The only project plan template you’ll ever need (with 6 examples) (2023)

So, your next big project just got the green light – good news for you, right? Now it’s time to get started on the next step: project planning. It is imperative that you plan your project thoroughly rather than diving straight in.

The planning process is absolutely essential to the success of any product or service – whether it’s a task as simple as choosing the holiday cards you send to clients or as complex as implementing a new marketing automation software.

Project planning applies to any situation, regardless of the setting. The process can be as formal, informal, detailed, or high-level as you want it to be. This is why project plan templates will help you standardize the process and help you execute the right project plan!

What is project planning?

Project planning is the conceptual component of any project that begins after the project proposal has been accepted and should be completed before you actually start working on a new project.

Project planning is a key step that requires managers to detail the full scope of the project. As such, managers outline the core goals of projects and determine what needs to be done to achieve them.

Here’s everything you should consider as part of project planning:

  • Outlining every task and milestone
  • Setting the delivery date
  • Outlining the overall timeline of the project
  • Defining SMART goals for the project
  • Listing the number of people required and their roles
  • Detailing the required financial investment
  • Determining costs for each phase
  • Outlining needed resources
  • Involving people in the review and approval process
  • Identifying any potential risks
  • Adhering to quality standards

The planning process keeps projects focused and well-managed, and it limits the likelihood that the team will encounter any risks.

What is a project plan?

A project plan is a centralized reference document that outlines your planned approach to the project.

The project plan also contains a series of fixed stages, with the requirements, time frame, and deliverables of each stage. It is important that all objectives are quantifiable so that it is immediately clear what needs to be achieved before the project can progress to the next stage.

With such a plan, team members stay in the loop about who needs to do what and when.

A good project plan document will answer these major questions:

  • What are we creating?
  • Why are we creating it?
  • How are we going to create it?
  • When are we executing each step?
  • How long will each step take?

Remember, each project plan will be, by its nature, totally unique.

As such, a project plan document needs to detail every foreseeable element of the project. To display this much information in a logical manner, it is important to choose the right format for a project plan.

Popular choices for project plans include a Gantt chart or a written piece in the form of a PDF document.

Download a free project management plan template

The ultimate project plan leaves no question unanswered. In it, you’ll find guidance and pointers to ensure that all aspects of your project have been taken into consideration.

Our Filestage project plan template is a free and printable one-page project plan. This simple project plan template will help you get your project planning strategy off the ground quickly and effectively.

Follow these top tips to get the best possible results from this detailed project plan template:

  1. Use it as a starting point for all of your projects. This will help establish consistency.
  2. Fill the plan with careful, thorough research. Find out the value, scope and details of the project.
  3. Include useful resources and documents in the plan. For example, you may wish to include a branding guideline document.
  4. Discuss the steps and layout with your team. Before publishing your project plan, ask your team for their feedback. Does it work for them?
  5. Create a project plan with clear timelines, including fixed start and end dates for all tasks. This way, your plan will foster an environment of accountability and organization.
  6. Instill this as a core part of your process. Inform everyone about the project plan, and make sure your team actually uses it!

Download our free project plan template to get started today:

Get the free project plan template

Why do you need a project plan?

Project planning takes a lot of time, right? So, the big question that’s probably on your mind is: Is it worth the effort? Project planning is an essential component of project management that will save you endless headaches in the long run.

Plus, planning promotes team autonomy and organization, because everyone understands what is required of them and what they can do to keep things running smoothly.

Here are three major benefits of project planning:

  1. Helps you speed up delivery of the project
  2. Gives a good support to your team
  3. Enforces good quality standards

1. Project planning speeding up delivery

Here’s how project planning helps you speed up the delivery of your project:

  • Giving you a clear project timeline with fixed due dates.
  • Enabling you to prioritize work more effectively.
  • Significantly increasing the likelihood that your team will deliver projects on time.
  • Alleviating the burden on project managers by encouraging an independent and autonomous approach to work.
  • Helping project managers identify delays or bottlenecks quickly.

2. Project planning supporting your team

Here’s how project planning helps your team get most support:

  • Achieving greater transparency and ensuring that everyone is fully informed.
  • Assigning clear task dependencies and fixed roles for all contributors.
  • Helping you to manage client expectations.

3. Project planning enforcing quality standards

Here are all the ways in which project planning enforces quality standards:

  • Establishing a consistent, centralized process.
  • Ensuring that the end result is on-brand, mistake-free and of a high quality.
  • Ensuring that no steps are missed, especially important for complicated, large-scale projects.
  • Controlling key risks and limiting their impact.
The only project plan template you’ll ever need (with 6 examples) (1)

6 project plan template examples

Here are six project plan examples that will help you a build successful project plans:

1. Technical Project Plan by Atlassian

Atlassian’s technical project plan is a modern example of a highly detailed project logistics document. This sophisticated template includes a project scope section, a project timeline graph (which is compatible with Trello or Jira), tables for key data fields, and a section for other reference materials.

