Friday, July 6, 2012

Beginners Guide To Project Management
Part 15, Case Study - The Project Plan

Napoleon's plan to invade Russia
Remember the case study presented on the Beginner's Guide to Project Management series? We'll be continuing that office move project and take care of the planning now. The project you are in charge of consists of relocating your current office and you have no experience in that matter. Nevertheless, you got the responsibility to make it happen. We'll walk you around on how to put the Project Plan together in this article.

Previously on the Beginners Guide to Project Management:


Before we start...

... I have to remind you that there's a difference between a Project Plan and a Project Management Plan. A Project Plan should give you all the details about what's to be done within this project and what are you supposed to deliver. But a Project Management Plan should indicate how the project is to be managed: how will you respond to risks? how will you deal with change requests to the scope? how is the decision process? In short, the Project Plan deals with the "what" while the Project Management Plan deals with the "how".

In this example we'll go mainly over the Project Plan. In practice, with projects not as simple as this one, you would probably build both the Project Plan and the Project Management Plan.
The main piece of advice I can give you is this: don't lose sight of the purpose of a Project Plan/Project Management Plan. Don't include stuff there for the purpose of increasing the volume of the document. If you take a close look at the picture included at the beginning of this article you'll find out that that picture is *almost* a Project Plan of Russia's invasion by Napoleon. It's amazing how much information is included in a single simple picture! And that's the most important, all the rest serves the purpose of detailing a bit more and documenting for future use.
And now for the Project Plan to relocate an office. The Project Plan document could be as follows:


Relocate the office so it can accommodate 150 people.


The objectives of this project are:
  • To relocate this office to a new location in a premium area of the same city,
  • To increase to 150 the number of people that can work there,
  • Keep all current conditions regarding parking, meeting rooms and open spaces, and
  • Keep the same operational costs of running the office,
  • And all must be done by the end of this year.
This meets both the company’s need of more office area and a better image of the company in the market.


The deliverables are:
  • The rental contract for the new office,
  • New contracts for electricity, voice and data communications
  • The actual physical moving of furniture, hardware, personal belongings, and people,
  • The change on landlines contract, office supplies, and security,
  • The cancellation of all previous rental, electricity, voice and data communications contracts
  • Updated stationary, and
  • The actual move.



Due to the lack of experience of this kind of projects (the last one done 5 years ago), the budget is set based upon the last relocation of the office 5 years ago, plus inflation, at 12.800€. This budget does not include the contract with the new landlord nor the costs related to the time required by some of the employees to the assigned to the project. The detailed budget we can present at this time is as follows:

Project Team

Project Sponsor: Mr. Burns
Project Manager: Homer Simpson
Project Assistant: Marge Simpson
Other members of the organization will be needed occasionally and both the Project Manager and the Project Assistant are to assume all the work that they can do.


  1. We are clearly assuming that there weren't significant changes in the rental  market in the past 5 years.
  2. We are assuming that there's enough offer of office spaces that match our needs.
  3. We are assuming that the new office needs no improvements at all


  1. We will work with people from the office alone.


There will be a Project Status Report meeting with the Project Sponsor every Friday at 4:00 PM.
The Project Status Report to support this meeting will be sent by email at 12:00 PM the latest, using the template for this purpose.


The detailed planned schedule is as follows (only part of it is displayed, but you should show every single planned task to the level that you will manage and report on status meeting but no more detail than this):


Selection criteria both to the new office and the mover will be developed by the project team and approved by the sponsor, as documented in the Schedule above.
There is no need for any other procurement.


Quality will be measured in terms of the main stakeholder's satisfaction, namely the sponsor's satisfaction. There will be an online survey to fulfill this purpose. This survey will be based on the surveys usually done on the company for this purpose.


The Project Manager is responsible to keep an updated log of a risk register where all identified risks are to be tracked.


This covered the main topics you should include in a Project Plan. Remember that you should probably include more information about how you will manage the project thus creating a Project Management Plan. In this Case Study, the Risk and Quality topics in the plan both give some indication as to the how, but you can't really say this is a Project Management Plan.
This example is to show mainly 2 things:

  • You can approach a Project Plan in many ways, being this one just a way you could go about it. But I'm sure that you'd do it in a different way - not necessarily better or worse, just different.
  • Some things included in this plan I find common in small projects and so I included them because they can be useful to you (an example is having the Project Manager to do some of the project work). Just as a footnote, it even happens to have the same person as the Project Manager and the Project Sponsor - which is much, much worse than having the Project Manager doing some of the project work. This example just matches my reality and my context, it doesn't mean it's the right way to do it. This is not the *perfect* Project Plan!

But most of all, keep it simple. Don't include things for the sake of making a larger document. Keep in mind the picture of Russia's invasion by Napoleon - that can work perfectly as an ideal Project Plan for you.

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