Construction Engineering: A Quick Guide With Definitions, Roles and More

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Construction is a field with a lot of disciplines. After all, it takes a lot of different craftsmen, engineers and more to assemble a building, bridge or any safe and integral structure. Every process is important to construction project management, especially construction engineering.

But what is construction engineering and is it the same as civil engineering? Spoiler alert: it’s not. We’ll explain what a construction engineer is and how it differs from a civil engineer. We’ll then explore the different roles related to construction engineering management.

What Is Construction Engineering?

Construction engineering is the process of overseeing and managing a large-scale and complex construction project. These types of construction projects tend to be large buildings and the infrastructure that supports them.

As construction project management is almost always a complex and collaborative effort, you’ll find construction engineers working with other types of engineering professionals. But construction engineers are often responsible for the design and safety of temporary structures that are used during construction, such as scaffolding. Construction engineers can work on electrical systems, mechanical systems and even building a new highway or tunnel, making sure they’re connected to new buildings correctly.

Construction engineering relates to the construction project as the construction engineer manages it and keeps the project on schedule. They have to make sure that the construction is proceeding according to the construction plan.

Such responsibilities require powerful project management tools to ensure schedules and safety standards are being met. ProjectManager is award-winning project management software that helps maintain construction schedules with robust Gantt charts. With our tool construction engineers can link all four task dependencies, filter for the critical path and set a baseline that allows them to track the planned schedule against the actual schedule in real time. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

ProjectManager's Gantt chartProjectManager's Gantt chart
ProjectManager’s Gantt charts help construction engineers stay on schedule. Learn more

Construction Engineering vs. Civil Engineering

As we alluded to, there’s a lot that construction engineers and civil engineers have in common. That makes the distinction between construction engineering and civil engineering subtle. But there’s a difference and it’s important that the line between the two is clear.

The main difference is that civil engineers are more involved in the design, planning and implementation of a construction project. For example, they’ll analyze the survey reports and maps to prepare the project documentation around the construction plan.

Civil engineering is also responsible for pulling the necessary permits that must be obtained in order to begin construction. They’re the ones on the construction site who collect and test soil samples to discern if the foundation is suitable. Civil engineers also manage the construction project’s budget, providing cost forecasts for all resources associated with the construction project, including labor and equipment. They meet with the public to discuss new proposals and their impact on the community.

As you can see, civil engineering is a varied profession. You’ll often find civil engineers specializing in one of the many responsibilities listed above. That might be structural, environmental or transportation engineering.

Construction engineering is more concerned with day-to-day construction site management. While construction engineers might participate in the processes that civil engineers lead, they focus on project execution.

As with civil engineers, some construction engineers are also involved in creating the construction budget. They assemble the equipment and materials needed for the execution of the construction plan. Because they’re involved in coordinating, organizing and managing day-to-day operations, ensuring compliance with the design and plans, they also build and manage the construction team and engineering professionals involved in the build.

Another aspect of construction engineering is overseeing the construction processes. They’ll report back to the stakeholders, use machinery on site and other tools such as computer software that helps ensure they’re conforming to design specifications. If the construction differs from the design, construction engineers work to modify the design.

Construction engineers are essentially responsible for everything that occurs on the construction site. In a sense, they do what a construction project manager would do on a smaller, less complex project.

Construction Engineering Roles

Construction engineering is made for big jobs. That means there’s often more than one person responsible for the work that falls under the umbrella of construction engineering. Let’s take a look at a handful of them.

Construction Engineer

We’ve already talked about construction engineers and we’ve drawn the line between them and civil engineers. The truth is that line is porous. Because so many of their duties overlap, you can find a construction engineer or a civil engineer in this position. It depends on the project, construction project manager and other factors. But, as noted, there’s a thin line separating the two professionals and often on a construction site, that line is crossed.

Construction Estimator

Before any work can be done, the construction estimator is needed. Without them, a construction project will cost too much. The construction estimator estimates the materials to determine how much the construction project will cost. That might sound straightforward, but it’s a time-consuming task that requires a great amount of skill. They need to understand construction design, such as in engineering or architecture, and require degrees in mathematics, preferably with a history in construction or manufacturing because they have to check the scope of work to ensure it’s accurate before they begin.

Field Engineer

Another aspect of construction engineering is being a field manager. These engineering professionals work on-site in construction but also in other fields, such as factories. They have varied responsibilities including inspecting and installing equipment and new technologies, directing crews on the construction site, researching the site and reporting on the status. If there are equipment malfunctions, they’re responsible for resolving them. They’re tasked with the management of the technical functions and infrastructure on site. Field engineers tend to focus on one technical aspect, whether that’s software, hardware or other types of systems maintenance.

Structural Engineer

A structural engineer is found in both construction engineering and civil engineering. Structural engineering revolves around the making of drawings and specifications, performing calculations, reviewing the work of other construction engineers, writing reports and observing the site. They have licensed professionals to do the numerical quantities of the physical forces and force-resisting elements you’d find on a construction site. The main difference between a civil engineer and a structural engineer is that the former designs and maintains structures while the latter analyzes, designs builds and maintains the structures and materials that reinforce loads.

Environmental Engineer

The environmental engineer is a construction engineer who seeks solutions to the environmental challenges that impact the construction project. They use the principles of engineering, soil science, biology and chemistry to determine how to solve environmental problems on the construction site or created by it. They design technologies and processes that control pollution and clean up contamination. They need a background in one or more of the following disciplines: civil engineering, environmental engineering, marine engine, mechanical engineering, chemical, engineering and process engineering.

Project Manager Helps With Construction Engineering Management

With such a vast array of responsibilities, construction engineering professionals need project management software that can help them work more effectively. ProjectManager is online project management software used by the construction industry to plan, manage and track work in real time. Our collaborative platform means whether you’re on-site on in the office, you’re always connected and can share files, comment on tasks and much more.

Manage Teams With Resource Management Tools

Planning, scheduling and costs related to a construction project are all just estimates until you execute the job. Our resource management features help construction engineers keep track of their teams and ensure productivity. When onboarding the team you add their availability to make it easier to know who can work and who is off or on holiday. Get visibility into what your team is working on with our color-coded workload chart. If you see someone is over-allocated, you can reallocate their tasks right from the chart to balance workload and keep team morale high and productivity up.

ProjectManager's workload chart with reassignment popupProjectManager's workload chart with reassignment popup
Track Work With Real-Time Dashboards

Being able to track resources is only part of managing a construction project’s day-to-day operations. The ability to toggle from your Gantt chart or whatever project view you prefer to our real-time dashboard gives you an instant high-level view of the progress and performance of the project. There’s even a portfolio dashboard if you’re managing more than one construction project. Both automatically capture project metrics such as time, cost, workload and more and display them in easy-to-read graphs and charts. Unlike lightweight alternatives, there’s no time-consuming configuration needed. It’s ready when you are.

ProjectManager's dashboardProjectManager's dashboard

Of course, those are only a few of the features of our software. There are task management tools, such as kanban boards and task lists, and risk management ones to help you identify, track and resolve issues that arise in the project. You can automate recurring tasks, search globally and so much more. It’s not easy being a construction engineer, but our software helps make your work more efficient.

ProjectManager is award-winning project management software that empowers teams to plan, manage and track their work in real time. Construction professionals use our tool to schedule work, manage teams and keep everyone working at capacity. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

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10 Free Change Management Templates for Excel and Word

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It’s a cliche to say nothing is constant but change, but cliches grow from truths. Project managers understand this and work hard to create change management plans that ensure their projects run smoothly. Project management software helps, too, but if you’re not ready to upgrade, we have some free change management templates that can help you manage change.