Atlassian’s project planning template is designed to provide users with a clear outline of the scope, goals, and requirements of the project. It makes it easier to facilitate cross-team collaboration and to manage the feedback of key stakeholders more efficiently.

2. Word project plan template by Project Management Docs

Project Management Docs has created a Word project plan template that thoroughly covers all the bases of an IT project. This detailed project plan template includes a tabulated milestone list, a schedule baseline, and work breakdown structure.

It also covers a change management plan, in which you can detail your change control process.

Project Management Docs has also provided a thorough user guide to their template that takes you through each step of the plan and clearly advises what is required at each planning stage.

3. Design Project Plan by Simple Square

This design project planning template, created by Simple Square, may have a simple overall look, but it’s actually very detailed. Project milestones are represented by small bullet points. The level of involvement is represented by the size of each colored circle, and the level of importance is represented by the font size of the task.

Simple Square’s detailed project template timeline runs through overlapping circles that compartmentalize the total project time into weeks. Each phase of the project has its own color. You can view the perspective of the designer above the timeline, and the perspective of the client below the project timeline.

4. Agile Project Plan by Smartsheet

In Smartsheet’s agile project planning template, you make progress one phase at a time rather than simultaneously. The overall project is sectioned off into chunks called iterations. As one iteration is completed, it is reviewed and approved before the team moves on to the next phase.

The result of the initial iteration will dictate the nature and scope of the second iteration.

5. Excel project plan template

This is an example of a comprehensive Excel project plan template where different tabs represent different components of the plan, such as project parameters and details.

Any spreadsheet program can be a useful tool for project plan creation because you can populate as many tabs as needed.

While task scheduling can be featured on one tab, cost estimates may be found on another. The communication plan and risk assessments can also be found on their own tabs. You can also use this as a Google Sheets project plan template to make sure all the data is always up to date.

6. Scrum Project Plan

A specific style of agile project management is the scrum project plan. Scrum plans work in a series of iterations called sprints, which indicate the completion of one segment of the project.

With scrum management, complex projects with multiple components and stakeholders can be clearly broken down and organized. Scrum project plans work best for projects that have a tangible product as an end result.

In the tech world, scrum boards are famous for their versatility and straightforward design. Team members use sticky notes to define tasks, which are then placed in different sections of the board to represent sprints.

How to create a project template

Planning might sound like a lot of work, but once you have a reliable project plan template, the process really isn’t that complicated.

To help you create a simple project plan – which covers all of the key points without taking ages to put together – we’ve listed all the steps that you need to take.

Here’s how to create a project template in six simple steps:

1. Define the scope of your project

Before you start writing your project plan, you and your stakeholders need to clarify the specific objective(s) and scope of your project. Discuss all elements that should be covered with the project, objectives and goals. Once you have that, you can go on and further develop your project.

2. Meet with the client

One crucial component of gathering data is interviewing your client. To create an effective plan, you need a crystal-clear understanding of your client’s expectations. So, meet with your client, and take comprehensive notes. You’ll also gain an appreciation of their level of knowledge about the project.

You can discuss deliverable dates and scheduled absences that may interfere with those dates. During this meeting, you should also establish the best method of communication between the client and your team.

3. Identify your team

Once you have a detailed understanding of your client’s needs and expectations, you can identify and gather all the people you need to successfully execute the project.

You can start by identifying groups or departments responsible for each phase of the project. Then, you should identify specific people within those groups for the completion of specific tasks and subtasks.

4. Seek team input

Seek input from your team on the information you’ve gathered so far, such as deliverables, client expectations, and cursory budget estimates.

Based on your team’s input, you’ll make modifications to the project plan. In fact, you’ll be making changes throughout the formulation and execution of the plan.

Since project plans are dynamic and a living documentation of your journey, they can change as the project’s life cycle evolves. Once you’ve identified all stakeholders involved and communicated with them, you can start drafting your plan.

5. Create the first draft

Your draft may go through several iterations before all aspects of the plan are adequately addressed. And the final version of the plan should leave no foreseeable questions unanswered.

Your first project plan draft will be very basic. It can be written out on a piece of paper, drawn out on a whiteboard, or entered into a word document.

