Elements of a Project Plan

To get started on your project plan, begin by developing high-level details about your project, setting goals, drafting timelines, and building your project team. The following elements may be useful to consider when drafting your project plan.

Project Overview

The project overview outlines the purpose, objects, and scope of the project. The purpose of the overview is to:

  • provide an understanding of the project, the reason it is being conducted and its justification
  • to establish early on in the project the general scope
  • establish the project manager and her authority level


The objectives of the project and how they will be measured to indicate they have been achieved. A way to outline the project objectives is to follow the SMART protocol:

  • Specific – Be detailed
  • Measurable – Use language that identifies measurement to support understanding when you have achieved the objectives of the project
  • Acceptable – Meets the needs and interests of the stakeholders
  • Realistic – Identifies and addresses constraints
  • Time-based – Identify deadlines for outcomes


The scope of the project should outline the specific activities required to complete the project and what is not included in the project that could potentially derail the project in the future. Refer back to the Determining the Project Scope.


Identify parts of the project that will require a budget as well as in-kind support that may be available to you. The next section, Developing a Budget, will provide more detail.

Risks and Constraints

Identify any risks and constraints that may impact the project, including potential contingency plans, should an issue arise.


Include the high-level goals that this project is aiming to support. These may come from existing documents, such as the grant proposal or the contract.


Project deliverables are the tangible outcomes of your project. The deliverables can be large or small. It is important to outline the deliverable with a short description to keep track of the elements needed to deliver the overall project.


Describe the primary and secondary audiences for the project. Primary audiences will include faculty and students integrating the text into their course. Secondary audiences could include, additional post-secondary institutions, communities, government, and entire sectors that are maybe contributing to and benefiting from the project deliverables.


A list of significant events and developments in the project that support your path to meet the deliverables.

Measurements of Success

Identify what constitutes success, and how you will measure it. Consider things like students impacted, cost savings, diversity of perspectives (geographic, cultural, social, etc.), completed peer review process, number of adoptions outside of your specific uses, etc. These don’t have to be comprehensive but they can help to clarify what success means to your project, beyond just writing a text. For more details about impacts, review Post Release.


Identify the open copyright license (e.g. CC BY) your book will carry. You may want to link to external resources where readers can go for more information on the CC BY license, such as the Creative Commons website.

Project Plan Form and Downloadable Template

Use the following form to develop a downloadable project plan.  Select the following link you would prefer a blank downloadable template: Project Plan Template [ODT]





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UBC Open Text Publishing Guide Copyright © 2022 by Erin Fields; Amanda Grey; Donna Langille; and Clair Swanson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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