically ranging from a few weeks to a few months. 

Tactical planning includes developing content marketing campaigns, promoting new features, assigning tasks to developers, etc.

Contingency planning

Contingency planning is the process of identifying potential risks or challenges that may arise and developing plans to mitigate or address them . 

To ensure the success of the launch of the new features, our example SaaS company develops a contingency plan to mitigate potential risks or challenges that may arise. 

The contingency plan includes the following measures:

  • Identifying potential disruptions to the development process, such as staff illness or unexpected delays, and minimizing their impact on the timeline for launching the new software.
  • Identifying potential IT issues, such as server outages or security breaches, and ensuring that the software remains accessible to customers and secure.
  • Sudden change in market conditions or a major competitor entering the market.

How to plan in Mindmesh

Mindmesh is a productivity and project management tool that helps users plan, organize, and execute tasks and projects. Here's how to use the Mindmesh app to plan:

  • Log in to Mindmesh and create a new card in the app . Give it a name and add any relevant details or information.

definition of business project planning

2. Organize the tasks by dragging and dropping them across days or snoozing them in the calendar to work on what matters. Get access to the planning view and get an overview by clicking the W key on the Mindmesh desk.

3.  Link relevant cards to create a task hierarchy:

definition of business project planning

4. Organize your tasks with Tags and manage multiple projects with Boards:

definition of business project planning

5. Assign tasks to other team members:

definition of business project planning

6. Keep track of completed assignments.

definition of business project planning

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definition of business project planning


  • Project Management

What is Project Planning? Steps, Process, Importance, Tools

Home Blog Project Management What is Project Planning? Steps, Process, Importance, Tools

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There is a golden adage that says - "you don't plan to fail but you fail to plan"; well, it holds pretty much the same importance in project management as it does in all aspects of life. Project planning is quintessential to the project and projects that are not planned well result in unwanted overheads or at times sunk costs which result in pressures on the execution of the project and often escalate situations out of control for the project manager. 

What is Project Planning in Project Management?   

Project planning or project management planning is the foundation and most important stage of the project management life-cycle. The project planning activity sets the project foundations by base-lining the project scope, schedule, quality standards, objectives, and goals. Planning typically involves creating a document with all project information that comprises the respective tasks, assignee's, and areas of responsibility.

A project plan usually includes management plans for all areas of the project viz - integration, scope, schedule, cost, quality, resources, communication, risk, procurement, and stakeholders. Creating a consolidated project plan can be done manually or with the help of automated project management software such as Agile Central, Jira, Asana, Wrike, nTask, etc. Creating a comprehensive project plan and envisioning a concrete project execution strategy can streamline and strengthen the project process and ensure successful project execution and delivery. 

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Why is Project Planning Important?   

In a formal project management life cycle, projects begin with the project charter providing authority to the project manager to utilize organizational resources and assets for the project. A lot of novice professionals may at this point question - what is project planning & why is it important? Here is where the importance of the project planning phase comes into the picture as planning goes a few steps ahead and guides the project manager in strategising: 

  • How the project will move ahead i.e. how to plan a project’s activities,
  • What kind of resources will be engaged at what duration,
  • How unforeseen situations will be handled, and finally,
  • What will be the baselines against which progress will be measured and reported 

The planning process in project management forms the basis of the next project phases i.e. execution, monitoring & controlling closure, and also stipulates how the project team will pursue the goals outlined in the business case and project charter. Project planning in project management is also important from a cost-saving perspective as any project can easily run into unknowns, environmental challenges, and scope creep that haunt the completion and delivery of any/all types of projects. It is only effective project planning that provides the required structure and foresight, thereby helping eliminate wasteful tasks and patterns to optimize efficiency and execution. 

Types of Project Planning   

Project planning can be of various types depending on the objective, scope, and purview of the activity in consideration. The 3 broad categories of planning include: 

  • Vertical Planning  - involves creating a detailed hourly plan to roll up to the day and is also known as daily planning as it is done on that particular day; 
  • Horizontal Planning - involves creating a plan for the day as a whole instead of focusing on every hour and can be done weekly or monthly as well; 
  • Joint Planning - as the name suggests, involves both horizontal and vertical planning i.e. planning the tasks for the day as well as the week to have a bird's eye view and also a detailed plan at the same time. Joint planning requires careful consideration of the task duration and order of items, to sequence activities and complete them. 

What are the Components of a Project Plan?   

  • Scope - Project scope includes the stakeholder requirements, deliverables, and goals that attribute to the project's success and completion. 
  • Budget - Budget allocations define which resources will be aligned to the particular project activities based on their priority and requirements. Budget planning involves the allocation of people, processes, and technology per project needs.
  • Timeline - Project planning involves defining timelines to the scope and aligning project tasks and activities, creating schedules with milestones, and tracking progress. 

Together, these 3 components viz, scope, budget, and timeline determine what the project will accomplish, how much will be spent on the project and when will the project be delivered and completed and form the foundation for an effective project planning process. 

