Mastering the project plan

By Kate Burrows, Managing Director, Tender Training College

If you are in the business of tenders, you may have been required to write a project plan or several in your time.  

Most often, the party who has issued the tender requires a suite of plans to be provided that are specific to the contract being tendered.  

The purpose of this is so they can see how you will apply your approach to doing business to meet the specific requirements of the contract.  

I certainly have written my fair share of management plans for tenders, and I have also been on the other side of delivering upon the plan commitments following a successful bid.  

I wanted to share with you some best practice elements for writing project plans that will stand the test of time – for the tender phase and if you are the winning proponent. 

Tip 1: Consistent format and structure 

Management plans are by nature formal documents. They often form part of an organisation’s quality or overarching management system, and therefore are generally similar in appearance.

A consistent format and structure for your plans helps to show your company has a standard, systematic and quality assured approach to the way it does business.

I recommend setting up a template for your plans with a cover page, table of contents and other standard sections, including an introduction, purpose and objectives, background and context, and approach.

Consider adding a document control table at the front of the plan that shows it is a ‘live’ document and will be updated.

Additionally, a compliance table at the front of the document is a handy tool for the evaluators (and you) to see that you have answered all the requirements called for and in which section of the plan these answers appear.  

Tip 2: Essential information to include 

I like this definition of the purpose of a project plan: 

“To capture the current status of the reserve, to establish goals and objectives for the future, and to articulate how those goals and objectives are prioritised and how they will be met.”

An introduction or executive summary to your plan should capture the key elements of your approach and really ‘sell’ your capability in line with your win themes.  

Consider adding a section early in the plan that draws out your experience and performance specific to the plan subject matter – i.e. show your safety management experience and performance in a safety management plan. 

It is important your plan details your understanding of the current environment, and what the gaps are for improvement and delivering better outcomes for the client. This will require you to do an analysis of the current environment. 

In the section that details your approach, you want to describe how you will meet any objectives outlined in the plan and the tender requirements, and how you will deliver any improved outcomes identified from your earlier analysis. 

You should also reference the people that we will be responsible for implementing the activities in the plan, and your company’s supportive systems and processes. 

Don’t forget to highlight the initiatives or unique features of your approach that will provide value for the client! 

Tip 3: Make sure you can you deliver on your commitments 

Expect that the client will hold you to account to deliver upon what is contained in the plan if you are the successful bidder. 

In many instances, the plan will form part of the contractual documentation so is legally binding on contract award. 

So, it is worthwhile being mindful when writing the plan that you can actually deliver on what you are committing to. 

Consider including an action plan or table that gives you and the client a clear picture of what you are going to do, by when, by whom and how you are going to measure and improve your performance.  

It is helpful to see all your commitments in an easy-to-read format, and provides a good baseline for your own internal benchmarking and progress meetings with the client. 

Importantly, remember to include all the elements in your plan in the tender price so it is all accounted for and there no hidden costly surprises when you are delivering the contract.  

For more information on how to apply these tips to writing a project plan, please don’t hesitate to contact me at 



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