A project management template can be a diagram, an excel spreadsheet or even a word document. But no matter what format it is in, it needs to have 10 ingredients to make the project a success.
The 10 points listed here are not an exhaustive list, merely the basics, but they are in line with the methodical requirements of PRINCE2- the bible of project management!
The Business Analysis/Case
This is the justification and argument for the project. It analyses why the project needs to happen, presents the case for the viability of all aspects of the project and ensures that the fundamental basics of the project, its aims, its cost, its ‘raison d’etre’ and so on are explained.
This analysis is a living document in the sense that it should be used and updated throughout the project, as circumstances change or the needs of stakeholders change.
The Project Brief
Although the business case is the ‘argument’ for the project, the project brief is an extension of this, but should always be a document that can stand alone. The project brief will explain the scope of the project and it will form the basic contract between the project board and the project management team.
The Project Initiation Document
Depending on how big a project is, the project initiation document will contain a lot of the detailed information that has been alluded to in the project brief. This will contain details of the project team, how the project will be effectively managed and it may also contain a reference to the risk management strategy and log for the project.
Quality Control Document
For a project to succeed, it needs to be quality controlled. There is no point delivering something if it fails to meet the needs of stakeholders. The quality control document clearly indicates how quality is to be achieved, how it will be reviewed and who will be responsible for ensuring that it is achieved.
Communications Plan Information Flow
Information is critical if a project is to succeed. The project manager needs to have all kinds of information if s/he is to keep control over what is happening and it is vital that the template clearly indicates how information will flow and who will be responsible for providing and sharing information.
The stakeholders are vital in this process and it is important to list each and every interested party so that all the stakeholders interests are not just highlighted, but that the project meets their needs.
The stakeholder map or brief also needs to indicate how the stakeholders will be kept informed and how they will be able to influence the project delivery.
Risk Log – Management of Issues
In line with PRINCE2, an issue is one that has been raised through the process of the project and one that needs to be answered. Issues require management that is set out in clear, comprehensive language, detailing how a reference number will be generated for each issue, how it will be raised, how answers will be sought etc.
Details should also be provided of the issue log (often a termed a Project Risk Log that will be kept and the way that both positive and negative issues will be dealt with.
Change Management Log
All projects are subject to change. Indeed change is perhaps the only certainty in any project. Because changes can come thick and fast, there has to be a means of managing changes and ensuring that all changes are logged and then communicated as well as understood, by everyone involved, including stakeholders.
The risk strategy should contain details of all the risks that are perceived, which are internal and which are external, how risks are to be managed and how risks are to be communicated. Details of the risk log also need to be contained within this document.
Project End Report
The project end report is the report that should detail how the project has been completed i.e. has it been delivered in accordance with the Project Initiation Document? This document basically is an appraisal of the final product and how it compares with the project schedule/budget etc.