The Project Management Plan is your project guide, outline, and main communications tool and provides a documented basis for making project decisions and for confirming or developing common understanding of project scope among the stakeholders. It also serves as guiding document for project execution and control and provides the rules and limits for your project.
The main inputs for the Project Management Plan are the Requirements Document, the Concept Proposal, the Risk Management Plan, and the Project Schedule. The Requirements Document and the Concept Proposal will provide the project goal, objectives, risks, assumptions, constraints, alignment, and other information. The Project Schedule will provide project timelines and milestones.
The Risk Management Plan allows you to highlight noteworthy risk items. The Project Management Plan should contain the following in the detailed level necessary for project information.
- The Project Background should introduce the customer environment leading to the change requiring the project. The information is collected during Requirements gathering.
- The Project Goal should provide a clear statement of what the project team will accomplish by project implementation. Proper scope definition is critical to project success and will avoid scope creep.
- Project Objectives or Scope Statement should be measurable criteria that must be met for the project to be considered successful in terms of cost, schedule, or quality measures. The Objectives should define what is in scope for the project and also what is out of scope for the project. The objectives will be matched to project deliverables during the Acceptance of Deployed Solution during the Deployment phase.
- Solution Approach outlines the approach taken by the Project Team to meet project objectives. There are a number of solution approaches to take for an application development project and the one chosen should be explained in this section.
- The Project Management Plan should spell out and clear up any project ambiguities by documenting Assumptions and Constraints.
- Assumptions are factors that, for planning purposes, will be considered to be true, real, or certain. Assumptions generally involve a degree of risk and may be identified here or they may be a part of risk identification. Never assume anything on a project; write it down and have it validated!
- Constraints are factors that will limit the project management team’s options. For example, if substantial project resources will be needed, more consideration will need to be given to handling contract information. When a project is performed under contract, there are often specific contractual provisions that affect communications and project planning. Some projects have constraints such as mandatory government rules
- A project Risk Assessment and Mitigation Plan should be completed prior to entering data into the project plan. A matrix of the high risk items along with high-level management or mitigation plans to address the risk is provided in the Project Management Plan.
- After review of the requirements and Project Schedule, a Staffing or Resource Plan can be created for the project implementation. Resource planning involves determining what physical resources (people, equipment, materials) and what quantities of each should be used to perform project activities. It is a good practice to provide an organization chart for quick reference and define roles and responsibilities in this section of the Project Management Plan.
- The schedule section of the plan should contain your project Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), Project Timeframe, and project milestones.
- After review of the Project Schedule, a Cost Plan and budget can be added to the Project Management Plan at the detail level required. In some cases, the Cost Plan might be preliminary until it can be updated with an addendum to the Project Management Plan during the Implementation Phase or as more details of the project become available. The budgeting of the project must be closely coordinated with cost estimating and will improve as more actual information is captured at the completion of many projects.
- All projects require a Communications Plan detailing what will be communicated, when it will be communicated, and who is going to do the communications. The Communications Plan is an important factor for project success because it ensures the proper communication flow and consistency. Determine the information and communications needs of the stakeholders such as:
- Who needs what information?
- When will they need it?
- How will it be given to them?
The majority of communications planning is done as part of the earliest project phases but should be reviewed regularly throughout the project and revised as needed to ensure continued applicability. Any project review will ask the customer if they are getting the right kind and amount of information. The Communications Plan should provide an outline of the agenda for all status meetings so the project team and stakeholders know what to expect.
- If your project has procurement needs, a Procurement Plan should be completed.
- The Procurement Plan should provide the quantity and timing for all items needed. An inventory should be included upon receipt of any item on the Procurement Plan.
- The Project Management Plan also outlines the Change, Issues, and Document Management Plans.
- Create the Project Management Plan containing:
- Project goal, objectives, and what is in and out of scope
- Project assumptions and constraints
- Project solution approach
- Risk Items from Project Risk Management Plan
- Resource Plan with roles and responsibilities
- Project WBS and Project Schedule milestones
- Project Communications Plan identifying key roles and appropriate communications media
- Project Budget and Cost Plan
- Project Quality Plan
- Change Control Plan
- Issues Control and Escalation Plan
- Project Procurement Plan
Owner of This Step
- Project Manager
John F. Filicetti, PMP, MBA
John Filicetti is a Sr. Sales Engineer/PM-PMO-PPM Consultant with a great depth of experience and expertise in enterprise project management, project management methodologies, Project Portfolio Management (PPM), Project Management Offices (PMOs), Governance, process consulting, and business management. John has directed and managed project management teams, created and implemented methodologies and practices, provided project management consulting, created and directed PMOs, and created consulting and professional services in such areas as project portfolio management, Governance, business process re-engineering, network systems integration, application development, infrastructure, and complex environments. John has enjoyed many years as PMO Director for large corpoations in the Seattle area and leads the PMO Roundtable discussion group and forum.
John has attained a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Education/Technology from Washington State University and an MBA from St. Mary’s College in Moraga, CA.