What is a Project Execution Plan? Project Execution Plan In A Nutshell

A Project Execution Plan (PEP) details the strategy required for managing a project. It is sometimes referred to as a project management plan. Generally speaking, PEPs are drafted by the client’s project director or similarly skilled project manager. Each plan must have the appropriate systems in place and be supported by the right tools and resources. This increases project performance and helps mitigate risk in the process.

Understanding a Project Execution Plan

Some may equate a Project Execution Plan with a simple Gantt chart showing timescales. 

However, a PEP is a much more complex document that defines:

  • The roles and responsibilities of each project team member.
  • Policies, procedures, and priorities that will be adopted.
  • Strategies that are outside the scope of the main contract. For example, supply contracts or other operational, equipment, relocation, or maintenance costs.
  • Specific targets and the resources required to meet them. Targets usually revolve around project products, timescales, quality, benefits, and cost.
  • Governance, monitoring, or control criteria.

Creating a Project Execution Plan

Creating a Project Execution Plan is an exhaustive process that is beyond the scope of this article.

However, it should at the very least contain the following elements:

  1. Executive summary – containing a short description or summary of the contents of the plan.
  2. Project scope and deliverables – what are the boundaries of the project? What does the project hope to achieve in specific terms?
  3. Statement of goals – how will the project be segmented into smaller deliverables that are measurable? An actual goal statement should define the reasons for undertaking the project in addition to its purpose and expected benefits. There should also be mention of project-specific challenges and risks and how they might be overcome.
  4. Quality and technical specifications – what standards must be upheld to complete the project? Standards must be concise, measurable, attainable, and time-bound.
  5. Allocation of resources – how will resources be allocated to achieve stated goals and standards? Knowledge, experience, equipment, and time must all be considered.
  6. Project scheduling – or a general view of project tasks and their associated milestones. Gantt charts should be used to illustrate time-bound deliverables that must be agreed upon by all stakeholders. The Critical Path Method (CPM) is also effective for projects where the start of one deliverable depends on the completion of another. Lastly, scheduling should always incorporate risk tolerances for constraints such as standards, budgets, and deadlines.
  7. Organizational considerations – who are the key personnel responsible for managing the project? Who holds decision-making authority? How will progress be monitored, coordinated, or reported? Will there be a series of project teams or some other organizational structure?

Key takeaways:

  • A Project Execution Plan is a detailed document that defines the strategy for managing a project. For this reason, it is often referred to as a project management plan.
  • A Project Execution Plan must be drafted by a highly skilled project director or manager. When projects are supported by the appropriate tools and resources, they tend to mitigate risk and be delivered on time and budget.
  • A Project Execution Plan is a comprehensive document that must contain information on seven key elements: executive summary, project scope, statement of goals, quality and technical specifications, resource allocation, project scheduling, and organizational considerations.

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