Project Planning: What Is Planning in Project Management?

If you’re thinking about starting a project, planning is the first step. Whether you’re in charge of an office move or launching a new product line, you’ll need to know how much time and money it will take before you get started. Project management planning involves more than just drawing up spreadsheets and collecting data: it also involves creating plans that are realistic, as well as managing a team of people who understand what needs doing. 

This comprehensive guide explains everything you need to know about project planning management: from scope definition through to budgeting and scheduling tasks across team members’ timelines – all with project management plan examples so that by the end of this post you’ll be ready to start your own projects confidently!

What Is Planning in Project Management?

Planning is an essential part of every project, and it’s one of the first steps in project management. In fact, planning is a continuous process that takes place throughout the life of a project.

The activities involved in planning are outlined below:

  • Define objectives and scope – A project management plan defines what you want to do with your project from start to finish. This includes defining what the objective is for your project and how much time it will take (the scope) as well as determining which resources are available for use on this task or series of tasks. You should also define any deadlines or project milestones that need to be met during this phase so everyone involved can be prepared when they arise.
  • Create your project risk assessment – At any point during your planning phase, there may be risks associated with starting or continuing work on this task or series of tasks; these could be environmental factors like bad weather conditions or human factors like employees having difficulty working together well enough to complete their duties within time constraints

The purpose of the Project Management Plan

What is the project management plan? A project management plan is a document that helps you plan and manage your projects. It describes the project in detail, including its scope, schedule, resources, costs, and other key elements. You create it before you begin work on your project so that everyone involved knows exactly what needs to be done and how long it will take them to do it. Using a project time management tool can really help you plan and organize your team.

A good project plan will:

  • Describe in detail what needs to happen to achieve each goal.
  • Determine who will participate in each phase of your project
  • Specify what resources are needed for the phases of project management
  • Establish checkpoints where progress can be measured against expectations so adjustments can be made if necessary 

Here is a project management plan template:

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The importance of Project Management Planning

Project planning is one of the most important aspects of managing a project. Without it, you would be at risk for failing to meet deadlines and goals, or even worse: wasting time and money on projects that don’t deliver results.

Project planning allows you to break down large tasks into smaller ones and prioritise them accordingly. It also helps you estimate how long each step will take so that you can better plan for future changes in scope or timeline. The result: better decision making!

Project managers are responsible for creating clear guidelines that define what needs to be done and how so everyone on the team knows exactly what’s expected from them throughout the project lifecycle.

Gives your project a baseline to work with

The project plan is essentially an outline of what you need to do, who will be responsible for each task, and at what time. It’s a blueprint that provides you with a baseline from which to work. Your team can use it as a guide while they complete their tasks.

Your project plan will include:

  • Tasks and subtasks
  • Resources needed (personnel and equipment)

Creates project alignment (and removes confusion)

Project alignment is the process of ensuring that all project stakeholders are aligned on their expectations and goals for a given project. It’s important because it helps to eliminate confusion among stakeholders, which can lead to delays, wasted time and effort, or even an unsuccessful project.

Project alignment can be achieved by communicating with each stakeholder individually or in small groups about the details of their involvement in the project. The key here is to ask questions like “what do you expect from this project?” and “what would make this situation easier for you?” Using these questions as a guide will help ensure that everyone understands what role they play in achieving success on your team’s projects.

Fully outlines the scope of the project

Scope is essential to project planning, as it includes everything that needs to be done to complete your project. The scope of a project should include:

  • What is being done or will be done during the project
  • What is not being done
  • Everything that falls into these two categories—everything from initial research to final implementation, from concept development through dissemination.

Allows for better resourced project management

Planning is necessary for effective project management, as it allows you to allocate resources in a way that makes sense.

