Organizing the work efficiently for maximum output and minimize the wastage related to resources, time and effort, a good work plan is needed. Taking up a task without any planning is certainly not a professional way of doing things and will lead to failure. To manage things professionally, you need a process-oriented approach and the best tool to do this is a work plan template.

Work Plan Templates

What is a work plan format?

A work plan template shows all of the involved tasks in a project, who’s responsible for each of the tasks, and when you expect to complete the tasks. Project owners usually request contractors like you to provide a work plan or work timeline project as part of your proposal.

As soon as your project starts, you will use this plan as a tool for monitoring to see if you’re on track. The work plan format becomes useful when:

  • You have to make a simple plan for your proposal.
  • You have to make a simple plan for project monitoring.
  • Your client hasn’t provided you with a template for the plan.

Work Timelines

What is included in a work plan?

A work plan template is a written document that helps streamline projects. The main objective is to give you a visual reference of the tasks, goals, and objectives of your plan and the team members responsible for each of the areas.

You should include all the members of your team in your plan. You should also keep your plan updated based on its current status and progress. If your project is more complex in nature, it’s recommended to create your own work plan template.

But if you are already clear about the project and you know what it requires to achieve success, using this template can save you effort and time as you will only fill in the required information. Generally, a plan includes:

  • Setting the objectives and goals
  • Establishing the responsibilities of each member
  • Setting the timelines of the project
  • Creating the budget

Before you start a project, especially a big one, it’s always a good idea to first work through these steps so that every team member gets clarification about their responsibilities. Moreover, it reduces the chances of going over budget while increasing the probability of achieving your goals within the timeframe you set.

When do you need a work plan template?

You may use a work plan template at the start of your project, usually for strategic planning purposes. You can also use it to determine the project’s scope where it is continuously updated as your project moves forward with real-time data.

Work plans become especially useful if you’re working with complex projects, dealing with several stakeholders or working with cross-functional partners. Like in most projects, it’s normal for things to evolve during the course of the project. Remember that a program plan template can’t be all-encompassing and it shouldn’t be either.

List as many strategies, objectives, tactics, and goals as you can along with the dates for each task. To make things easier, use project management software to help you monitor tasks, assignments, and dates.

Project Work Plan Templates

How do you write a work plan?

The creation of a work plan template requires a lot of effort and time plus the collection of as many details as possible. Here are the things you should focus on when creating your work or program plan template:

  • Identify the basic information
    These include the name of your project, its purpose, and a general timeline to inform your stakeholders about your project. Whatever your project’s ultimate purpose is, you should state this at the beginning.
  • Put the plan into context
    To make a better outline of your work timeline project and why you need to implement this project, you need to write an effective introduction along with a background relevant to your objectives. Creating this context and establishing the main problem helps justify why you need a solution.
  • Establish the project’s objectives and goals
    Most of the time, people mistake goals for purposes but they aren’t the same thing. Goals are more specific in the sense that they are usually long-term. In the same way, make sure that you can measure your project objectives. It’s recommended to use “SMART” goals. This abbreviation stands for:
    Specific (rather than vague or difficult to understand goals)
    Measurable (you can measure it)
    Achievable (and realistic)
    Relevant (to the problem)
    Timeframe (which means that you can accomplish it within the timeframe)
  • Define your resources and allocate them
    Make sure that you address these questions when defining and allocating your resources in your work plan template:
    What is your budget?
    From which department will you allocate the budget?
    Which software tools do you need to streamline your project?
  • Understand the constraints and limitations
    A project can often get subjected to constraints and limitations, most common of which are budget, resources, and time. Since you have already listed all of these in the previous steps, you can now factor in the risks that could hamper your processes.
    For instance, it might happen that one of your team members might need to take a couple of days off during the duration of the project, one of the key liaisons in the department has to attend to an emergency or maybe some of your software tools have crashed, and you need more money from the budget to fix them. Whatever the constraints might be, you should factor in anything that feels like a risk that might lead to a bigger problem.
  • Discuss the risks and accountabilities
    It is important that you assess risks from as many angles as possible. For instance, consider vacation time and paid time off that your team members have accrued along with legal holidays.
    Consider any freak accidents that might affect your timeline or budget directly. You need to assign someone to take charge of these in case any of these risks happen. Strive to create a sense of accountability that prepares all of your team members to have a stake in the successful results of your project, and to reduce the likelihood of errors.

You should also cover all of the basics and all of the detail in your work plan. Every potential red flag or question covered will bring you closer to get a go-ahead signal from your stakeholders. Then you can start your project with the right mindset and expectations.