If you’re looking for other free project management templates, you’re in the right place. Our site is a hub for a variety of content related to the field, including weekly blogs, videos and, yes, free templates. There are downloadable templates for every phase in the project life cycle. We’ve cherrypicked the best change management templates and have listed them below.

1. Gap Analysis Template

By definition, change takes you from one point to another. It might not be something you want, but more often than not, it’s something the client wants. They deliver a change order and, once approved, it’ll be your job to figure out how to get from point A to point B. The free gap analysis template for Excel helps you analyze where you are and where you want to be.

ProjectManager's free gap analysis templateProjectManager's free gap analysis template

A gap analysis isn’t strictly for change management. It’s often used as a tool to help organizations meet long-term goals, stay innovative and generally improve their processes. But this project management chart can help you gather the information you’ll need to implement that change through a revised plan, including what resources you require and the timeline in which it must be completed

2. Project Plan Template

That makes for a nice segue into the next on our list of free change management templates. In a gap analysis, you build an action plan, but our free project plan template for Word fills in the missing pieces. Now you have a tool to help you scope your work and break it down into small pieces that’ll make it easier to execute and manage.

ProjectManager's free project plan templateProjectManager's free project plan template

Besides listing all the activities and tasks that implement your change, you can also note milestones, phases and the resource requirements you’ll need. There are also fields that capture the schedule, any task dependencies as well as assumptions and constraints. This costs money so there’s also a place to estimate the budget, add a risk log and lay out the change management process.

3. Project Timeline Template

Part of the plan, perhaps one of the most critical aspects, is the schedule. You can create a schedule on our free project timeline template for Excel. This is one of the free change management templates that go the extra mile. There’s a spreadsheet that lists your tasks, start dates, end dates and duration. As you add them, they populate a visual timeline to the right. You can color-code the phases and see the timeline for the change you’re implementing all on one page.

As powerful as that template might be, it pales in comparison to ProjectManager. Our robust Gantt charts are more than a spreadsheet and timeline, you can link all four types of dependencies to avoid delays and then set a baseline to capture the cost, resources and schedule of your plan. Our software then automatically reports on the planned effort versus the actual effort in real time. Now you can see if you’re on schedule and, if not, reallocate resources quickly to get back on track. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

ProjectManager's Gantt chartProjectManager's Gantt chart
ProjectManager’s Gantt chart does much more than a timeline template can do. Learn more.

4. Change Request Form

Change can come out of the blue. There could be a weather-related issue or equipment problem. But more often than not, that change is being requested, usually by a client after you’ve already started executing the project. In order to ensure that the change doesn’t cause delays, make sure it’s delivered with our free change request form template for Word.

ProjectManager's free change request form templateProjectManager's free change request form template

You can use this free change management template to collect every aspect of the change on one page. Write a brief description, impact on the project and whatever other information decision-makers will need. Remember, this is a change request. That means all parties have to agree on it, which makes the change manageable without derailing the larger project.

5. Change Log Template

A key part of any change management plan is a change log. It’s how you control change in your project. Our free change log template for Excel gives project managers greater visibility. It’s identified and team members have been assigned to respond to it. Therefore, they have accountability and you can track the effort.

ProjectManager's free change log template ProjectManager's free change log template

Once you download the free spreadsheet, you can number the change to make it easy to know which change you’re tracking. There’s space to note when the change was first identified, who on the team has been assigned to respond to it and what the priority is. You can note the status, too, in order to better track its life cycle.

6. Stakeholder Analysis Template

Whether changes come from stakeholders or not, they have a vested interest in the project. Project managers must keep them updated on the progress of the project and that includes any changes that occur. Our free stakeholder analysis template for Excel is a great tool to identify and manage your project stakeholders.

