How To Create a Work Plan Template in 4 Steps (With Example)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated May 26, 2022 | Published December 12, 2019
Updated May 26, 2022
Published December 12, 2019
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
If you are preparing to launch a new product or coordinate a long-term project, a work plan can help you organize the details into one document. Creating a written work plan encourages you to think through what you want to achieve and break the project into smaller tasks.
In this article, we cover the three most common types of work plans and the simple steps you can take to create an effective work plan for your upcoming project.
What is a work plan?
A work plan is a written document designed to streamline a project. The purpose is to create a visual reference for the goal, objectives, tasks and team members who are responsible for each area. Every member of your team should be updated based on progress and current status.
If you have a complex project, you can create your own custom work plan. When you are clear about your strategy and what you need to be successful, a work plan template can save time, as you will plug in tasks, team members, objectives and timelines.
A work plan includes:
Setting goals and objectives
Establishing team responsibilities
Setting project timelines
Establishing a budget
Thoughtfully working through these details before beginning a large project can identify team member responsibilities, reduce the chances you will go over your budget, and increase the likelihood of achieving your goal within the allotted time period.
Types of work plans
There are several work plans you can create depending on who will be using the document. The purpose and type of project can impact the specific details that should be included. The most common types of work plans are:
Employee work plan
Individuals and small groups commonly use this type of document as a tool to develop and execute an effective plan with guidelines and action steps to complete a project. This plan could include:
The goal of the project
A projected budget
Materials and expenses required for the project
An estimated timeline for completion
For example, a marketing team may create a work plan for a new advertising campaign. Their goals may include increasing sales by 25% and web traffic by 15%. They may also list the roles of each team member, such as writing the ad copy, contacting distribution partners and assigning due dates for each.
Manager work plan
Similar to the employee work plan, this document has a larger project scope and may include:
Benefits the project would have to the business
Detailed lists of costs and the budget associated with the project
Statistics that show how the business will increase because of the project
For example, the manager in a marketing department may create a quarterly strategic plan. The goals could include increasing online sales by 20%, listing objectives like launching an online advertising campaign and hiring an SEO strategist to increase online visibility. It may include a detailed budget, statistics and information on monthly growth.
Business owner work plan
Similar to a lean business plan that an entrepreneur might use, the business owner work plan might focus on annual goals or a new product proposal. These types of work plans would also include market research and long-term projections.
For example, an e-commerce company owner could create a work plan that includes annual goals like increasing net profits by 25%, with specific objectives for how to accomplish that. However, it could also include market research about current market trends and a plan to explore new opportunities for generating revenue.
How to create a work plan
Here are steps to create a work plan:
1. Set goals and objectives
The first step to creating a work plan is to set clear goals and objectives. Your goals should focus on the big picture, and the objectives should be specific and tangible. For example, if you are launching a new product, the goal may be to drive 50,000 people to the website in the next 12 months. An objective for that goal could be to launch a new social media campaign.
2. Establish team responsibilities
Once you have identified the objectives, assign team members to drive those initiatives. If you designate a team to accomplish individual objectives, assign a leader to keep the team on track. If the project is large and complex with many teams, assign hierarchy levels. Here, a project manager could oversee multiple team leaders, meeting with only those individuals and focusing on the overall progress to keep a project running according to schedule.
3. Set project timelines
Timelines are essential for keeping team members on task and expenses down. If you have a set amount of time to achieve your goal, you could change strategy more quickly if you see an opportunity to use a more effective approach.
Consider using the guidelines for SMART goals to create your work plan. SMART stands for:
Specific: Your goals, objectives and action steps should be clear and specific.
Measurable: It should be easily apparent when your goal has been accomplished.
Attainable: Your goals and objectives should be something your team can realistically accomplish within the designated time frame.
Relevant: The goal, objectives and tasks should be aligned with your values and long-term goals.
Time-based: Your plan should have a realistic end date that allows you to prioritize your time.
4. Establish a budget
Budgeting must happen at the end of this process, as part of the plan may include getting quotes from third-party vendors. The budget should break down the costs and assign different tasks to the individual teams. Each time a team reaches a new milestone or accomplishes an objective, you will be able to review your expenses and determine if the team is on budget. If a team or a task isn't within the budget, you might reallocate resources from other areas or determine if financial resources can increase. A detailed work plan will allow you to easily see where more funds are needed and where problems in spending may lie.
Related: How To Engage Project Stakeholders
Work plan template
Below is a work plan template you can use and adjust accordingly to organize your next project. Click here to download this simple project plan template.
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