Here’s everything you should include in your draft:

  • Goal: What is the goal of the project?
  • Scope: What parameters are you working within to achieve the goal?
  • Process: Identify the process for implementing the plan: the what, who, how, when, and where.
  • Deliverables: Define what’s going to be delivered, according to client expectations.
  • Resources: Identify all the necessary resources that must be used to create and deliver the final product, including human resources.
  • Limitations and Dependencies: What factors will inhibit your ability to complete the project, and how do you mitigate those factors?
  • Deadlines: Record all deadlines, and determine whether they’re hard or soft.
  • Stakeholders: Record how much time the client may need to review and approve any component of the project.

6. Getting and implementing feedback

Once you have a rough draft, you may want to move your plan into project management software. Managing a project through dynamic project planning software allows your team to continually reassess project execution in real-time, including identifying gaps and weak points.

A tool like Filestage helps you gather all your reviewers in one place and get their feedback right on top of your work. You can invite as many reviewers as you’d like to and get their feedback on each version of your file.

The only project plan template you’ll ever need (with 6 examples) (2)

Present your project plan to internal and external stakeholders with Filestage

After creating a project plan, you should share it with all internal stakeholders to get feedback and suggestions for improvements. This is important to make sure nothing is missing or has been overlooked. Stakeholders can also check that the timing and the frequency of communication make sense and can spot potential bottlenecks regarding resources.

To make the feedback process as easy and efficient as possible for everyone involved, we recommend using an online review platform. Online tools allow reviewers to leave precise feedback and discuss comments with other stakeholders, therefore reducing misunderstandings.

Here’s how you can speed up the review and approval process for your project plan.

1. Set up your review steps in Filestage

Before you can start going through a new project, you should replicate your existing review and approval process in Filestage. Set up review steps for each review instance that your project plan (or project deliverables) has to go through.

Each review step may involve a different reviewer group. For example, your first review step could be used to review your project plan with your team while your second review step involves your client or management executives to get their final approval.

2. Upload project plan (or deliverables) to Filestage

Uploading any type of file to Filestage is as simple as clicking on the upload button.

In this example, you should upload the project plan in the first review step to get feedback from your colleagues. Once the plan is approved by them, you can move the plan to the second review step where your client can review it.

You can then use the same review process for your project deliverable(s).

The only project plan template you’ll ever need (with 6 examples) (3)

3. Invite all relevant reviewers

For each review step, you can invite the right stakeholders by either adding their email addresses in the program or directly sharing the review link with them by email.

Plus, you can manage your reviewers permissions in advance so they can either collaborate with you on the file or leave their feedback in a certain review step.

The only project plan template you’ll ever need (with 6 examples) (4)

4. Ask your reviewers to leave feedback

Once the reviewers have been invited to view the file, they may still be curious about how this new software works.

Therefore, you should leave an initial comment on your file that gives your reviewers some context. This way, reviewers can experience the benefits of the tool prior to leaving their own feedback. Plus, it’s much less intimidating to leave visible feedback when someone else has already made the first mark.

The only project plan template you’ll ever need (with 6 examples) (5)

5. Get your project plan approved

Once your reviewers are done reviewing and leaving feedback, they can either request changes or approve the file.

Now, you should go through the comments and adapt your project plan if necessary. When bigger edits have been made, you can share the new version of the plan again in the same review step to get final approval from your colleagues.

Gathering feedback and getting approval has never been easier.

The only project plan template you’ll ever need (with 6 examples) (6)


Project planning is far more than a bit of obligatory paperwork. It’s about using information, organization, and foresight to shape the success of a project. The beauty of a project plan is that it gives all team members a thorough understanding of every element of the project.

They can then use this information to govern their time and contributions independently, without the need to constantly refer back to the project manager. Project managers can use this detailed management plan to oversee the project’s status in a far more transparent and proactive manner.

The combination of these brilliant benefits will translate into an infinitely more efficient project planning process.Then, manage these risks. For example, create a Quality Control Plan with quality standards to reduce the risk of creating poor quality content.


What are the 6 parts of the project plan? ›

Project Planning 101: 6 Steps to a Foolproof Project Plan
  • Step 1: Identify and meet with stakeholders.
  • Step 2: Set and prioritize goals.
  • Step 3: Define deliverables.
  • Step 4: Create the project schedule.
  • Step 5: Identify issues and complete a risk assessment.
  • Step 6: Present the project plan to stakeholders.
Apr 20, 2022

What are the examples of project planning? ›

These include:
  • Set project goals. ...
  • Define the project scope. ...
  • Decide on the major deliverables. ...
  • Create the scope statement. ...
  • Create a schedule. ...
  • Assign roles and responsibilities. ...
  • Complete a risk assessment.
Oct 18, 2022

What are project plan templates? ›

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

What are the 6 steps in the planning process? ›

The six steps are:
  • Step 1 - Identifying problems and opportunities.
  • Step 2 - Inventorying and forecasting conditions.
  • Step 3 - Formulating alternative plans.
  • Step 4 - Evaluating alternative plans.
  • Step 5 - Comparing alternative plans.
  • Step 6 - Selecting a plan.

