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The Project Management Template – Guiding the Way to a Successful Project

May 2 2010

Using a project management template not only saves time, money, and effort; it also ensures that all aspects and phases of a project are included in the project plan.

A good template includes the following:

  • Defining Project Responsibilities
  • Stakeholder Analysis
  • Milestone Chart
  • Milestone Report
  • Variation Form
  • Risk Log
  • Business Case Form
  • Project Definition Form or PID
  • Project Reporting Form
  • Highlight Report
  • Change Control Form
  • Change Control Log
  • Actual Vs Planned
  • Project management check sheet

Defining project responsibilities identifies two aspects of project management: tasks and team members.

A Business Case is a documented, structured proposal for business improvement.  It is prepared to facilitate a selection decision for a proposed project.  The Business Case:

  • Illustrates reasons and justification in terms of business process performance, needs and-or problems, and expected benefits.
  • Identifies the high-level requirements that are to be satisfied
  • Provides analysis of proposed alternative solutions (with reasons for rejecting or carrying forward each option)
  • Includes assumptions and constraints
  • Details risk-adjusted cost-benefit analysis
  • And has a preliminary acquisition plan.

It may seem like a daunting task to create a business case, but it doesn’t have to be an issue when using business case templates.  One of the best ways to evaluate the viability of a business model or to demonstrate the potential of your proposed business solution is to write a business case.

Business case templates take the stress out of developing a business case and are available pre-formatted for many industries and for grant proposals/applications.  Whether using a paid template or a free one, they help a project manager produce a well-organized and compelling business case.

Just as projects vary, templates are not “one size fits all.”  It is up to the project manager to identify the right business case template for the individual project.  There are internal and external, corporate and not-for-profit business cases.

If providing business cases is a common occurrence it makes sense to develop a customized template.  A standard format for business case templates:

  • Title
  • Table of Contents
  • Executive or Project Summary
  • Mission Statement
  • Objectives
  • Needs Assessment
  • Technical Analysis
  • Project Work Plan
  • Financial Plan
  • Appendix

Typically, the Title, Table of Contents, Mission Statement, and Summary are added to the business case after the other sections are completed.  The information from the Objectives, Needs Assessment, Technical Analysis, Project Work Plan, and Financial Plan will help determine what goes into the other sections.

By developing a business case template, a project manager has full control over the layout and information, as well as the presentation of the case.

The Title, Table of Contents, and Mission Statement are one page each.  The Summary should not be longer than two pages; ideally, one page.

The other sections require detail and documentation, and so will generally be at least two pages each.

Using one or more business case templates can be of good use to the project manager, providing examples and guidance to ensure the manager’s final template is both easily to use and professional looking.

Developing business case templates means absolute control over the case document, with no need to modify or remove information that is not applicable to the project.

A customized business case template eliminates unneeded sections or text, making it easy for a project manager to utilize over and over again.