Project planning is part of project management, which relates to the use of schedules such as Gantt charts to plan and subsequently report progress within the project environment.
Initially, the project scope is defined and the appropriate methods for completing the project are determined. Following this step, the durations for the various tasks necessary to complete the work are listed and grouped into a work breakdown structure.
The logical dependencies between tasks are defined using inactivity network diagram that enables identification of the critical path.
Float or slack time in the schedule can be calculated using project management software. Then the necessary resources can be estimated and costs for each activity can be allocated to each resource, giving the total project cost.
At this stage, the project schedule may be optimized to achieve the appropriate balance between resource usage and project duration to comply with the project objectives. Once established and agreed, the project schedule becomes what is known as the baseline schedule.
Progress will be measured against the baseline schedule throughout the life of the project.
Analyzing progress compared to the baseline schedule is known as earned value management.
The inputs of the project planning phase include the project charter and the concept proposal.
The outputs of the project planning phase include the project requirements, the project schedule, and the project management plan.

The Planning Phase defines the project by:
Gathering and finalizing the project requirements.
Identifying the project risks and ways to manage them.
Producing the detailed project schedule, the project management plan, and the project designs to guide the project.
Obtaining the authorization to proceed with the project.
Planning is of major importance to a project because the project involves doing something that has not been done before. If planning is done correctly and thoroughly, the rest of the project will be easier to manage.
The Project Schedule provides detailed task information in relation to the calendar, the relationship of the tasks, individual task costs, and the resources associated with the tasks. The Project Schedule will be used as a key project status document.
The approved project plan serves as a contract between the project manager, the client, and the project sponsor; defining the scope of the project and what is required, the anticipated benefits, the resources required, and the performance-based rewards and penalties. The purpose of the contract is to commit the project manager, the project team, and the project sponsor to the terms of the project plan. This includes understanding the potential risks and the actions that are necessary to manage them. By reading the Project Plan, a person should gain a good understanding of the project.
In order for the project team to produce the Project Design, they should analyze the business activities, needs, and data associated with the proposed solution, develop the solution in terms of the automated and manual procedures, develop proposed formats for input and output, and prepare the design to ensure a seamless transition to the new solution.

Inputs
  • Project Charter
  • Concept Proposal
  • Meeting Reports
  • Project Selection Criteria
  • Outputs
  • Project Requirements
  • Project Schedule
  • Risk Assessment and Management Plan
  • Project Management Plan
  • Issues/Action Item Matrix
  • Project Designs
  • Meeting Reports