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Project Management Planning Techniques   

Project management planning techniques are what put the whole project planning process in project management into real and practical action. They help formulate the roadmap with milestones, deliverables, and task-level action plan to create the project deliverables and complete the project successfully. While there may be many different techniques that project managers may use, each of them has its impact on the project outcomes and may be used at different times during the project. 

1.  SMART Goals 

Goal setting is the first step in the project planning methodology and entails creating an outline of the project outcome to define what steps need to be completed and what activities need to be performed to achieve the desired outcome. In this process, the goals that are defined should have the following attributes: 

  • Specific - should be clear and concise to be achieved 
  • Measurable - should be quantifiable and not open to interpretation 
  • Attainable - should be realistic and feasible 
  • Relevant - should align with the overall business objectives 
  • Time-bound - should have a deadline or time-limit

2. Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) 

WBS is what defines how the overall project goals will be broken down into unit-level tasks/activities that will help create project deliverables to achieve project outcomes. It is essentially a visual representation of project tasks and activities presented in a hierarchical format. Creating a WBS involves breaking up high-level goal statements into doable tasks and activities to their respective unit level and allocating resources to the WBS items to create the outlined deliverables. There is also a WBS dictionary that augments the definition, break-up, and scope of work packages i.e. items in the WBS chart.

3. Cost Breakdown Structure 

This is an extension of the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) and is a hierarchical representation of costs at various levels of the WBS. CBS represents the cost of components in the WBS. It is a useful tool for structuring project financial management and the application of cost controls to track and manage project costs. 

4. Action Priority Matrix 

This is a prioritization tool that determines the sequence of tasks to balance between time and resources to optimize efficiencies. An action priority matrix is most useful in critical situations or time-crunch scenarios in the project. It has 4 quadrants - resulting in 4 possibilities, that are: 

  • Quick Wins/urgent
  • Major projects/not urgent 
  • Fill-ins/delegate 
  • Hard slogs/Postpone or ignore 

5. Milestone Trend Analysis (MTA)  

This is an important project scheduling and control tool which helps project teams determine whether the project is ahead of schedule or behind schedule and applies techniques or corrective actions to avoid variance. MTA involves creating a chart with the planning line vs the implementation line along with the respective milestones to represent trends and analyze the same. With the help of MTA, project managers can easily identify the bottlenecks and any constraints that may derail the project from its planned course of action. Want to get a project management certification? Understand the nitty-gritties of the real world project management life cycle easily in our PRINCE2 course ! 

10 Steps to Successful Project Planning   

Step 1: Define stakeholders  

Identifying and defining stakeholders is the first step to successful project planning as any stakeholder identified late will cause scope-creep or unwarranted changes which may be too expensive for the project. 

Step 2:  Define roles & responsibilities  

Outlining clear roles and responsibilities is an important next step; not all stakeholders will have the same level of interest in the project and hence it is important to establish the responsibility, accountability, and role expectations in the project.

Step 3:  Introduce stakeholders   

Bringing the stakeholders together and introducing them to the project as well as each other in a formal setup helps build trust and alignment with the overall project and organizational goals. This step helps ensure everyone's voices are heard and also secures commitment from stakeholders for the project. 

Step 4:  Set goals  

Goal setting is the key step in planning, without which it will be impossible to assess project success and mark the project closed upon completion i.e. meeting the defined goals. 

Step 5:  Prioritize tasks   

Task prioritization is the key to understanding what kind of resources will be aligned to the project at what durations. Not having a prioritized list of tasks will only confuse overlapping activities and also cost overruns in the project execution. 

Step 6:  Create a schedule   

Once the goals are established and prioritized, creating a roadmap with the project milestones helps understand dependencies, constraints, and sequencing of activities for the project. Project scheduling helps outline which activities will be completed in what order, how and when they will start, what will be their outcomes and how will the project manager track and measure progress. 

Step 7:  Assess risks   

Risks are uncertain events that may affect the project and planning involves understanding the risk and assessing its probability i.e. the chance of occurrence as well as its impact i.e. the effect on the project 

Step 8:  Communicate   

Communication plays a key role in project management and according to the PM role, a project manager spends about 90% of the time communicating. Communication of plans, timely reviews, and change management are all important aspects of the project that need attention at regular intervals. 

Step 9:  Reassess   

Reviewing and adjusting planning activity is as important as planning itself. An outdated plan can be as dangerous as having no plan at all and will give false direction to the project team and stakeholders. 

Step 10:  Final evaluation   

Project plans need to be evaluated and signed off by those accountable; every planning activity must inculcate the practice of inspection and adaptation post which the adjusted planning decisions must go through final evaluation and approval.  

How can Project Planning Software Help to Plan Projects?   

Project planning and implementation of planned activities involve handling a lot of concurrencies and managing a lot of conflicting tasks, priorities, and resources. This activity often entails a thorough understanding of the current state as well as the proposed state/outcome of the project. In such an intense environment, project management software can be a boon if rightly used to align and sequence project activities.

