This section provides an overview of what goes into a project management plan.
Any work involves planning before doing, even if the planning happens only in the brain and nothing is written. This is not different when the work is organized as a project.
A Project Management Plan is an integrated composite of several subsidiary plans that should be aligned to each other.
Planning a project is not a one man show. It is a teamwork involving the project manager, a core team and a number of subject matter experts who are the ones who know the details of what needs to be done to create the specific product the project is about to create.
The project management team starts gathering from key stakeholders their requirements for the management of the project, and review again the constraints, and assumptions gathered during project initiation to see if there is any change.
Now is the moment to define SMART objectives leading to the project goal established in the charter.
The project management team needs to define the type of development lifecycle the team will use to create the solution: which are the phases and or iterations to be pursued.
Special care is to be given to the development of the project baseline, which includes the approved project scope, budget, and schedule. This is what the project will deliver, when and for how much.
You will also need to develop plans for the management of different aspects of the project. The quantity and detail of these plans depends on the project size and complexity and on the project management method in place in your organization. For a large project you could develop plans for the management of scope, requirements, schedule, costs, quality, communications, resources, risk, procurements, and stakeholders’ engagement.
In the planning stage the team will identify risks, analyze them to determine which are the most critical and develop answers to them.
When all these elements are well combined and balanced, approval from the governing body should be obtained. In most cases this is the project sponsor and the project customer if both roles are not the same person.
Finally, the project manager informs stakeholders about the approved PM Plan and a second kick-off meeting can be conducted to inform everybody of the final plan and migrate from the planning toward the execution phase.
The completed project plan is not put on a shelf to gather dust. You use it over the life of the project. To direct the work on your project. To keep track of how the project is going. To correct course and communicate with stakeholders.
We will explore each component of a project plan in detail.