Bowl of Eggs with One Cracked showing Yellow YolkI know that generally, we prefer to not put all our eggs in the same basket; however, when it comes to project management–the “project management plan” is the single basket that holds all our eggs. It’s the one thing that holds the entire project together and helps us navigate execution until project closeout.

The project management plan is the document that the project manager creates to describe in more detail the planning of the project and its organization. The project management plan consists of the cost baseline, project schedule, and the scope statement, in addition to various management plans, and the human resource plan. Once completed and approved, all project activities are completed under the project management plan. As a living document, it is updated to reflect the current project status and should reflect a reasonable and realistic forecast of project completion.

Once completed and approved, all project activities are completed under the project management plan.

It’s important that you don’t freak-out on me at this point. I know this looks daunting, insane, and way more work than you originally were planning on. But I promise–if you use the process of progressive elaboration, these plans will fall into place in no time at all and the rest of your project will be like sailing in the clear blue Caribbean.

  • First, you need to be clear about the key project management concepts and uses before you tackle any questions regarding the project management plan:
    • Once created and approved, the project is managed against the project management plan.
    • The project management plan is a living document, and should be updated to reflect current progress and future forecast.
    • The project management plan should be realistic and achievable. Just remember the old “S.M.A.R.T.” goals trick and make sure that everything is specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time- bound.
    • The project management plan must be approved by all parties, and they too, must believe that it is achievable. This means that you get sign-offs from all your key stakeholders so that when you are executing the project–everyone is 100% aware of what is happening, when it should be happening, and what will be the result. This is a very important step.
    • Be clear about the actions needed to create a realistic project plan.

The Project Management Plan consists of three baselines and twelve management plans:

  • Baselines:
    1. Cost Baseline,
    2. Schedule Baseline, and
    3. Scope Baseline.
  • Management Plans:
    1. Scope Management Plan,
    2. Cost Management Plan,
    3. Communications Management Plan,
    4. Quality Management Plan,
    5. Risk Management Plan,
    6. Requirements Management Plan,
    7. Change Management Plan,
    8. Configuration Management Plan,
    9. Schedule Management Plan,
    10. Procurement Management Plan,
    11. Human Resource Plan, and
    12. Process Improvement Plan.

We will go over the specifics of each of these plans in the coming weeks. But this is a good list of everything you should have in place when you create your project management plan.

Several free project management plan templates are available online at Project Management Docs (www.projectmanagementdocs.com) by Mark Piscopo: