What is a project management plan? (full sample)

What is a project management plan? (full sample)

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A project plan is a vital document that guides the overall management and successful running and delivery of a project. In this article we explore the various areas that together make up 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 document that guides the project as a whole and contains 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. Note that these types of plan apply mainly to traditional, waterfall-style projects.

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 for the successful delivery of the project.

Typically, a project management plan contains the following:

  • 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 on 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 delivered - The timescales of various milestones and outcomes delivery; a plan and schedule of when various tasks need to take place.

  • Who is responsible - The individuals, teams, and areas responsible for completing the various parts of the project.

  • How the project will deliver - The various frameworks, methodologies, techniques, and tool-kits that the project will use.

  • Current status - How the project is performing right now; progress made towards goals, resources used, as well as 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 for the short, medium, and long term to complete the project.

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 so that it meets business needs and expectations.

Content originally written by Paul Maplesden, a freelance writer, and edited by me.

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