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Developing the Project Management Plan

We know that the project management plan is the key document that contains the overall planning, monitoring, and implementing activities to be done in a project. So how does one derive such a document?

First one has to look at what one has around the desktop. The inputs for developing a Project Management Plan are:

  • Preliminary Project Scope Statement ‚Äì The preliminary Project Scope Statement forms the basis of the scope section of the Project Management Plan and includes a description of the scope, its boundaries, and the major deliverables.
  • Project management processes ‚Äì Project management processes are descriptions of how the project will be managed. For example, communication management at your company might include status updates included in the project bulletin board.
  • Organizational process assets ‚Äì Organizational process assets are resources, procedures, or processes, from any or all of the organizations involved in the project, that influence the process or outcome of a project. Plans, policies, procedures, and guidelines may be used to develop the Project Management Plan. For example the process of installing net new equipment in the data center is a part of the processes of the organization. Another is the skill set of current employees.
  • Enterprise environmental factors ‚Äì Enterprise environmental factors occur within and outside an organization from any or all of the organizations involved in the project that may affect the project outcome. Factors such as a company’s culture and market conditions may be used to develop the Project Management Plan.

A key aside is the Project Management Plan needs to consider any conditions or factors that might impact it.

Thankfully, there are tools and techniques that can be used when developing the Project Management Plan. These tools and techniques are:

  • Project management methodology ‚Äì A project management methodology is an organized approach to creating a Project Management Plan. Methodologies can be simple or complex depending on the project type and the needs of the performing organization.
  • Project management information system (PMIS) ‚Äì A PMIS is typically a computer-driven system that helps a team develop the project plan. It can calculate schedules, costs, probable outcomes, and expectations. It can also publish the approved document.
  • Expert judgment ‚Äì Expert judgement is relied upon to develop technical and managerial details to be included in the Project Management Plan. Expert judgment is the technical and management expertise of the project management team. For example an experienced employee and an organization will have more insights into corporate culture, than a new hire.

Now we have the inputs, tools and techniques to use as we create a project management plan. The next step is actually having the plan and its components. The Project Management Plan consists of 11 core components for executing, monitoring, and controlling. There may be more, but the 11 is a good place to start. The eleven core components of a Project Management Plan are:

  1. The processes determined by the project management team
  2. The implementation level of each process chosen by the project management team
  3. The descriptions of the tools and techniques to be used for accomplishing those processes
  4. The chosen project life cycle and related project phases
  5. How the selected processes will be used to manage the specific project
  6. How work will be executed to achieve the project objectives
  7. How changes will be monitored and controlled
  8. How configuration management will be performed
  9. How project management baselines will be maintained
  10. Communication techniques among stakeholders
  11. When management reviews will be scheduled to address issues and pending decisions.

Another way to go about developing a project management plan is gathering and collecting all subsidiary plans in the Project Management Plan. Subsidiary plans are the outputted document for planning from a knowledge area. These can also be included in the Project Management Plan. These plans are:

  1. The Scope Management Plan
  2. The Schedule Management Plan
  3. The Cost Management Plan
  4. The Communication Management Plan
  5. The Process Improvement Plan
  6. The Staffing Management Plan
  7. The Quality Management Plan
  8. The Risk Management Plan
  9. The Procurement Management Plan.

When you create and follow a Project Management Plan that is composed of the nine subsidiary plans, you’ll have a map that will guide your decisions and actions and help you reach your desired destination: a successful project.

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Smartsheet is an online work execution platform empowering organizations of all sizes to plan, manage, automate, and report on work. Over 80,000 brands rely on Smartsheet for project and work management.

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