You have, by now, garnered the list of project segments—tasks, activities, and phases—along with their associated durations, the people that will be working on them, and the costs for each. These elements make up the basics of your project plan.
Without formal project management software such as Microsoft Project, you could simply utilize a spreadsheet or word processor document for your project planning needs. Formal PM software bundles up the project plan elements nicely and provides many added features that allow you to track your cost and time estimates, generate charts relevant to your project, and, in some cases, even provide for peer-to-peer virtual project management sessions.
Any project plan includes the following characteristics:
Deliverables More accurately, include the tasks, activities, and phases that go into making the deliverables.
Time Known more generically as the duration, this is the amount of time that each project segment will take.
Cost The cost, in terms of person-hours and resources, that each segment is going to require.
When assembling your project plan elements, you©ll also mark the milestones and take note of the hammocks. Remember that a milestone is basically a task with a duration of zero and that points to a significant event in the life of a project. A hammock is a task that has a long duration; I think the term is interesting, but it's not always one you'll make use of in IT projects.
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