Project Management Plan : A Short Guide

Understanding the Project Management Plan
Understanding the Project Management Plan

If you are working in the field of project management or preparing for the PMP Certification exam, most probably you have heard the project management plan. A project management plan is a comprehensive document which involves many complementary sub documents such as scope of work, baseline schedule, management plans, work breakdown structure, improvement plans etc.

However, some PMP aspirants mistakenly think of a Project Management Plan as a work schedule or a Gantt Chart. The objective of this document is to provide a guideline of what has to be done, how it will be done and reported and who will be involved. Understanding the project management plan helps aspirants to pass the PMP Certification Exam and become more successfull in their field of business. In this article we will provide a solid understanding of the project plan to help you to pass the PMP Certification Exam.

Before to start, it is essential for you to have a clear understanding of the definition of the project management.

Project Management

A project is unique in and it requires specific set of operations because it is not a routine operation. It has specific start and end dates, defined scope and resources. Unlike other business activities, many experts come together temporarily to achieve a specific target. Experts are sometimes from various organizations and across multiple countries. Therefore effective teamwork is key to success for any project.

A new software development, the construction of a hospital, the expansion of sales for a new product are examples for projects.

Many professionals think that project management and just ‘management’ are identical. However this is not true. Unlike “management”, project management has a final deliverable and a finite timespan. Therefore, it requires some technical and business skills. On the other hand, management is an ongoing process.

Simply put, project management is the practice of applying skills, tools, and techniques to project tasks and processes in order to meet the projects objectives. It deals with managing various packages of work to achieve specific objectives. The scale, significance and complexity are the factors that affect the management strategies.

Project management processes can be grouped in five groups which are, Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring and Controlling, Closing.

Project Management Plan

A project management plan is a formal document created by the project manager by using the inputs from the stakeholders and the project team. It describes the execution, monitoring and controlling processes of the project. Baseline schedules, baseline budgets, management plans and other related prıject documents are the integral parts of the project management plans. Simply put, this plan defines how the project team will deliver the scope of the project.

As the components of the project management plan, baseline schedule, baseline budget and scope baseline are used to make performance measurement calculations during the execution of the project. If there is a schedule variance and/or cost variance, the project management team takes corrective actions to correct the deviatios. If the variances between the planned and actual figures are too much and the corrective actions fail, formal change requests to the baselines become necessary.

Project management teams spend most of their time with controlling the variances between the planned and the actual figures. Without establishing an efficient planning system, a project can not be completed as per the plan.

Primary Components of the Project Management Plan

Below are some of the primary components of a project management

Creating a Project Management Plan

A project management plan is described as an output of the Develop Project Management Plan process in the PMBOK Guide. Before to start creating this plan, it is important to understand key project deliverables and the scope.

Complementary documents of the project management plans are created in several processes defined in the PMBOK Guide. For example scope management plan, cost management plan and schedule management plan are prepared in Develop Project Management Plan process. Communication management plan is created in the plan communications process.


  • The Project management plan describes the details to guide how a project is executed, monitored, and controlled.
  • The Project management plan involves a group of subsidiary plans such as scope management plan, communication plan, risk management plan, change management plan etc.
  • The project management is a formal approved document plan which describes the system to be used to complete the project successfully.


Project management involves the management of various tasks, activities, people, resources and stakeholders to achieve specific targets. Therefore it requires effective planning, budgeting and documentation.

Project management plans are detailed documents that include several project management documents. Simply put, this document defines how a project is executed, monitored, and controlled.

It is different than a work schedule or a Gantt Chart because it is a comprehensive document which involves schedules. The project manager creates this document by using the inputs from the project team and the stakeholders. It must be approved formally. The approval process of this document changes based on the organization structure.

This is where we will end our discussion on the topic of this article. We would like to see your approaches on this subject and let us know if your organization uses such plans in project management. You can use the comments box below to add or share your thoughts.

See Also

Project Scope Management : A Short Guide

Project Management Reporting : A Short Guide

External References


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