Project Management - What is a Project Management Plan?
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
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.
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.
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.
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:
Introduction to project management - The main concepts of project management
How project management can help your small business - How project management can help your small business launch new products, services and processes
The main objectives of project management - The things project management should accomplish
The project management plan - One of the most vital aspects of getting a project right
What is a project baseline? - How to baseline a project
Resource scheduling and planning - Making sure the right people do the right things at the right time
‘What If?’ scenarios - A critical part of risk and issue management
Project portfolio management - For when just managing one project isn’t enough
Communications management for projects - Getting your project messages read and acted on
The right project management software - Essential to running a project well
Get project management experience - Want to break into the field? Here are some tips and tricks
Project management training - How to find the right training course for you
Project management consulting - Learn about consulting for project management
Choosing the right specialist - Make sure you get your money’s worth
Have you ever created a project management plan?
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.