ProjectManager's free stakeholders analysis templateProjectManager's free stakeholders analysis template

You’ll find fields to define stakeholders, including adding basic information about them, such as their title, email and influence of power on the project, whether it’s high, medium or low. Next, you can note each stakeholder’s relationship to the project as well as note their priority, subject matter expertise (SME) and relevant skills. Finally, there’s a space to outline how to communicate with each, including frequency.

7. Communication Plan Template

Speaking of communication, that might be one of the most important aspects of change management. The worst thing about change when it comes to your project is not acknowledging it. There must be transparency and for that to happen you need to use our free communication plan template for Word.

ProjectManager's free communication plan templateProjectManager's free communication plan template

This template goes through everything, such as the background of the project—its vision and objectives, goals and timeframe and communication staff and tools to review the effectiveness, communication plan and record outcome. There’s also a place to explore situation analysis, lessons learned guidelines, messaging, delivery channels, schedule and, of course, stakeholders.

8. Cost-Benefit Analysis Template

Not all changes are a priority. That’s why you have to note the priority in order to know how to respond. One way to do that is with our free cost-benefit analysis template for Excel. It’s one of the change management templates you’ll find yourself reaching for more often than not. It can help you decide if the change is worth the investment.

ProjectManager's free cost-benefits analysis templateProjectManager's free cost-benefits analysis template

Some changes aren’t debatable. If there’s a quality issue, it must be addressed. However, not all changes are the same and certainly, not all are created equally. With the free template, you can look at quantitative costs against quantitative benefits to calculate if the money you put in is worth the benefits you get out of the change.

9. Project Budget Template

Changes cost money. In order to ensure those costs are in line with your budget or you can offset them in terms of the schedule or scope of the project, you can use our free project budget template for Excel.

ProjectManager's free project budget templateProjectManager's free project budget template

A budget helps you estimate all the tasks that make up your project. That includes all the resources you’re going to need, too. Yes, this is for the entire project, but it can be applied to just the change or you can add some wiggle room in the budget to help you pay for whatever changes are deemed necessary.

10. Change Order Form Template

Construction project managers are all too familiar with change. They deal with complex projects and change management is essential to keep them on track. That’s why they always use a change order form, and you can too by downloading this free change order form template for Word.

ProjectManager's free change order form templateProjectManager's free change order form template

The change order form has a place to write why the change is being requested, the opportunity it provides to the project and a description of that change. You can add the cost involved in implementing the change and the estimated duration. There’s a total cost and signature line to ensure that everyone has agreed on the price, change and timeframe.

ProjectManager Helps With Change Management

Some of the free change management templates listed above are helpful, but some might be frustrating as they have to be manually imputed. Older versions can be floating around that can cause costly mix-ups. ProjectManager is award-winning project management software that has the feature you need to plan, manage and track your change management plan in real time.

Work on Multiple Project Views

Project managers will create the change management plan on a Gantt chart, but teams use different tools to implement those changes. That’s why we have multiple project views that are all updated in real time together so everyone is always working on the most current information. Whether teams use kanban boards to visualize their workflow or a robust task list to track their work, our tool gives you the freedom to serve cross-functional teams and not make them adjust to the software.

ProjectManager's kanban boardProjectManager's kanban board
Keep Track of Progress on Real-Time Dashboards

Rather than use static change management templates to track change, we have real-time dashboards that give you a high-level view of the project. They capture live data and display it in easy-to-read graphs and charts that show the overall health of the project, but also costs, time, workload and more. There’s no time-consuming configuration as with lightweight tools. It’s plug-and-play.

ProjectManager's dashboardProjectManager's dashboard

Want more detail? Use our customizable reports. They’re generated in a keystroke and can be filtered to show only the data you want to see. Then share them with your stakeholders to keep them updated on changes to the project.

Related Change Management Content

Change management is a big field. Change management templates only brush the surface. ProjectManager isn’t only superior project management software, it’s a site to learn about every phase of project management. Here is a selection of change management-related content.

ProjectManager is online project management software that empowers teams to plan, manage and track changes in their projects. Our collaborative platform connects teams across departments or continents, allowing them to share files, make comments and more. Besides fostering collaboration we have task management, risk management and resource management features to keep teams productive and projects on schedule. Get started with ProjectManger today for free.

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10 Manufacturing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

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Manufacturing is based on delivering quality and quantity products to the market on schedule. Using manufacturing KPIs can help you determine strengths and weaknesses that can direct you toward improvements in all phases of your production cycle.

Manufacturing KPIs are key performance indicators and we’ll go into greater detail about the definition and why manufacturing KPIs are so important. Then we’ll list the 10 most important manufacturing KPIs and conclude with how project management software can help you track those manufacturing KPIs.

What Are Manufacturing KPIs?

Manufacturing KPIs are like any KPI in that they’re a metric to quantifiably measure performance over time; in this case, the KPIs focus on manufacturing. In terms of manufacturers, these KPIs are used to monitor, analyze and optimize operations. Teams can use the data to compare to their previous output and see how they compare to their competitors while pinpointing inefficiencies.

This is useful information to improve production by capturing what’s working and where there’s room to improve. That can mean reducing waste or even automating processes to keep production teams focused on more important tasks while the smaller tasks are taken off their plate. Having KPIs provide insights into challenges and successes in manufacturing operations that can be resolved or exploited.

When defining metrics to use for KPIs, it’s best to follow the SMART method. This is a technique that stands for specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and time-based. For example, you don’t want to set a goal that’s unrealistic and cannot be achieved regardless of how much hard work is put in. Also, whatever goals are decided upon, it helps to have actionable steps to get there.

Whatever manufacturing KPIs you choose, you need to see them in real time rather than seeing a record of what’s already occurred. If you’re looking at old data, then you’re not sure what’s happening on the production line and your response will lag compared to the actual progress and performance of your production team. That’s why collecting manufacturing KPIs with project management software is recommended.

ProjectManager is online project management software that uses real-time data to show your manufacturing schedule as it evolves. You can get a high-level view of your production process with our live dashboard that captures metrics such as time, costs, workload and more and displays them in easy-to-read charts and graphs so you can immediately see your progress and performance. There’s no time-consuming configuration necessary as with lightweight tools. Our real-time dashboard is ready when you are.

ProjectManager's dashboard viewProjectManager's dashboard view
ProjectManager’s live dashboard captures real-time manufacturing KPIs. Learn more

Why Are Manufacturing KPIs Important?

Manufacturers who want to stay competitive and succeed in business are going to benefit by using manufacturing KPIs. Otherwise, you’re just going by your gut. As good as your instincts might be, without quantifiable data to back them up, you’re only guessing and you’re not going to motivate production teams, executives, investors and so forth.

Look for an industry leader in manufacturing and you’ll find a company that uses manufacturing KPIs to increase their speed to market without adding excess expenses to their process. The manufacturing KPIs point the way forward, which could lead to automation, reducing waste or having only the inventory on hand that you need rather than wasting money on unnecessary warehouse space.

There are as many reasons why manufacturers should use KPIs as there are KPIs. For example, you can uncover opportunities in your manufacturing cycle that were previously unaware of. These opportunities can lead to greater customer satisfaction, which not only improves your competitiveness but strengthens brand loyalty. You might even find ways to reduce costs, which customers will also like. Manufacturing KPIs need to be reviewed regularly and adjusted as needed to keep you on track.

10 Manufacturing KPIs Examples

By now, you should be sold on the effectiveness of manufacturing KPIs. But so far we’ve only been talking about the subject without getting into specifics. There are many different KPIs and each company has to determine what’s right for them by seeing how they align with the company’s goals. As we noted earlier, manufacturing KPIs also must be specific and measurable and provide an achievable value. Here are 10 of the most common manufacturing KPIs.

