Project Plan Basics

This week I discuss the basic points needed in any project management process, including what, who, how, when and why.

The What

All projects I think begin with a description of What the project is to produce. For Financial Systems, I’ve been taught this needs to be a diagram of some kind on a single page that describes the major aspects to the system. For example, for one project, this was the simple graphic used to describe what would be built.

The Who

The second required element is the who; this is an org chart of some kind. What can be built is very much dependent upon the types of people involved in its construction. And at times the most important people are not necessarily those with some official title or administrative responsibility. Quite frequently it is important to emphasize the architects and subject matter experts.

The How

How is a description of what steps will be taken to create the project results. Time starts to enter into this graphic, because it typically will have a set of steps involved in some way. But the focus of this element is what is most important, and how will the steps result in the desired outcomes.

For example, in many financial system projects, the discovery of the critical source data is described as an important step; the performance of the system and how that will be ensured is another element.

The When

The next element is a timeline, how long it will take for development of the system. There may be an overlap with the how, but there also may not; it might be a different perspective describing the project development independent from the how. This is an opportunity to communicate more about the system.

The Why

In some instances, the why of a project may be well understood. A patio addition may not need some description of a why. But in financial and business systems, often this might be described by a business case, expected benefits of doing the project, or quantifiable measures for the project results.

These elements of a project plan are important for effective management of a project.

This is Episode 198 of Conversations with Kip, the best financial system vlog there is. Literally learn more–about ledgers and financial systems–at

Watch all episodes in order at the Conversations with Kip Playlist

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