The project planning software essentially creates a structured framework for collaboration and automation of recurring tasks and processes. Planning software also facilitates the centralization of all information making it easy to retrieve and available on a need basis, especially in hybrid and agile setups where communication is the lifestream of business activities and execution. Project management software provides a transparent overview of completed, in progress, and planned projects to avoid bottlenecks and manage dependencies effectively. A short overview of project planning benefits include: 

  • Improved schedule management 
  • Facilitate cross-team communication and collaboration 
  • Provide visibility to better manage and mitigate risks 
  • Effective breakdown and allocation of tasks
  • Improved team productivity 
  • Easy-to-use reports and dashboards 

Best Project Planning Tools and Software in 2023   

1. gantt chart .

Gantt charts are one of the most essential and effective tools project managers use to track project progress and are used throughout the project lifecycle. They facilitate the creation of a visual project schedule/roadmap, point out milestones, and dependencies, and act as an indispensable information radiator for teams and stakeholders. Gantt charts are quite popular with teams of any size/methodology because they project the most realistic project schedule when correctly maintained and can highlight areas of risk or attention to project managers.

2. Critical Path Method (CPM) 

CPM is one of the most undermined project planning and management techniques. It involves envisaging the longest path or sequence of activities in the project by making use of the Gantt chart, Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), and network diagramming techniques. The activities that fall on this sequence or "critical path" are termed critical activities and assume the highest priority on the project schedule. The other activities which do not fall on this critical path are activities that have a float and this helps determine the other path i.e. the critical path which represents the shortest time needed to complete the project.

3. Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) Chart 

PERT is an estimation as well as scheduling technique that uses probabilities and simple statistical calculations to create a visual PERT diagram and identify independent activities. It is represented in the form of nodes and arrows sketched based on the order of activities in the project. Once the activity diagram is created, the earliest time (ET), latest time (TL), and slack time are determined for each activity. 

4. Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) 

WBS is a technique that comes in handy to organize and track project tasks sequentially and hierarchically. It is a visual representation of every task in the project and involves the decomposition of work into a smaller and more manageable set of tasks/activities. It is often used by project managers in conjunction with CPM and PERT. 

5. Project Documentation  

Project documentation is the beginning point that provides a glimpse of the project details, status, and open items. Every project should have a knowledge base or repository which aids newcomers to ramp up quickly on the project know-how and also address their concerns effectively.

Tips for Project Planning   

  • Always start with the end in mind. 
  • Understand project objectives, benefits, success metrics 
  • Identify stakeholders and their interests 
  • Understand the current state/problem statement 
  • Understand the proposed state/solution statement 
  • Define roles and responsibilities 
  • Review risks and communicate about them 
  • Create a unit-level roadmap with milestones
  • Ensure to be considerate of environmental challenges 
  • Revisit and review the plans drafted frequently along with tracking changes 

Apart from the above tips for project planning professionals, it is very vital to understand when to quit or pull the plug in certain unfortunate circumstances where projects drag and go on the downside - in which case, absorbing the sunk costs and shutting down the projects is only the feasible and economical resort. 

Simple Project Plan Example  

A traditional or simple project plan primarily has the following components: 

  • Project purpose 
  • Project stakeholders information 
  • Executive summary 
  • Business Objectives 
  • Work Breakdown Structure 
  • Deployment and Change Control Process 
  • Schedule Management 
  • Milestones and Dependencies 
  • Project Schedule Representation 
  • Cost Management and Budgeting 
  • Quality Management 
  • Resource Management 
  • Communication Management 
  • Risk Management 
  • Procurement Management 
  • Project KPIs and Metrics

Agile Project Plan Example   

An agile project plan follows the same structure as a traditional project plan with the only difference being that the project scheduling and activities are iterative and move in a continuous feedback loop. 

Free Project Planning Templates   

  • project plan template - IC-Agile-Project-Plan-Template_Google_Doc  
  • Gantt chart template - Gantt Chart Template Google Sheet  
  • Multiple project roadmap template - IC-Multiple-Project-Roadmap-Template_Google_Doc  
  • PM timeline template - IC-Multiple-Project-Roadmap-Template_Google_Doc  
  • Project tracking template - Project tracking  
Become a certified project management professional with our PRINCE2 Practitioner courses . Elevate your career and master the art of project management.

How Project Planning Can Improve Your Organization and Career?   

Project planning is a non-negotiable ingredient for the success of any project manager or organization. Its importance in the project lifecycle cannot be overstated. When performed rightly, planning helps every other function and part of the organization perform smoothly. Structured planning not only aids the project manager in daily execution but also frees up the project progress from distractions due to off-track tasks, budgets, and controls. Regular planning and review help the project manager optimize efficiency, align only required resources, and save costs for the project and organization. 