1. Cost Per Unit (CPU)

The cost per unit is how much money you’re spending for each item produced. This is an extremely important manufacturing KPI in order for you to determine a profitable price point for your product.  Therefore, take all associated costs into consideration, such as materials, overhead, depreciation, labor and so forth, and then divide that by the number of units manufactured.

2. Lead Time (LT)

Lead time is how long it takes for customers to get your product after an order has been placed. Lead time can be measured by adding the order process time with the production lead time and the delivery lead time.

3. On-Time Delivery (OTD)

While not specifically related to manufacturing or production, this is a valuable KPI in that getting product to customers when they expect it is a make-or-break for your company. To calculate this KPI, you need to multiply the units delivered on time by 100 and then divide that figure by the number of units you have delivered. This creates a percentage of products that you’ve delivered on time to your customers.

4. Production Volume

Production volume measures the output for a period of time. This is how manufacturers can benchmark their manufacturing efficiency and understand the total units that are manufactured by the factory. It’s determined by the total number of products manufactured over a specific time period.

5. Production Downtime

Production downtime is the amount of time a factory’s production lines are not operating. This covers both planned downtime and unplanned downtime. Naturally, the less downtime you have, the more productive your manufacturing. To figure out production downtime add up all the downtime over a specific timeframe.

Screenshot of the inline banner ad for the manufacturing ebook by ProjectManagerScreenshot of the inline banner ad for the manufacturing ebook by ProjectManager

6. Overall Operations Effectiveness (OOE)

Overall operations effectiveness is performance (percentage of time your plant is working at full capacity) multiplied by quality (the quality units produced in terms of a percentage of all units started) by availability (actual production time as a percentage of scheduled time to operate). Machine maintenance isn’t included in availability.

7. Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)

Overall equipment effectiveness measures how productive your manufacturing plant is with no downtime by percentage. It can be calculated by multiplying performance by quality by availability. This helps you know how long equipment on your production line can operate at its peak. In this calculation, you do include machine maintenance downtime.

8. Total Effective Equipment Performance (TEEP)

Total effective equipment performance measure utilization. It shows how your production is doing compared to if it was running all the time, all year, while always producing quality products. Again, this is determined by performance multiplied by quality by availability.

9. Capacity Utilization

Capacity utilization measures how much of a production plant’s total available capacity is being used. It helps manufacturers determine how efficient their processes are and can show the way to be more productive. It’s calculated by dividing the total capacity used during a specific timeframe by the total available production capacity and multiplying that figure by 100.

10. First Pass Yield (FPY)

A first-pass yield is the number of non-defective products that don’t require any reworking in your first run at the plant. It can help you find issues in your manufacturing process. To calculate this manufacturing KPI, divide the number of non-defective products by the total number of products manufactured.

ProjectManager Helps You Track Manufacturing KPIs

ProjectManager is award-winning project management software that helps manufacturers monitor KPIs in real time. Manufacturers can get a high-level view of production metrics whenever they want by toggling over to the live dashboard. But they can also set up production schedules on Gantt charts, manage workflows on kanban boards and track milestones with calendars. All project views are updated together so you’re always working on the most current data no matter which tool you’re using.

Get More Detail With Customizable Reports

When you schedule your production on our Gantt charts and then set the baseline, you can then track the planned effort against the actual effort in real time. This is reflected not only in the real-time dashboard but also in reporting features. You can generate status reports and portfolio reports if you manage more than one production line and many other reports with a keystroke. All reports can be filtered to show only the data you want to see. They can also be easily shared in multiple formats to keep stakeholders updated.

ProjectManager's timesheet report filterProjectManager's timesheet report filterKeep Track of Production Teams

Another manufacturing KPI that we didn’t mention is our roundup of human resources. Our resource management features help you track your production team’s workload. Knowing how many jobs each member of the production line is responsible for can help you ensure that each is working at capacity without being over-allocated. It’s easy to see how your resources are allocated by viewing our color-coded workload chart. Now you can see at a glance who has too much work and who has too little. Then, right from the workload chart, you can reallocate your resources and balance your production team’s workload to make them more productive.

