Developing A Project Management Plan: Crucial Part of PM Role!

Develop project management planCreating a project management plan is a complex process, where all subsidiary plans of various project domain areas such as risk, communication, quality, human resources, schedule, scope and so on, are prepared. As you can see project management plan will be the last document to be finalized in the planning process.

Before we move on, let us look at a common perception, which is that a Project Schedule is the Project Plan.

It is not.

A schedule can be considered as a supplementary tool to manage project work, and the project management plan is the primary project document that covers all aspects of project such as communication, risk, procurement, cost, resources.

Note: You can download a sample project management plan at the end of this post.

Similarly, project charter and project management plan are not to be confused.

The former is the charter document that authorizes the project itself and issued by the project sponsor. And the latter is a collection of subsidiary management plans which outlines how the project will be managed.

What do you need to create a project management plan?

  • Output of previous process, Project Charter is a straight logical input to this process
  • Outputs of all the planning processes and baselines

Exam pointer: Whenever any of these subsidiary plans change, project management plan also gets updated.

Yes, all subsidiary plans such as Scope management plan, Schedule management plan, Cost management plan, Quality management plan, Resource management plan, Communications management plan, Risk management plan, Procurement management plan, Stakeholder management plan – they all form inputs to the Project management plan.

You don’t need to memorize names of the subsidiary management plans. As you can see in the mind map below, these are the outcomes from various knowledge areas. And you have seen a mnemonic to memorize these knowledge areas in this post.

Even baselines – Scope, Schedule, and Cost baseline – form part of the Project management plan.

  • Enterprise Environmental Factors – Government or industry standards may be applicable for projects in certain industries. For instance, a project in healthcare industry may need to comply with HIPAA standards. A project that has environmental implications may need to adhere to government’s environmental regulations. Other factors such as information systems used in the organization would also form Enterprise Environmental Factors.
  • Organizational Process Assets – such as templates used for planning, and guidelines for evaluating performance. Files from previous projects such as scope, schedule, cost, risk register are also important assets to be considered while planning.

Expert judgment

Lot of planning is based on past experience and judgment. If you are not familiar with certain aspects of planning, you need to get hold of an experienced project manager in the company. Or someone from outside – could be an expert in the industry.

It is difficult for someone to be able to come up with all aspects of planning in isolation, even she is a seasoned project manager. It is important to talk to experts to get their inputs, and even running the plans through them once you have them is essential. Talk to the experienced project managers in your company, or even better, get one of them to be your mentor.

Brainstorming, conflict resolution, problem solving and meetings are some of facilitation techniques used by project managers.

What goes into a Project management plan?

In short, it contains all subsidiary plans, baselines, processes such as change management, configuration management, and other details as required by the organization.
Project management plan contents
Figure: Contents of a project management plan

Developing project management plan can be exhausting experience, but is extremely fulfilling. As a project manager, you feel so empowered once the plan is in place.

If you were wondering what is part of project management plan and what are the ‘project documents’ being referred to, well you know from the mind map above that the 13 subsidiary management plans and 3 baselines form part of the project management plan.

Here are few important project documents –

  • Activity list, Activity attributes and Milestone list
  • Activity cost estimates and duration estimates
  • Activity resource requirements
  • Agreements
  • Basis of estimates
  • Issue log, Change log and Change requests
  • Forecasts (cost and schedule)
  • Procurement documents and procurement SoW
  • Project calendars and Resource calendars
  • Project – charter, SoW, funding requirements, schedule and network diagrams
  • Project staff assignments
  • Quality – checklists, metrics, control measurements
  • Requirements – documentation, traceability matrix, breakdown structure
  • Risk register
  • Schedule data
  • Seller proposals, source selection criteria
  • Stakeholder register
  • Team performance assessments
  • Work performance – data, information and reports

Developing project management plan can be exhausting experience, but is extremely fulfilling. As a project manager you feel so empowered once the plan is in place. What has been your experience with developing project plan?

Download a simple, sample project management plan here: MSDoc version / PDF version.

Next, let us see the 3 events that kick in change management – Corrective action, Preventive action, and Defect repair – in a project, and how to go about identifying them.

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{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Ganesan December 21, 2020, 10:25 pm

    Excellant content

  • nags February 2, 2018, 6:03 pm

    thanx a lot for such a simple and detailed way about pm plan…and the template is very helpful. thanx once again