In reality, projects tend to go on and on without a firm end unless planned appropriately and reviewed frequently. It is planning that defines what activities should be sequenced in what order to create project deliverables and complete projects as expected. In short, better project planning results in better project execution and controls as it addresses a lot of key aspects such as: 

  • Improve overall business processes
  • Provides opportunities to bring in economies of scale 
  • Reduces rework and waste 
  • Obtaining stakeholder alignment from the start 
  • Helps in outlining a clear project scope 
  • Creates transparency in roles and responsibilities 
  • Provides opportunities to flag risks in advance and chalk out mitigation plans 

Apart from the above benefits, project planning also upholds the integrity of the project manager and organization in meeting their commitments to clients, third parties, and other stakeholders. 


Project planning is an integral part of any project life cycle especially when projects operate in non-traditional and VUCA environments that have so many components requiring attention. Planning is not just another stage of the project lifecycle but it is the most crucial and defining factor with far-reaching impacts and consequences. Developing a concrete project plan can be simple and easy for any project manager, but also complex and drawn out depending on the nature of the project. Not having a project plan will only lead to failure because there would be no clarity on business objectives or roles and responsibilities which form the crux of any project execution, monitoring, and control. 

Drafting a project plan involves exhaustive mapping and categorization of project objectives, schedules, activities, and resources to ensure things fall in the right place while executing the project. It is also imperative to note that projects have a larger impact on the organization as a whole. When planned thoroughly, projects engage efficiencies, save resources, reduce costs, improve ethos, and contribute to a positive environment. Project management in any organization always commences with project planning - if planning is focused and precise, the organization stands to gain wins with the project's success. Ace your career with world class courses and training from the experts - find out from our catalogue of KnowledgeHut’s courses for Project Managers today. 

Frequently Asked Questions

The project manager is responsible for the project. They are the key personnel who plan the project, gather resources, align and manage activities, resources, and tasks throughout the project lifecycle. 

Project planning in project management helps identify activities, sequence them, create schedules, align milestones and most importantly identify and assess risks thereby helping in flagging items early in the cycle and minimize impact of risks or driving mitigation strategies to address risks. 

Project cost is an important component in the iron triangle of project management and project cost planning involves estimating, allocating and controlling project costs. Budgets planned and approved in project cost planning only can be used during project execution. 


Rohit Arjundas Sambhwani

Rohit Arjun Sambhwani is an IT professional having over a decade and half of experience in various roles, domains & organizations, currently playing a leading role with a premier IT services organization. He is a post graduate in Information Technology and enjoys his free time learning new topics, project management, agile coaching, and writing apart from playing with his naughty little one Aryan

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What Is a Business Plan?

Understanding business plans, how to write a business plan, common elements of a business plan, how often should a business plan be updated, the bottom line, business plan: what it is, what's included, and how to write one.

Adam Hayes, Ph.D., CFA, is a financial writer with 15+ years Wall Street experience as a derivatives trader. Besides his extensive derivative trading expertise, Adam is an expert in economics and behavioral finance. Adam received his master's in economics from The New School for Social Research and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in sociology. He is a CFA charterholder as well as holding FINRA Series 7, 55 & 63 licenses. He currently researches and teaches economic sociology and the social studies of finance at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

definition of business project planning

A business plan is a document that details a company's goals and how it intends to achieve them. Business plans can be of benefit to both startups and well-established companies. For startups, a business plan can be essential for winning over potential lenders and investors. Established businesses can find one useful for staying on track and not losing sight of their goals. This article explains what an effective business plan needs to include and how to write one.

Key Takeaways

  • A business plan is a document describing a company's business activities and how it plans to achieve its goals.
  • Startup companies use business plans to get off the ground and attract outside investors.
  • For established companies, a business plan can help keep the executive team focused on and working toward the company's short- and long-term objectives.
  • There is no single format that a business plan must follow, but there are certain key elements that most companies will want to include.

Investopedia / Ryan Oakley

Any new business should have a business plan in place prior to beginning operations. In fact, banks and venture capital firms often want to see a business plan before they'll consider making a loan or providing capital to new businesses.

Even if a business isn't looking to raise additional money, a business plan can help it focus on its goals. A 2017 Harvard Business Review article reported that, "Entrepreneurs who write formal plans are 16% more likely to achieve viability than the otherwise identical nonplanning entrepreneurs."

Ideally, a business plan should be reviewed and updated periodically to reflect any goals that have been achieved or that may have changed. An established business that has decided to move in a new direction might create an entirely new business plan for itself.

There are numerous benefits to creating (and sticking to) a well-conceived business plan. These include being able to think through ideas before investing too much money in them and highlighting any potential obstacles to success. A company might also share its business plan with trusted outsiders to get their objective feedback. In addition, a business plan can help keep a company's executive team on the same page about strategic action items and priorities.

Business plans, even among competitors in the same industry, are rarely identical. However, they often have some of the same basic elements, as we describe below.

While it's a good idea to provide as much detail as necessary, it's also important that a business plan be concise enough to hold a reader's attention to the end.

While there are any number of templates that you can use to write a business plan, it's best to try to avoid producing a generic-looking one. Let your plan reflect the unique personality of your business.

Many business plans use some combination of the sections below, with varying levels of detail, depending on the company.