ProjectManager's workload chart with reassignment popupProjectManager's workload chart with reassignment popup

Beyond measuring manufacturing KPIs, our software has automation with task approval to ensure that only quality moves through the production cycle. You can customize workflows to gain efficiencies and do more with less labor. There are also risk management tools to track issues in your production line until they’re resolved.

Related Manufacturing Content

ProjectManager is award-winning software that tracks manufacturing KPIs in real time. Our multiple project views give you Gantt charts to plan your production, kanban boards to manage workflow and much more. Plus, our collaborative platform makes it easy to share files, comment and more. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

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How to Write a Business Plan: Business Planning Best Practices

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Every company needs a plan to determine how it will operate and position itself in the market. This is known as a business plan, which is one of the most important business management documents.

What Is a Business Plan?

A business plan is a document that describes a business in detail. In a business plan, you’ll find the information you need to understand how a business works and how it plans to grow in the long term. Most business plans explain the business model, mission, vision, objectives, operational plan and financial plan of a company, among other important elements.

Creating a thorough business plan that outlines a business can seem like daunting work. In reality, the job can be done using common project planning methods and tools.

A business plan defines your business mission, vision and overall strategy, but that’s only the start. To turn those things into a successful business, you’ll need to assemble a team and start your business operations. ProjectManager has planning, scheduling and tracking tools that can help you track all your business processes and workflows. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

ProjectManager's Gantt chartProjectManager's Gantt chart
Use ProjectManager’s planning, scheduling and tracking tools to turn your business plan into reality. Learn more

When Should You Create a Business Plan?

You should always write a business plan before starting a business because it’ll help you set the stage for your strategic planning and operations management. In addition, writing a business plan helps you find any potential business planning issues, omissions or opportunities for improvement, so your business has a solid start.

Business plans are also very important for business funding. For example, if you’re just starting a business and need a business loan, you’ll need to write a detailed business plan for banks and investors, who will require you to include certain things on your business plan so they can better assess the feasibility of your business model.

What Does a Business Plan Include?

As a business owner or entrepreneur, you can decide on the level of detail for your business plan. However, in most cases, it’s advisable to include as many details as you can because your stakeholders will want to know as much as possible about your business.

Here’s a sample business plan with some of the most commonly used elements. You can customize it to fit your particular business planning needs.

Sample Business Plan Outline

While business plans might differ from one organization to another, there are key elements that should be included in all business plans.

Executive Summary

The purpose of an executive summary is to compile the most important information about your business plan so that stakeholders can quickly get the idea without having to go over the whole document.

Business Description

Also called a company overview, a business description simply defines what your business purpose is, as well as general information such as your company background and your mission and vision statements. This part can also include other basic details you might want to share about your business such as your company principles and core values.

Market Analysis

This section provides information on the market for the product or service offered. A basic market analysis section should include three key elements: an industry analysis that addresses the sector at large, a competitor analysis that identifies direct and indirect competitors and a SWOT analysis that helps business managers understand the current competitive environment of a business.

Marketing & Sales Strategy

You should use the insights from your market analysis to create a marketing and sales strategy that helps you use your business strengths to position your brand in the market and establish your business as a leader in your industry. To create an effective marketing and sales strategy, you should consider these key elements.

  • Business proposition: Your business proposition or value proposition explains how you differentiate yourself from your competitors by better addressing the needs of your target market.
  • Target market: The market segment that includes your ideal customers. There are many qualitative and quantitative research techniques you can use to identify the ideal audience for your product or service.
  • Products and services: Your business plan should explain your product or service portfolio. Include a general description, profit margins and any other relevant information such as substitute or complementary products in the market.
  • Distribution channels: The distribution channels refer to the supply chain and logistics methods that your business uses to transport and distribute products or services to customers.
  • Pricing: Pricing is a key element of your marketing and sales strategy. Make sure to understand your competitive landscape, as well as the socio-economic conditions of your market to choose a price that benefits both your customers and your business.

