This is a very important document that has been created to guide the project execution and control, and is a much more than just a Gantt chart or a project schedule.
Like any undertaking, the project and guidance your work on the project by specifying who will do what, when they will do it, where they will do it and most importantly how all they will do it. You can see that this is a key document whose content and use must be understood completely.
As PMBOK is at pains to point out, the project management plan is progressively collaborated, this means that throughout the project is constantly developed, refined, replant and updated. The project management plan represents the aggregation of all the other planning outputs, and so it cannot be completed in the first place until after all of the component plans that make up its constitution had been created.
This process, and hence the project management plan itself, is first created within the planning process group and its contents baselined after approval. The term ‘progressive elaboration’ means that the approved plan is constantly updated and refined but in a controlled manner.
It is also a mistake to assume that the project plan is developed at one point in time. In truth, although it is an output within the executing process group, and forms part of the integration knowledge area, it relies on outputs from the quality, human resource, communications, risk, and procurement knowledge areas to be fully assembled for the first time.
Since the project management plan consists of many other major planning outputs it can only be assembled after such component plans have been created.
The project management plan represents 15 component plans which are aggregated together to become the project plan itself.
The inputs reference information needed to develop the project management plan are the project charter, the other 15 component plans as mentioned above, the enterprise environmental factors and organisational process assets. I refer the reader to other articles I have written on this website.
The only tool that is used here to develop a project management plan is that of expert judgement, inferring that a realistic and achievable project management plan will need the knowledge skills and experience of those that have developed such a plan before, or have knowledge of what constitutes the creation of an effective plan.
PMBOK describes the project plan as “a formal, approve document that defines how the project is managed, executed, and controlled.” The project management plan is the only outputs of this process, and it may be in summary form or detailed, and may consist of one or more subsidiary management plans and other planning documents.
PMBOK describes the project manager plan as a formal written piece of communication and it is a single document – not 15 separate plans, because once approved, it becomes a single approved document. Who approves the project management plan will vary based of the organisation and other factors, but would typically be the project sponsor, functional managers who are providing resources for the project, or the project manager.
It is not normally the customer or senior management who approve the project plan, as the customer will often sign a contract but leave the planning and delivery of the project to the performing organization. It is very often the case that senior management should not or cannot review every document within a project and this includes approving the project plan particularly when the organisation has multiple projects.
The project management plan may be in summary form or very detailed and for the exam the latter is to be preferred.
The project management plan describes exactly how the project is to be managed, executed, and control and therefore controls the baseline information of how the project will be executed.
Although the PMBOK project management plan consists of 15 component plans, the importance, size and complexity of a given project within an organization will depend how formally detailed the project management plan will be.
However the various 15 components are detailed, all of them must be contained or combined in some way within the project management plan.
It is important to note that the only parts of the project management plan that are created within the develop project management plan process are the scope management plan, the schedule management plan and the cost management plan.
Although other sections are developed in other knowledge areas even though they are integrated via this process.
Remember that the project management plan is progressively elaborated; this is also true in assembling it for the first time as well as later revisions all baseline versions.
The remaining sections of the project management plan are created in other PMBOK processes:
David spent 25 years as a senior project manager for US multinationals and now develops a wide range of project-related downloadable video training products under the Primer brand. In addition, David runs training seminars across the world, and is a prolific writer on the many topics of project management. He currently lives in Spain with his wife Jude.