The length of a business plan can vary greatly from business to business. Regardless, it's best to fit the basic information into a 15- to 25-page document. Other crucial elements that take up a lot of space—such as applications for patents—can be referenced in the main document and attached as appendices.

These are some of the most common elements in many business plans:

  • Executive summary: This section introduces the company and includes its mission statement along with relevant information about the company's leadership, employees, operations, and locations.
  • Products and services: Here, the company should describe the products and services it offers or plans to introduce. That might include details on pricing, product lifespan, and unique benefits to the consumer. Other factors that could go into this section include production and manufacturing processes, any relevant patents the company may have, as well as proprietary technology . Information about research and development (R&D) can also be included here.
  • Market analysis: A company needs to have a good handle on the current state of its industry and the existing competition. This section should explain where the company fits in, what types of customers it plans to target, and how easy or difficult it may be to take market share from incumbents.
  • Marketing strategy: This section can describe how the company plans to attract and keep customers, including any anticipated advertising and marketing campaigns. It should also describe the distribution channel or channels it will use to get its products or services to consumers.
  • Financial plans and projections: Established businesses can include financial statements, balance sheets, and other relevant financial information. New businesses can provide financial targets and estimates for the first few years. Your plan might also include any funding requests you're making.

The best business plans aren't generic ones created from easily accessed templates. A company should aim to entice readers with a plan that demonstrates its uniqueness and potential for success.

2 Types of Business Plans

Business plans can take many forms, but they are sometimes divided into two basic categories: traditional and lean startup. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) , the traditional business plan is the more common of the two.

  • Traditional business plans : These plans tend to be much longer than lean startup plans and contain considerably more detail. As a result they require more work on the part of the business, but they can also be more persuasive (and reassuring) to potential investors.
  • Lean startup business plans : These use an abbreviated structure that highlights key elements. These business plans are short—as short as one page—and provide only the most basic detail. If a company wants to use this kind of plan, it should be prepared to provide more detail if an investor or a lender requests it.

Why Do Business Plans Fail?

A business plan is not a surefire recipe for success. The plan may have been unrealistic in its assumptions and projections to begin with. Markets and the overall economy might change in ways that couldn't have been foreseen. A competitor might introduce a revolutionary new product or service. All of this calls for building some flexibility into your plan, so you can pivot to a new course if needed.

How frequently a business plan needs to be revised will depend on the nature of the business. A well-established business might want to review its plan once a year and make changes if necessary. A new or fast-growing business in a fiercely competitive market might want to revise it more often, such as quarterly.

What Does a Lean Startup Business Plan Include?

The lean startup business plan is an option when a company prefers to give a quick explanation of its business. For example, a brand-new company may feel that it doesn't have a lot of information to provide yet.

Sections can include: a value proposition ; the company's major activities and advantages; resources such as staff, intellectual property, and capital; a list of partnerships; customer segments; and revenue sources.

A business plan can be useful to companies of all kinds. But as a company grows and the world around it changes, so too should its business plan. So don't think of your business plan as carved in granite but as a living document designed to evolve with your business.

Harvard Business Review. " Research: Writing a Business Plan Makes Your Startup More Likely to Succeed ."

U.S. Small Business Administration. " Write Your Business Plan ."

  • Business Development: Definition, Strategies, Steps & Skills 1 of 46
  • Business Ethics: Definition, Principles, Why They're Important 2 of 46
  • Business Plan: What It Is, What's Included, and How to Write One 3 of 46
  • Organizational Structure for Companies With Examples and Benefits 4 of 46
  • Which Type of Organization Is Best For Your Business? 5 of 46
  • What Are the Major Types of Businesses in the Private Sector? 6 of 46
  • Corporate Culture Definition, Characteristics, and Importance 7 of 46
  • What Is an S Corp? Definition, Taxes, and How to File 8 of 46
  • LLC vs. Incorporation: Which Should I Choose? 9 of 46
  • Private Company: What It Is, Types, and Pros and Cons 10 of 46
  • Sole Proprietorship: What It Is, Pros & Cons, and Differences From an LLC 11 of 46
  • Bootstrapping Definition, Strategies, and Pros/Cons 12 of 46
  • Crowdfunding: What It Is, How It Works, and Popular Websites 13 of 46
  • Seed Capital: What It Is, How It Works, Example 14 of 46
  • Venture Capital: What Is VC and How Does It Work? 15 of 46
  • Startup Capital Definition, Types, and Risks 16 of 46
  • Capital Funding: Definition, How It Works, and 2 Primary Methods 17 of 46
  • Series Funding: A, B, and C 18 of 46
  • Small Business Administration (SBA): Definition and What It Does 19 of 46
  • Upper Management: What it is, How it Works 20 of 46
  • What is the C Suite?: Meaning and Positions Defined 21 of 46
  • Chief Executive Officer (CEO): What They Do vs. Other Chief Roles 22 of 46
  • Operations Management: Understanding and Using It 23 of 46
  • Human Resource Planning (HRP) Meaning, Process, and Examples 24 of 46
  • Brand: Types of Brands and How to Create a Successful Brand Identity 25 of 46
  • What Is Brand Personality? How It Works and Examples 26 of 46
  • What Is Brand Management? Requirements, How It Works, and Example 27 of 46
  • What Is Brand Awareness? Definition, How It Works, and Strategies 28 of 46
  • Brand Loyalty: What It Is, and How to Build It 29 of 46
  • Brand Extension: Definition, How It Works, Example, and Criticism 30 of 46
  • What Is Social Networking? 31 of 46
  • Affiliate Marketer: Definition, Examples, and How to Get Started 32 of 46
  • What Is Commercialization, Plus the Product Roll-Out Process 33 of 46
  • Digital Marketing Overview: Types, Challenges & Required Skills 34 of 46
  • Direct Marketing: What It Is and How It Works 35 of 46
  • Marketing in Business: Strategies and Types Explained 36 of 46
  • What Are Marketing Campaigns? Definition, Types, and Examples 37 of 46
  • How to Do Market Research, Types, and Example 38 of 46
  • Micromarketing Explained: Definition, Uses, and Examples 39 of 46
  • Network Marketing Meaning and How It Works 40 of 46
  • Product Differentiation: What It Is, How Businesses Do It, and the 3 Main Types 41 of 46
  • Target Market: Definition, Purpose, Examples, Market Segments 42 of 46
  • Outside Sales: What They are, How They Work 43 of 46
  • What Is a Sales Lead? How It Works and Factors Affecting Quality 44 of 46
  • Indirect Sales: What it is, How it Works 45 of 46
  • What Is Inside Sales? Definition, How It Works, and Advantages 46 of 46