Operational Plan

The operational plan describes how your business operates to achieve its long-term goals and objectives, highlighting key areas such as inventory control, supply chain, production planning, human resources and business process management.

Financial Plan

This area demands specific information. Financial plans and projections should include income statements, cash flow statements and balance sheets. The purpose of this section is to establish both the current financial state of a business as well as projections about the future.

Organization and Management

This section shows exactly how the business is organized, from day-to-day operations to its leadership team. For example, you may include c-suite executives, managers and possibly even interns. It can also delve into the roles and responsibilities of different individuals.

Legal Structure

Your business plan should specify the legal structure of your business. You can choose to establish a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, limited liability company (LLC) and other structures, depending on the business owner and stakeholders’ preference.

Best Practices for Writing a Business Plan

No matter which type of business plan you’re writing, there are tips and tricks that’ll keep you on track to create a successful roadmap, such as using business templates. Following these five best practices helps ensure the information in your business plan is thorough, easy to understand and engaging to audiences. This way, you get your point across loud and clear, while keeping the audience interested.

1. Create a Business Plan Immediately

It’s a common mistake to wait until the last minute to write a business plan. However, if you have the information and are ready for presentation before operations even begin, you can rest reasonably assured that your business is prepared for anything. This “living document” should be written before the business begins and should be updated every step of the way.

2. Write for Your Audience

Before writing your business plan, consider who will be reading it. The audience determines which type of business plan you choose. It may also call for adjustments to tone and style. For example, if you’re writing a business plan to inform employees, the tone might be more casual than it would be for potential investors.

3. Keep It Logical: Focus on Facts, Not Emotions

No matter the audience, a business plan must be logical, not emotional. Passion is important, but the facts are key. For example, when writing financial projections, refer to hard numbers from past quarters about sales, expenses and profits—rather than just writing what you think the future will look like.

4. Remain Concise

Being concise is one of the most important rules of thumb when creating a project plan of any kind. A business plan aims to outline an entire operation, but it must convey the facts as simply as possible. Always keep in mind that this information will be presented to an audience, and it must capture and keep their attention.

5. Remember Your Goal

Avoid tangents and unnecessary information. Each section should tie into the main objective of the business plan, whether that be to inform stakeholders, obtain funding or anything else.

How to Use ProjectManager to Execute Your Business Plan

ProjectManager is award-winning project management software that helps create, execute and track your business plan to ensure that it results in success. With it, you can lay out the day-to-day operations of your business and invite members of your team to collaborate and manage your resources.

Gantt Charts to Plan

On our Gantt view, you can add tasks, their duration and their priority and this information automatically populates the project timeline. With this powerful tool, you’ll be able to get a bird’s-eye view of your entire business plan, laid out in chronological order.

ProjectManager's Gantt chartProjectManager's Gantt chart

Dashboards to Track

As you work your way to making your business plan a reality, you’ll need a tool to ensure that you’re on the right track. With our real-time dashboard, you can view updates on the status of your tasks. Our dashboard also automatically calculates costs and other important KPIs and displays them in scannable graphs and charts.

ProjectManager’s dashboard view, which shows six key metrics on a projectProjectManager’s dashboard view, which shows six key metrics on a project

Plus, ProjectManager has unlimited file storage, so you can collect all the important documents for your business plan in a central hub.

ProjectManager is award-winning project management software that offers businesses the tools they need to manage projects. Complete with Gantt charts, task lists, dashboards and more, ProjectManager gives teams the ability to plan, launch and report on projects from anywhere. This makes creating and collaborating on documents like a business plan easier than ever before. Try ProjectManager for yourself with our free 30-day trial offer.

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