What are the 6 project characteristics? ›

This makes the project manager role sound quite daunting but there are some common characteristics which you can look out for along the way.
  • Well Planned. ...
  • A Strong Team. ...
  • Clear Communication. ...
  • Good Change Control. ...
  • A Clear Vision. ...
  • Risk Control.
Mar 13, 2016

What are 4 examples of project? ›

Examples of Project:

Construction of a bridge. Development of software for a new business process. Installation of machinery in a factory. Relief efforts after a natural disaster.

What are 3 examples of projects? ›

Building a wooden house somewhere in Spain. Developing a cloud-based marketing platform for startups. Establishing a non-profit organization for COVID-19 relief and recovery efforts. Renovating the kitchen.

What is a simple project plan? ›

' A simple project plan allows you to: See the bigger picture clearly: A simple project plan allows you to better map out the necessary processes and steps. It allows you to be strategic—with a clearer vision of the bigger picture. Save valuable time: Don't fall into a habit of over-complicating tasks.

What are the 9 parts of a project plan? ›

Elements of a project plan you shouldn't overlook
  • Outline business justification and stakeholder needs. ...
  • List of requirements and project objectives. ...
  • Project scope statement. ...
  • List of deliverables and estimated due dates. ...
  • Detailed project schedule. ...
  • Risk assessment and management plan. ...
  • Defined roles and responsibilities.
May 2, 2022

What are the five 5 important parts of a project plan? ›

Five major components of the project management plan are:
  • Executive Summary – describes the nature of the project deliverables created to satisfy the project requirements and organisation needs.
  • Policy and Procedures.
  • Schedules.
  • Timeline plans.
  • Budgets.
Jan 21, 2018

What are the 5 steps in project plan? ›

Developed by the Project Management Institute (PMI), the five phases of project management include conception and initiation, project planning, project execution, performance/monitoring, and project close.

What is the six point planning model? ›

The six point public relations planning model by Jefkins which incorporate situation analysis, defining objectives, defining publics, media selection, budget and implementation and control.

What are the 6 P's of strategic thinking? ›

In strategic thinking, there are six P's, as follows: Plan, Ploy, Pattern, Position, Perspective, and Process.

What are 6 questions in the planning process? ›

Each year the same questions are asked.
Here are six questions to ask, which you might have not considered.
  • Why do we exist?
  • How will we behave?
  • Where are we going?
  • How will we succeed?
  • What is most important right “now”?
  • What isn't important?
Jan 8, 2015

What are the 6 project values? ›

They referred to these factors as the six dials of project value: cost, time, quality, safety, scope, and function.

What are the 6 essential elements in project scoping? ›

A well-written scope statement is an important part to achieve a successful project and the six main aspects which a good statement should include are a product scope description, acceptance criteria, deliverables, project exclusion, constraints, and assumptions.

What are the six criteria for project success? ›

These characteristics can be used to identify a successful project:
  • Scope. The project's scope and objectives must first be established. ...
  • Schedule. The deadline that must be met for each project is one of its most crucial components. ...
  • Budget. ...
  • Client Goals. ...
  • Quality. ...
  • Team Goals. ...
  • Deliverables. ...
  • Resource Capacity.
Apr 3, 2023

What are 5 resources project examples? ›

Project resources are components that are necessary for successful project implementation. They include people, equipment, money, time, knowledge – basically, anything that you may require from the project planning to the project delivery phases.

What are examples of project types? ›

Potential project types:
  • Business implementation.
  • Foundational (business improvement)
  • IT infrastructure improvement.
  • Product development (IT)
  • Product development (non-IT)
  • Physical engineering/construction.
  • Physical infrastructure improvement.
  • Procurement.
Sep 10, 2020

What is a good project plan? ›

A project plan defines the project's goals, resources, strategies, finances, risks, and plan of action in great detail. In addition, the project management plan includes other relevant documents, such as project charter, risk register, communication strategy, etc.

What are the 3 important components of project planning? ›

They are:
  • Scope of the project. Scope of the project includes project requirements, the vision behind it, measurable goals, outcomes and deliverables, and the activities that can and cannot be done for the successful completion of the project.
  • Budget and allocation of resources. ...
  • Timelines.

What are the 3 main components of a project? ›

The project management triangle is made up of three variables that determine the quality of the project: scope, cost, and time.

