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How to Develop Project Management Templates

May 10 2010

A project management template simplifies the documentation of projects.  Developing a template specific to the project saves time, so if a project manager writes many plans, a custom template is a must.

When developing the project management template, and also useful when using the template to capture the plan, there is an acronym that can make the planning process quick and easy.

SMEAC: Situation, Mission, Execution, Administration and Logistics, and Controls.  SMEAC project management templates are also available.

Situation: The Situation is the reason the plan is coming into existence in the first place. When describing the situation give all the information you have. Tell your subordinates why they are going to work on this plan. Tell your superiors who might review/approve this plan how it will benefit the organization.

Mission: The mission is a concise statement of intended accomplishments. It will state the conditions that will enhance or take away from mission accomplishment. Finally it will provide a clear basis evaluating the completion.

Execution: The Execution stage assigns specific tasks that will focus on the accomplishment of the mission. This is especially helpful if different members of different teams are working together.

Administration & Logistics: Are there outside agencies involved?  If so, who has responsibility for coordinating assistance? Do you require permits from the city or state to proceed beyond a certain point? Who or how will the catered meal be delivered by? These are all aspects of Administrative or Logistical details that must be addressed. The task itself may not accomplish the mission but it is a key element to making the mission successful by providing support for the person doing the job.

Controls: Who is in charge of this project? What is the chain of command? Are there different leaders for different elements of the plan? What are the benchmarks? When are reports due in? Who are the reports due to? Depending on the complexity of the plan you may be required to establish stopping points to measure progress. Be ready for that, think ahead, and list it here.

Using the acronym to help create a custom project management template allows the manager (or project owner) to clearly present the goals and hurdles of the project.  While less complex than a business case, the project management template is just as important to the success of the project.

Also useful are project management checklist templates.  Just like the project template, ready-made list forms are available, and the project manager that uses checklists often will be able to make customized forms.

  • Begin by creating sections; this will help outline the tasks necessary for the project.
  • Pre-project steps section details what must be done before the project can begin.
  • Define the full scope of the project in detail.
  • Set up task checklists for each member of the project team.
  • Break down tasks into sections with related tasks, where each section of related tasks have their own checklists.
  • Set up a checklist to gauge progress.
  • List for project delivery and completion.

Creating project management templates and checklists saves time in the long run and ensures a quality result.