Development Cooperation Handbook/Templates/The project Plan Document

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Templates - Development Cooperation Handbook Steps and Tools

The project Plan Document is the output of the Detailed Planning phase of Project Design The Project Plan Document is the deliverable that terminates the planning phase of the project life cycle.

A comprehensive project plan is a key document that binds you, your project team, the project sponsor, and the beneficiary. It is an agreement that defines the work of the project and the beneficiary's project/programme purpose objectives. A comprehensive plan can help you identify changes in scope after the project has started and help you plan for any modifications or adjustments that might be needed during the life cycle of the project.

See also Guidelines: how to prepare a detailed project plan document

Project justification

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  • Describe the overall and specific objectives to which the action aims to contribute towards and the specific objective that the action aims to achieve. (tip: they should correspond to a specific objective of the programme to which this project intends to be a component)
  • Describe the specific objectives of the project (indicate how the expected outcomes of the project are indicators of a contribution to the achievement of the specific objectives)
  • Provide a general and detailed presentation and analysis of the problems and the opportunities and why the achievement of the project objectives will contribute to the solution of these problems.
  • Provide a detailed description of the beneficiaries and target groups (social category, age group, gender, etc.) and estimated number.
  • Demonstrate the relevance of the choice of the target group(s) in view the role they will play in relation to the problem(s) addressed.

Previous experience of similar actions

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  • Describe the experience of project management of the organization that has prepared this project and of its partners.
  • Describe the technical expertise (notably knowledge of the issues to be addressed) of the organization that has prepared this project and of its partners.
  • Describe the management capacity (including staff, equipment and ability to handle the budget for the action) of the organization that has prepared this project and of its partners.
  • Describe how stable and sufficient are the sources of finance has the Organization that will lead the implementation of this project and of its partners.

Description of the action and its effectiveness

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Provide a description of the proposed action including background information that led to the formulation of the action. This should include:

  • List of direct project results : deliverables and other direct outputs. (Do not mention here outcomes and other changes not explicitly and directly resulting by the project team activities) . Be specific and quantify outputs as much as possible. Indicate notably foreseen publications and the materials that will be produced.
  • The proposed activities and their effectiveness (max 9 pages). Identify and describe in detail each activity to be undertaken to produce the results, justifying the choice of the activities and specifying where applicable the role of each partner (or associates or subcontractors) in the activities. In this respect, the detailed description of activities must not repeat the action plan.
  • Provide a detailed risk analysis and eventual contingency plans. This should include at minimum a list of risks associated for each activity proposed accompanied by relevant mitigation measures.
  • Describe the main preconditions and assumptions during and after the implementation phase.


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Describe in detail:

  • methods of implementation and reasons for the proposed methodology;
  • where the project is the prolongation of a previous action or project, how the action is intended to build on the results of this previous action and in what way it is innovative. Explain the main conclusions and recommendations of any evaluations that have been carried out;
  • where the action is part of a larger programme, explain how it fits or is coordinated with this programme or any other eventual planned project. Specify the potential synergies with other initiatives and programmes;
  • the procedures for follow up and internal/external evaluation;
  • the role and participation in the action of the various actors and stakeholders (partners, target groups, local authorities, etc.), and the reasons for which these roles have been assigned to them;
  • the attitudes of all stakeholders towards the project in general and the activities in particular;
  • the organisational structure and team proposed for implementation of the action and for carrying out the proposed activities. Specify to whom the equipment, material and supplies acquired for this action will belong to at the end of the action;

See PROJECT Management PLAN

Consider also

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A good methodology would include sub-sections regarding:

Duration and indicative action plan for implementing the action The duration of the action will be ... months.

Sustainability Explain how sustainability will be secured after completion of the action. This may include aspects of necessary follow-up activities, built-in strategies, ownership etc., if any. In so doing, make a distinction between the following 3 dimensions of sustainability:

  • Financial sustainability (how the financing of follow up activities is ensured, to what extend future costs are covered by expected revenues, etc.);
  • Institutional level (Which structures would allow, and how, the results of the action to continue be in place after the end of the action? Will the results of the action be appropriated by the target groups? What factors will ensure that the impact is sustainable?);
  • Policy level (What structural impact will the action have - e.g. will it lead to improved legislation, codes of conduct, methods or to better integrate developing issues in the formal and non-formal education systems, etc.).


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  • Logical framework
  • Costs Budget
  • Expected sources of funding


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