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Project Management - What is a Project Management Plan?

Updated on March 29, 2015
A good project plan will help to turn your ideas into reality
A good project plan will help to turn your ideas into reality | Source

Introduction

In project management, a project management plan is a very important document, created by the project manager and the project team. The plan is effectively the 'master' document that guides the project as a whole and contains information and details on various aspects of the project. A project management plan is normally created in the early stages and is consulted, reviewed and revised throughout the life cycle of the project.

A project management plan might be just one document or it could be a series of documents and 'project artifacts' that together make up the plan. A project plan is used together with a 'project baseline' to establish exactly what a project needs to do, how it is going to do it and various other aspects important to the successful delivery of the project. In this article we'll explore the various areas that together make up a project management plan including:

  • Why the project exists
  • What the project is intended to do
  • A definition of the project
  • When the project will be delivering
  • Who is responsible
  • How the project will deliver
  • Current status
  • Risk and issue management
  • Work that has been completed
  • Work due to be completed

A good project plan helps to make sure you can deliver your project to the quality, speed and budget that you've promised.
A good project plan helps to make sure you can deliver your project to the quality, speed and budget that you've promised. | Source

Why the project exists

The various drivers and requirements that caused the project to be created in the first place. This could be the reason that new products or services are being created, techniques to avoid risks or unnecessary costs and impacts or a desire to improve a particular part of the business.

What the project is intended to do

The intended final outcome of the project, the types of solutions that will be created and the business requirements that the project is meant to address.

A definition of the project

A high-level overview of the scope, costs, budget, timescales and quality requirements involved in the project.

A project plan helps everyone to understand how the project is going to move forward and what it is going to do
A project plan helps everyone to understand how the project is going to move forward and what it is going to do | Source

When the project will be delivering

The timescales that various milestones and outcomes are being delivered to. A plan and schedule of when various tasks need to take place.

Who is responsible

The various individuals, teams and areas responsible for completing the various parts of the project.

How the project will deliver

The various frameworks, methodologies, techniques and toolkits that the project will use.

A good project plan will represent the feedback of various different groups in your business
A good project plan will represent the feedback of various different groups in your business | Source

Current status

How the project is performing right now. Progress made towards goals, resource use, quality and scope.

Risk and issue management

The likelihood and impact of risks occurring and steps being taken to deal with outstanding issues.

It's vitally important to understand the scope of work that will be needed to deliver a project
It's vitally important to understand the scope of work that will be needed to deliver a project | Source

Work that has been completed

Activities and tasks that have been carried out to take the project forward.

Work due to be completed

Planned work in the short, mid and long-term to complete the project.

The project management plan

Read more of our helpful, expert guides to successfully managing a project:

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In closing

The project plan provides a good basis for reporting, communications and the smooth management of a project. It is the single most important document or set of documents for a project and is essential for the smooth running and delivery of a project that meets business needs and expectations.

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