Project Documentation ,10 Essential Project Documents

Project Documentation ,10 Essential Project Documents infographic
Project Documentation ,10 Essential Project Documents infographic

Project Documentation – 10 Essential Project Documents

PMP aspirants often ask these common questions : What is project documentation ? and Is project documentation important for the success of a project? Project documentation is vital for any projects success. Project teams use hundreds of project documents while they are managing their projects. All the documents are essential and they serve different purposes.

For instance risk management documents are essential to manage risk processes within a project. Health and safety reports are used to reduce or eliminate hazards at source. Project work schedule is vital to plan the start and end date of the deliverables in order to complete the project on time. However project management teams use some essential project documents which are directly related to the production itself. In this article we will discuss the importance of project documentation and review 10 essential project documents.

Project Documentation

Project managers often deal with delivering sophisticated projects. Their business do not only involve delivering the project tasks on time and budget but also perform project documentation successfully.

Documentation is a written material that provides official information regarding to the project such as records, procedures, plans and reports. Therefore project documentation should be officially written and should include right information.

Why Do We Need Project Documentation ?

Since the project documentation includes maintained or recorded material, project teams need project documentation in order to provide the proof of traceability. Project documentation also helps to track the project performance which is important for decision making.

Experienced project managers always understand the importance of project documentation because it plays a key role for dispute resolution. For example let’ say that you are managing a project and one of your subcontractor asserted a time extension claim against to you. The sub contractor attached daily work force reports to the claim file and asserted that he brought enough labor for the task. According to him all the delays must be are attributable to you.

When you analyzed the project’s daily reports that the project team created, you detected that the sub contractor didn’t bring enough labor and material. In the view of the fact that all the delays are attributable to the sub contractor because his performance was not enough for the task.

10 Essential Project Documents

Project documentation serves the purpose of providing reference of something done. Therefore it is very important for the success of any project. There are many project documents created through the life cycle of a project. However we will discuss ten of them below.

Project Charter

Project Charter is also known as the project definition document. Project vision, objectives, goals, business reason are defined in this document. It is an official document that formally authorizes a project. It also defines the stakeholders and the teams involved in the project.

Project Scope

The project scope involves all the works, processes, methods required to deliver the project deliverables. Project Scope is the work performed to deliver a service, result or a product. All the project requirements and the agreed scope of work are involved in this document.

Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

WBS is used to divide the project into manageable sections. Work packages are listed hierarchically in order to manage and organize the project’s scope. Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is a key document used for project planning, resource management.

Project Management Plan

Project management plan is a comprehensive document defines how the project is planned, executed, monitored, and controlled. Project management plan includes but not limited to management plan, configuration management plan, baseline schedule and cost.

Project Schedule

Project schedule includes high level details of project phases, activities and milestones. Activities are grouped under WBS levels and resources are alocated to the activities.

Quality Assurance Plan

A quality assurance plan includes quality objectives, quality management system, standards and guidelines, quality records in order to meet the organizations quality requirements.

Risk Management Plan

A risk management plan is created to identify risks and implement methods to reduce them. By the help of risk management plans, risks can be monitored and controlled. A risk assessment matrix is an integral part of a risk management plan.

Work Performance Reports

Work Performance Reports collect project information and compare the actual and the planned values in order to measure the project’s performance. Work Performance Reports improve the project manager’s and stakeholder’ s decision making.


A project budget is a financial document that involves direct and indirect costs, expenses, cash flows and the prices of the work packages. Material, sub contractor, labor and equipment costs of each work package are analyzed to calculate the overall project budget.

Project Communication Plan

Establishing an effective communication system is vital for a successful project management. A project communication plan includes communication tools, methods and roles within a project.


As we mention in the first paragraph, all the project documents are essential and they serve different purposes. Project documents must meet the traceability and quality requirements. They must be well arranged and easy to read. Understanding the function of each document provides success in project management. In addition to that establishing a proper document control system is as important as creating and using project documents.

In this article we discuss the importance of project documentation and ten essential project documents. If you want to add or share anythimg related with project documentation, please use the comments box given below.

See Also

Difference Between Project Proposal and Project Charter

External References

American Society for Quality (ASQ)


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