  • Provides a clear timeline and budget, our sister product farmerswife can help you create budgets
  • Allows for better planning of resources, avoiding overcommitting of staff or vendors
  • Allows for more accurate forecasting of resource requirements

Builds confidence in your project

A project plan helps you to manage risk, communicate with your stakeholders, identify, and manage change, control costs and meet deadlines. This is a great reason to build up your team’s confidence in their work and abilities.

When you have an agreed-upon plan that everyone knows and understands, things will go more smoothly as you move forward with the project. The plan provides something to refer back to when things get confusing or stressful, it gives people something concrete they can use for guidance through the process of completing their tasks.

What does project planning entail?

Project planning is the process of laying out a plan for a project. It’s often treated as a separate activity from other parts of project management, but it’s important to note that it involves many different people and activities.

Project managers need to be able to communicate their plans clearly and effectively, so that everyone involved can understand exactly what their roles are, what they need to do, and when these things will happen.

Project planning and management

Project planning is the process of creating a plan for a project. This plan documents all of the steps needed to complete the project, and it can be used as an effective tool for ensuring that your team is on track with their work.

Whereas project management is the process of implementing this plan and making sure that each step happens in an efficient manner.


The Initiation phase is that time in the project lifecycle when the project idea is defined, evaluated, and then authorized. 

This Initiation process guides the project team as they determine and articulate those key aspects of a proposed project that will help in the decision process.

Stakeholder involvement

Stakeholder involvement is essential in project planning. Stakeholders can be internal or external to the organization:

  • External stakeholders are those who are not employed by the organization but have an interest in its operations.
  • Internal stakeholders are employees of the organization. For example, people working on a project may be involved as individuals or as representatives of their department or team.

Prioritizing goals

 The first step of goal setting is defining the goals and objectives. Consider your project, as well as its time frame and resources. You can then break down the objective into smaller sub-tasks or tasks that need to be completed to achieve the main objective.

You should prioritize your goals based on what is most important or urgent. Prioritization will help ensure that bosses are happy with the progress being made by their employees; this also helps keep team members motivated about their projects by showing them how much work they have done so far towards achieving their set goals/objectives.

Using a tool like Cirkus can really help with deying your golas s it’s able to break down your projects into tasks and sub-tasks easily!

Identifying deliverables

 Once you’ve identified your project, you can then identify the deliverables. A deliverable is a specific product produced by a project. 

To help determine what needs to be done on the project and when it should happen, create a list of what need to be done and when they are due using milestones and deadlines as guideposts along the way. In this phase of planning, focus on getting started with high-level tasks such as identifying stakeholders or mapping out milestones for more precise planning later in this process.


The schedule is the backbone of your project plan. It is the primary tool for managing and controlling your project. It is the most important document in your project plan, as it summarizes all major milestones of a project and their durations into one easy-to-understand document that can be used by everyone on the team.

The schedule is also an integral part of communicating what you intend to do and when. If you don’t provide sufficient detail about when certain tasks will be completed, it’s hard for others to know what they’re supposed to be doing at any given point in time.

Developing a project plan

 Project planning is a critical part of project management. A good project plan will help you to manage your projects effectively, and it’s one of the most important tools at your disposal in this regard.

A good project plan helps you to make decisions on the fly, so that when unexpected things happen, you have an idea of where to go next. It also helps you stay on track throughout the course of your project, which is important for keeping confidence up among team members and stakeholders alike.

Bake in contingency plans

You should also include contingency plans in your project plan. These are important because they help you to deal with unexpected issues, which can lead to delays and other problems.

  • Contingency plans will help you avoid possible delays, so they’re an important aspect of your project plan.
  • Keeping your contingency budget separate from the rest of the project budget ensures that it’s available when you need it most—when there’s a delay or another problem in the works.



In conclusion, it’s important to remember that project planning isn’t just a step in the process. It is one of the most important steps because it provides a framework for all other work to follow and ensures that you have thought through every aspect of your project before beginning on any specific tasks. Using a tool like Cirkus will make your project planning much easier and more effective than ever before!

By Carla Molina Whyte

January 26, 2023


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