What is a project and examples? ›

According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), it's a temporary endeavour completed to create a unique product, service or result. For example, building a house is a project because it's a temporary collection of construction activities to create a unique home.

What are the 1st 5 parts of the project plan? ›

The basic outline of any project plan can be summarized in these five steps: Define your project's stakeholders, scope, quality baseline, deliverables, milestones, success criteria and requirements.

What are the 11 steps of the project planning process? ›

Project planning steps
  • Create and Analyze Business Case.
  • Identify and Meet Stakeholders for Approval.
  • Define Project Scope.
  • Set Project Goals and Objectives.
  • Determine Project Deliverables.
  • Create Project Schedule and Milestones.
  • Assignment of Tasks.
  • Carry Out Risk Assessment.
Jul 7, 2021

What are the 14 parts of the project management plan? ›

A strong project management plan will include all of the following information:
  • Project scope baseline & scope management plan.
  • Project schedule baseline & schedule management plan.
  • Project cost baseline & cost management plan.
  • Human resource management plan.
  • Communications management plan.
  • Risk management plan.

What are the 6 six stages of project management explain? ›

The six phases of project management. The phases of project management consist of six distinct project phases. These phases are project initiation and strategy development, project design and planning, execution and testing, project launch and training, support launching and project closing.

What are the seven 7 stages of project cycle? ›

The Project Lifecycle consists of seven phases intake, initiation, planning, product selection, execution, monitoring & control, and closure. These phases make up the path that takes your project from start to finish.

What is the five project rule? ›

The 5 Project Rule Explained

Over time, people who manage projects a lot have come to realize that most of us cannot handle more than five active projects at a time. Part of this is also about motivation as well as cognition.

What are the parts of project plan? ›

The three major parts of a project plan are the scope, budget and timeline.

What are the six 6 steps to ensure successful project completion? ›

6 Steps To Ensure Successful Project Completion
  • Step 1: Study the project thoroughly. ...
  • Step 2: Prepare a concrete project plan. ...
  • Step 3: Daily monitoring of work assigned after project begins. ...
  • Step 4: Keep the client informed on a predetermined basis. ...
  • Step 5: Perform testing at regular intervals. ...
  • Step 6: Final project delivery.

What are the six 6 factors to consider while managing resources in a project? ›

6 Success Factors for Managing Project Quality
  • Key Success Factor 1: A good plan. ...
  • Key Success Factor 2: Appropriate Communication. ...
  • Key Success Factor 3: Manage Stakeholders. ...
  • Key Success Factor 4: Good Measurement. ...
  • Key Success Factor 5: Constant Review. ...
  • Key Success Factor 6: Act early. ...
  • About the Author.
Dec 11, 2012

What are the 6 phases of typical IT project life cycle? ›

We also learned that the life cycle includes requirements and planning, systems architecture, design, construction, testing, and implementation phases. Project managers use the IT project management life cycle to ensure all deliverables are defined and work progresses successfully from start to completion.

What are the 5 parts of a project plan? ›

Five major components of the project management plan are:
  • Executive Summary – describes the nature of the project deliverables created to satisfy the project requirements and organisation needs.
  • Policy and Procedures.
  • Schedules.
  • Timeline plans.
  • Budgets.
Jan 21, 2018

What are the 5 key areas in project planning? ›

Developed by the Project Management Institute (PMI), the five phases of project management include conception and initiation, project planning, project execution, performance/monitoring, and project close.

What are the 8 elements of project plan? ›

Elements of a project plan you shouldn't overlook
  • Outline business justification and stakeholder needs. ...
  • List of requirements and project objectives. ...
  • Project scope statement. ...
  • List of deliverables and estimated due dates. ...
  • Detailed project schedule. ...
  • Risk assessment and management plan. ...
  • Defined roles and responsibilities.
May 2, 2022

What is 6 step strategic planning? ›

6 Strategic Planning Steps To Follow
  • Confirm (or create) your mission and vision statements. Mission and vision statements provide important context for your future plans. ...
  • Choose a framework. ...
  • Identify your priorities. ...
  • Develop measures and initiatives. ...
  • Build a rollout plan. ...
  • Review and make changes.
Feb 24, 2023

What is project management list six 6 reasons that cause projects to fail? ›

11 reasons for project failure
  • Poor planning. Although sometimes overlooked in importance, lack of planning can make a project fail. ...
  • Inconsistently defined resources. ...
  • Unclear objectives. ...
  • Lack of detail control. ...
  • Lack of transparency. ...
  • Lack of communication. ...
  • Change of direction. ...
  • Unrealistic expectations.
Sep 30, 2022


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