definition of business project planning

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Business Jargons

A Business Encyclopedia

Definition : Planning is the fundamental management function, which involves deciding beforehand , what is to be done, when is it to be done, how it is to be done and who is going to do it. It is an intellectual process which lays down an  organisation’s objectives and develops various courses of action , by which the organisation can achieve those objectives. It chalks out exactly, how to attain a specific goal.

Planning is nothing but thinking before the action takes place . It helps us to take a peep into the future and decide in advance the way to deal with the situations, which we are going to encounter in future. It involves logical thinking and rational decision making.

Characteristics of Planning

characteristics of planning

  • Managerial function : Planning is a first and foremost managerial function provides the base for other functions of the management, i.e. organising, staffing, directing and controlling, as they are performed within the periphery of the plans made.
  • Goal oriented : It focuses on defining the goals of the organisation, identifying alternative courses of action and deciding the appropriate action plan, which is to be undertaken for reaching the goals.
  • Pervasive : It is pervasive in the sense that it is present in all the segments and is required at all the levels of the organisation. Although the scope of planning varies at different levels and departments.
  • Continuous Process : Plans are made for a specific term, say for a month, quarter, year and so on. Once that period is over, new plans are drawn, considering the organisation’s present and future requirements and conditions. Therefore, it is an ongoing process, as the plans are framed, executed and followed by another plan.
  • Intellectual Process : It is a mental exercise at it involves the application of mind, to think, forecast, imagine intelligently and innovate etc.
  • Futuristic : In the process of planning we take a sneak peek of the future. It encompasses looking into the future, to analyse and predict it so that the organisation can face future challenges effectively.
  • Decision making : Decisions are made regarding the choice of alternative courses of action that can be undertaken to reach the goal. The alternative chosen should be best among all, with the least number of the negative and highest number of positive outcomes.

Planning is concerned with setting objectives, targets, and formulating plan to accomplish them. The activity helps managers analyse the   present condition to identify the ways of attaining the desired position in future . It is both, the need of the organisation and the responsibility of managers.

Importance of Planning

  • It helps managers to improve future performance , by establishing objectives and selecting a course of action, for the benefit of the organisation.
  • It minimises risk and uncertainty , by looking ahead into the future.
  • It facilitates the coordination of activities . Thus, reduces overlapping among activities and eliminates unproductive work.
  • It states in advance, what should be done in future, so it provides direction for action.
  • It uncovers and identifies future opportunities and threats .
  • It sets out standards for controlling . It compares actual performance with the standard performance and efforts are made to correct the same.

Planning is present in all types of organisations, households, sectors, economies, etc. We need to plan because the future is highly uncertain and no one can predict the future with 100% accuracy, as the conditions can change anytime. Hence, planning is the basic requirement of any organization for the survival, growth and success.

Steps involved in Planning

Steps of Planning

By planning process, an organisation not only gets the insights of the future, but it also helps the organisation to shape its future. Effective planning involves simplicity of the plan, i.e. the plan should be clearly stated and easy to understand  because if the plan is too much complicated it will create chaos among the members of the organisation. Further, the plan should fulfil all the requirements of the organisation .

Related terms:

  • Strategic Planning
  • Human Resource Planning Process
  • Controlling
  • Succession Planning
  • Gap Analysis

Reader Interactions

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October 24, 2018 at 6:59 am

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November 23, 2019 at 1:00 pm

Can you please add scopes of planning too.

