A project manager’s job today very much resembles that of a ship captain in the 1800’s, having to think about every aspect of the boat while getting it safely from point A to point B in a timely manner. There tends to be no down time from the start to finish of a project, with every moment and every hour a consideration about what else could impact the project.
The sailing map for the project captain, however, doesn’t resemble some artistic cartography. Instead, the old-school charts and timelines are replaced by a more sophisticated project implementation plan. This set of documentation collectively details every step, phase, date and tasks of how the given project comes together. As a result, the project manager’s job involves not just creating the plan, but also ensuring compliance with the project.
The project implementation plan often provides the project manager a checklist as well as a set of performance metrics of expected results to aim for by each date or stage. Psychologically, a well-structured plan of progress usually provides better results than going into a project simply guessing how to proceed day-to-day. When used for benchmarking, the implementation plan may provide an early signal that project work might be steering off the rails and heading in the wrong direction. Finally, the plan lays out an approach that all the team members on the project understand and can reference.
A typical implementation plan appears as a large document with lots of …