The project plan is started during the project planning phase and completed during the project analysis phase of the systems development life cycle (SDLC).
The project plan is used to guide the project both from an execution aspect and a control aspect. The project plan should include roles and responsibilities, project phases, expected deliverables, project functionalities, and more. The project plan should include the following.
Project purpose - This should describe the problem that the project will solve or the benefit the project will provide to the organization.
Background - Describe any pertinant history that led to the current need for the project.
Objectives - Should describe what the project is expected to accomplish.
Deliverables - Should describe items to be delivered including reports, manuals, user guides, technical guides, test plans, test results, installation plans, maintenance plans, software, and hardware. This should provide more detail than the project charter and include deliverable titles, descriptions, and dates. Identify type and quality of documentation to be produced during the project life cycle along with when it should be produced.
Roles and responsibilities - Add more detail beyond what is in the project charter. Detail the development team, change control board members and the change control process and/or reference the change control policy.
Communication plan - Describe how project changes and direction will be communicated. Describe how progress or problems will be reported.
Tools - Describe tools to be used including problem tracking system to use, version control tool, mailing lists, project websites, build system such as coding tools, and automatic testing tools.
Scope - Describe the limits of the project.
Changes - The project plan shall be placed under version control. The project plan should be modified if changes to the project require it. Any changes to the project plan must be promptly communicated to the project team. Describe the point in the project at which additional features may no longer be added.
Reference standards for system controls, quality assurance, and project management
Quality Management Plan
Work Breakdown Structure - The project plan should reference the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). The WBS should outline the various tasks, the position of the team member required, and the approximate time it will take to complete the task.
Project Dependencies - List projects that depend upon this project and list projects that this project depends upon. List conflicts where various projects or tasks compete for the same resources.
The project plan can reference other documents to describe how the project will be controlled and executed.