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We’re big fans of helping people get organized and stay organized in project management. It’s not just because we love templates (although we do), but also because a little organization and planning can really help project managers like you crush the projects you’re working on.
Good plans keep you on track, focused on the important details, and push working towards the goal of a successful project, however, that is designed. Included in these documents and plans that you’ve put together should be the ever-important project execution plan.
What is a project execution plan (PEP)?
A project execution plan (PEP) is a management plan document that contains the details for executing, monitoring, and controlling your projects. This document lets you define the objects, scope, KPIs, and resources needed to successfully complete the project, including to help mitigate any issues that come up along the way.
The PEP is basically a roadmap for your project that also includes directions, where to stop for gas, and who should be riding shotgun as you move through the project.
What is included in Coda's project execution plan template?
Our project execution plan template includes a space for all the information you’re going to need to capture to run a successful project. This template gives you a way to break out of trying to manage your entire project in Excel and helps you organize your information in a more user-friendly way.
If you’re seeing things that you don’t need for most of the projects that you’re running or if something seems to be missing, it’s okay. You can customize this template to suit the exact way that you work and add (or remove) spaces for the kinds of information that you typically need for your project execution strategy.
Project overview and project scope
Always start your PEP with a project overview (including the project name). You’re doing this because it helps your project team get a quick sense of what’s going to happen over the course of the project and, along with that, what the scope is going to look like. The PEP is kind of a living document, so these may change (and we have a and to help with that), so be ready to adapt this as necessary. But, for the most part, the general information here will remain constant.
Project objectives and KPIs
Once you’ve covered the overview, move on to project goals and what needs to happen for this project to be considered successful. Define KPIs, the metrics you’re using to measure them, and objectives as clearly as possible to help you and your team move towards those goals. If you need to, you can even attach specific project deliverables to each KPI to increase awareness around what needs to happen.
Project resource allocation
Make sure you define what resources you have available throughout the project. This includes what team members you’ll be working with, what tools you’ll have during the engagement, and anything else relevant. For example, if you’re bringing in subcontractors, like an outside design team to help with the project launch, include them and how they’re able to help during the project.
Communication plans are critical during projects. Not only is it important to make sure that everybody can reach people when they need to, but you’re also letting the team know how often to check-in, what the best method of communication is for each member of the team, and what expectations are around communication.
You should try to take this one step further and include a communication plan for project stakeholders as well. This information can usually be found in the , but the more visible it is, the better.
Project schedule, activities, and milestones
Always include a detailed schedule, a list of expected activities, and key project in your PEP. This helps keep everyone on your team on track (including yourself) by showing them where they should be in the project at any given time. And, it allows you to show your team what the important moments are (the milestones) and when they should be reached.
Budget and project costs
This may be lower on our list, but budgets aren’t a lower importance detail. Providing your team with a detailed helps you keep costs in check and helps you deliver the project without spending too much. Include cost estimates and cost management strategies here as well.
Make sure you clearly define who’s doing what in your PEP (for this step, we recommend using our that will help you to clearly outline each team member’s responsibility). This keeps people in their own lane and focused on the tasks they do best. And it eliminates confusion when there are people with the same skills or related skills on your project. It lets them know which aspect of the project they’re supposed to focus on.
👉 Get started with this project execution plan template.
How to create a project execution plan in Coda
Step 1: Input high-level data about project
On the page, you’ll see all the pertinent sections to fill out for your project execution plan template. The first things you should fill out include the project summary, scope, and other high-level information about the project. As you scroll down through the page, you’ll see some default values in the dropdowns (like in the table). All of these defaults are defined in the . You can completely delete these default values and customize them for your own project and team.
Step 2: Add tasks and milestones to the work breakdown structure
You will add all the important activities, tasks, and costs for your project under the “Work Breakdown Structure” heading on the page. Unlike Excel, the table has multiple column types to make tracking and monitoring your project easier to do. A slider column lets you and your teammates quickly show the completion % of a task. You’ll notice the table is right below the table. That’s because all the default values in the Milestone column in the table are defined in the table. Customize these milestones to fit the needs of your project.
Step 3: View overall project status
The gives you a different view of your project. This page is kind of like a dashboard for your project. See the average completion percentage for your milestones as well as your tasks. These charts dynamically change based on what you’ve entered in the and tables, respectively. There are many more charts you could add to visualize your project status. These two charts are simply examples of what you can do in this project execution plan template.
Project execution plan template FAQs
What is an execution plan in project management?
An execution plan is a document that defines how your project is going to be run. It includes details about project roles and responsibilities, what the major milestones are, and notes around objectives and KPIs.
The goal is to provide all your project team members with all the important information about what the project lifecycle is going to look like.
What are examples of project execution plans?
It’s always hard to find good examples of project documents, but we’ve managed to dig up good examples. You’ll notice how both examples start with a table of contents to help you find specific pieces of information. The US department of energy has some solid examples . And, there is another good example , as well.
What is the difference between a project execution plan and a project charter?
The difference between a project execution plan and a project charter is mostly that the project charter is a shorter document that contains high-level information about the project. The includes some similar information around details like objectives, scope of work, and team, but it’s not nearly as in-depth as the execution plan.
Along with length, the PEP also dives into what the execution will look like. As an example, the project charter might mention the milestones, but the PEP will tell you when it should happen, how your team will get there, the work breakdown structure (WBS), who’s responsible for making it happen, and what is supposed to happen next.
What are some of the steps in writing a project execution plan?
As you saw in the examples, project execution plans can be pretty daunting documents. They contain a lot of information to help make the project successful. As daunting as it is, though, you can break down the creation process pretty nicely.
Gather information. The first thing you’ll need to do is gather up all the information you need to include in your PEP. You’re probably going to have a lot of it already organized into templates, which is great. You can mine those for the information you need. Your template should walk you through the exact pieces of info you need for each step. Arrange information. Once you’ve gathered everything you need, organize it into a logical flow for the project. If you’re not new to running projects, you’ll likely already have a good sense of logical order for everything. However, if you are new, look at past projects. They’ll give you a good idea of how things should be organized. Input information. Now that you’ve got everything figured out, drop it into your template. Review. Revisit the document at least once during the course of the project to check on how well everything is flowing. And, make sure that you review the document at the end and compare how it went to how it was planned out. You’ll probably find there are areas where you needed more information, areas where you needed less, and points where you didn’t plan things properly and there was some room for improvement.
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