The Merit of a Project Management Plan

A Project Management Plan (PMP) is pragmatically described by Simplilearn as a formal, approved document that defines how a project is executed, monitored and controlled. It defines the approach used by the project team to deliver the project scope on time and within budget. The project manager creates the PMP following inputs from the team and key stakeholders. 

The PMP is a standard deliverable within the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) Guide which is published by the Project Management Institute (PMI). It is also commonly known as a Project Plan or Work Plan depending on the organization preference. The PMP is initiated after the Project Charter is established when more information of the project is available from the planning process. It integrates all the subsidiary plans and baselines which may consist of:

  • Communication management plan – Defines the communication requirements and how the information will be distributed.
  • Cost management plan – Identifies who is responsible for managing costs and the processes involved. 
  • Human resource management plan – Defines human resources, skill set required, and the team building strategy for a successful project. 
  • Procurement management plan – Describes how a project team will acquire good and services from outside the performing organization. 
  • Process improvement plan – Analyzes existing business problems then identifies problems and solutions that will improve the quality standard.
  • Quality management plan – Defines the acceptable level of quality and describes how the project will ensure meeting it. 
  • Requirements management plan – Documents the necessary steps to manage project requirements from definition to implementation and traceability controls. 
  • Risk management plan – Identifies risks including probability and severity and mitigation measures. 
  • Schedule management plan – Defines the approach the team uses to create and maintain the project schedule.
  • Scope management plan – Describes how project scope is defined, verified, and managed throughout the project.
  • Stakeholder management plan – Identifies the management strategies to effectively engage stakeholders.
  • Baselines for cost, schedule, and scope – Provides a clearly defined starting point to compare against actual project progress (cost, schedule, and scope).  
  • Change management plan – Defines activities and roles to manage and control changes after baselines are established. 
  • Configuration management plan – Describes how configuration activities are conducted including how changes are made and communicated. 

While this collection may seem like a daunting list, it is typically tailored to the needs of a project. A small, straightforward project will have a lesser need for everything on the list versus a large, complex one. A PMP is also not done all at once but rather through ‘progressive elaboration’ which means it is gradually developed, refined, reviewed, and updated throughout the project’s life cycle.  

The PMP should be baselined and signed off at a point that the project team is comfortable during the planning process. Sign off will depend on the organization and the nature of the project. In many cases, it is not practical to expect senior level stakeholders to get down into the level of details that the PMP contains. This often results in sign off from a few key stakeholders including the project manager. The document should go through change management and version control once baselined. 

The value-add of having a PMP are numerous: 

1. Enables the project manager to tangibly measure actual progress against baseline

2. Improves stakeholder communication and engagement

3. Increases transparency of the project work

4. Enhances the ability to keep the team focused 

The PMP is one of many tools that a project team can use to help effectively and efficiently deliver a project. Ninestone offers our expertise to help tailor a strategy and plan to meet your business goals. 

Tammy Chu, Senior Ninestone Consultant

April, 2017