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October 14, 2019 at 9:51 am

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February 4, 2021 at 2:23 pm

Great piece Thank you

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October 19, 2019 at 2:37 pm

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November 13, 2019 at 12:10 pm

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March 4, 2020 at 8:34 am


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Great Article, how do I cite it, what date was it published and who is the author? Can you please assist me with this information. Thank you.

November 26, 2020 at 9:41 am

The article was written by Surbhi S. on December 3, 2016

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September 9, 2021 at 5:48 pm

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Very helpful. Thank you

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September 17, 2021 at 11:20 am

It was created on Dec 3, 2016 by Surbhi S.

October 20, 2021 at 11:26 pm

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November 11, 2021 at 2:25 pm

November 11, 2021 at 2:28 pm

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November 23, 2021 at 2:17 pm

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June 10, 2022 at 10:09 pm

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August 15, 2022 at 9:11 pm

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September 13, 2022 at 4:01 pm

Wow! it helped me formulate class materials, good.

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September 24, 2022 at 10:48 pm

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January 26, 2023 at 6:23 pm

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February 10, 2023 at 11:00 am

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Canada’s Housing Action Plan

From: Department of Finance Canada


This year, federal investment in housing is $9 billion higher than it was in 2013-14

Building the homes that Canada needs will require a great national effort—and it is an effort that the federal government is leading, bringing together provincial, territorial, and municipal governments, in partnership with home builders, financiers, community housing providers, post-secondary institutions, and Indigenous organizations and governments, to meet this great generational challenge.

Federal investments are already jumpstarting housing construction across the country. Both Toronto and Vancouver have seen record numbers of housing starts in 2023, supported by accelerated rental construction. This year, federal investment in housing is $9 billion higher than it was in 2013-14. Since 2015, the average annual federal housing investment has more than doubled compared to the previous government.

Federal Housing Investments Since the 2008 Global    Financial Crisis

In the 2023 Fall Economic Statement , the federal government is introducing new measures to incentivize the construction of new rental housing, protect renters and homeowners, and make it easier for Canadians to get those first keys of their own.

Building More Homes, Faster

More financing for apartment construction.

The supply of rental housing in Canada needs to keep pace with our growing communities. To achieve this, builders need access to the low-cost financing which makes it possible to build more homes, faster. The federal government has already taken action to make the math work for builders, more needs to be done.

  • To build more rental apartments, faster, the 2023 Fall Economic Statement announces an additional $15 billion in new loan funding, starting in 2025-26, for the Apartment Construction Loan Program, formerly known as the Rental Construction Financing Initiative, for a total of more than $40 billion in loan funding. This investment will support more than 30,000 additional new homes across Canada, bringing the program’s total contribution to more than 101,000 new homes supported by 2031-32.

Building More Affordable Housing

Affordable and community housing play critical roles by providing the most vulnerable Canadians with a place to call home. Within its first six years, the Affordable Housing Fund, previously known as the National Housing Co-Investment Fund, has already committed funding to repair or renew nearly 129,000 homes, while supporting the construction of more than 31,500 new homes.

  • To build more affordable housing for the most vulnerable Canadians, the 2023 Fall Economic Statement announces an additional $1 billion over three years, starting in 2025-26, for the Affordable Housing Fund. This investment will support non-profit, co-op, and public housing providers to build more than 7,000 new homes by 2028.

Removing the GST From New Co-op Rental Housing

From students to families to seniors to newcomers, Canadians are finding it difficult to find the types of rental homes they need at prices they can afford. Rental supply must increase to ensure that renters can find an affordable place to call home. The federal government is creating the financial incentives to build more homes, faster, by removing the Goods and Services Tax (GST) from new purpose-built rental housing projects , such as apartment buildings, student housing, and seniors’ residences.

  • The 2023 Fall Economic Statement announces that co-operative housing corporations that provide long-term rental accommodation would also be eligible for the removal of the GST on new rental housing, provided the other conditions have been met. The measure is not intended to apply to co-operative housing corporations where occupants have an ownership or equity interest.

Strengthening the Co-operative Housing Development Program

For generations, housing co-operatives have offered quality, affordable housing to Canadians. The federal government recognizes the value of co-ops, and in Budget 2022, made the largest investment in this space in more than 30 years. With the Fall Economic Statement, the government is going even further to build co-op housing across Canada.

  •  The 2023 Fall Economic Statement announces an investment of $309.3 million in new funding for the Co-operative Housing Development Program, which was announced in Budget 2022. In collaboration with the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada and other co-op housing partners, CMHC is working to launch the co-developed program in early 2024.

Repurposing More Federal Lands for Housing

The Government of Canada owns and manages the largest real estate portfolio in Canada—and some of that land can be used to build more homes. Through the Canada Lands Company—a Crown corporation which has supported the construction of over 10,300 new homes since 2016—more than 29,000 new homes are set to be built on surplus federal lands by 2029.

On November 7, 2023, the federal government announced that six surplus federal properties will be developed into more than 2,800 new homes in Edmonton, Calgary, St. John’s, and Ottawa. As work continues to identify further assets that can be repurposed for housing, the federal government intends to introduce further measures to speed up this process and to identify more opportunities to build more housing.

Accelerating How Communities Build Housing

In March 2023, the government launched the $4 billion Housing Accelerator Fund to help cut red tape and fast-track the creation of at least 100,000 new homes across Canada. The Housing Accelerator Fund is already delivering results—and on its current trajectory, is expected to exceed 100,000 new homes.

With agreements already announced with nine cities—London, Vaughan, Hamilton, Brampton, Kitchener, Halifax, Kelowna, Calgary, and Moncton—the Housing Accelerator Fund has fast-tracked over 21,000 more homes in growing cities over the next three years alone, with many more agreements on the way.

On November 9, 2023, the federal government signed an agreement with the Province of Quebec for a joint contribution of $1.8 billion. The federal government will continue working with Quebec to build on the bold reforms it has committed to in the new Housing Accelerator Fund bilateral agreement to make housing more affordable for Quebecers.

More Construction Workers to Build More Homes

Breaking down barriers to internal labour mobility.

Ensuring Canadian tradespeople, health care professionals, and early childhood educators can move between provinces is essential to building the homes and delivering the health care and affordable child care that Canadians need. However, too many people are currently held back by barriers to interprovincial labour mobility.

  • Working with provinces and territories towards full interprovincial labour mobility for construction and health care workers, and enhancing training to meet labour market needs;
  • Expanding on the success of the Red Seal Program to improve the mobility of tradespeople and eliminate further barriers, such as duplicative credential recognition; and,
  • Ensuring provinces and territories welcome health care professionals from anywhere in Canada by leveraging the nearly $200 billion federal health care funding deal announced in February 2023.

This complements the federal government’s ongoing work to strengthen public health care in Canada.

Prioritizing Construction Workers for Permanent Residency

To meet our country’s home building demands, the federal government launched in May 2023 a new selection process under the Express Entry immigration system to prioritize permanent residency applicants with specific skills, work experience, education, or certifications, including in the construction sector.

Since May 2023, 1,500 workers with experience in the trades have been invited to call Canada home. Following extensive engagement with unions, the government has focused this year’s application process on candidates with work experience including in carpentry, electrical, welding, plumbing, contracting, and other trades that can help build more homes, faster.

Supporting renters, buyers, and homeowners 

Cracking down on non-compliant short-term rentals.

Canada needs more long-term housing for Canadians to live in, and the federal government is taking action to crack down on non-compliant short-term rentals which are keeping homes for Canadians off the market. Some provinces, including Quebec and British Columbia, and municipalities such as Toronto, Montréal, and Vancouver, have already taken action to restrict the use of residential properties as dedicated short-term rentals, and the federal government is taking steps to support their work.

  • The 2023 Fall Economic Statement announces that the federal government intends to deny income tax deductions for expenses incurred to earn short-term rental income, including interest expenses, in provinces and municipalities that have prohibited short-term rentals.
  • The 2023 Fall Economic Statement also announces that the federal government intends to deny income tax deductions when short-term rental operators are not compliant with the applicable provincial or municipal licensing, permitting, or registration requirements.

These measures would apply to deny all expenses incurred on or after January 1, 2024.

  • In addition, the federal government is taking action to support municipalities that are cracking down on non-compliant short-term rentals. The 2023 Fall Economic Statement proposes $50 million over three years, starting in 2024-25, to support municipal enforcement of restrictions on short-term rentals. This will support municipalities with strict regulatory regimes that are having a significant and measurable impact in returning short-term rentals back to the long-term housing market.

To better understand the short-term rental landscape in Canada and inform future housing policy, the federal government will explore options to collect data on short-term rentals.

The New Canadian Mortgage Charter

Canadians work hard to be able to afford their home, but high interest rates are leaving too many people concerned about their increasing mortgage payments.

  • The 2023 Fall Economic Statement announces the new Canadian Mortgage Charter, which builds on the government’s existing guidance and expectations for how financial institutions are to work with Canadians to provide tailored relief and ensure payments are reasonable for borrowers.

These measures will support more Canadians through the temporary financial stress caused by elevated interest rates and help them stay in their homes. The federal government will continue to closely monitor financial institutions’ implementation of and compliance with relief measures, including the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada’s guideline.

Canadians can expect:

  • Allowing temporary extensions of the amortization period for mortgage holders at risk;
  • Waiving fees and costs that would have otherwise been charged for relief measures;
  • Not requiring insured mortgage holders to requalify under the insured minimum qualifying rate when switching lenders at mortgage renewal;
  • Contacting homeowners four to six months in advance of their mortgage renewal to inform them of their renewal options;
  • Giving homeowners at risk the ability to make lump sum payments to avoid negative amortization or sell their principal residence without any prepayment penalties; and,
  • Not charging interest on interest in the event that mortgage relief measures result in a temporary period of negative amortization.

Related product

  • 2023 Fall Economic Statement

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