Project Management 101: Basics for a Project Management Plan

Having a Project Management Plan is an essential tool for being a successful Project Manager; especially if you lead or work in a Project Management or Program Management Office.project photo

There are several templates available that can be used; some on the Internet and some from Microsoft Word.  Regardless of the template used, there are certain elements that I have personally found to be necessary within the plan.  These are the basics that have worked for me.  (Note: no budget or financial information is included.)

  1. Purpose: explain the purpose of the plan. For example, your intent may be to provide structure, organization, and consistency, but elaborate on these briefly.
  2. Application: this includes the areas, people, and projects for which the plan is applicable.
  3. Project Management Documents: list the documents that will be used so that stakeholders know what to expect throughout the life of the project. This might include basic documents such as a Milestone List, Project Plan, Status Report, Issue Log, and Project Closure Report.
  4. Process: this may include your outlined process for project initiation and project work flow. This is also helpful to make stakeholders aware of what to expect.  It may be even more advantageous to include flow charts at the end of the document for these processes.
  5. Communication Management Plan: this is the plan for communicating with both internal and external stakeholders and should include documents, timing, and method of delivery.  If this is small it can be included here; otherwise you can make a minor reference to a separate document.
  6. Change Management Process: this is the process for requesting, estimating, approving, and implementing changes to a project.  Again, if this is small it can be included here; otherwise you can make a minor reference to a separate document.
  7. Status Reviews: you should include a section for this if it is particularly crucial to your project management process.  This is a meeting to update members of management internally on the status of the project along with issues, risks, deadlines, deliverables, etc.
  8. Project Completion and Follow-Up: this last piece explains the process for deploying the project and can include information such as when to expect deployment, what the issues were and a review of the issue log.

Project Management Plan elements can and should vary according to your business, company, and project(s).  However, the items listed above are essentials to keep in mind as you create your plan.

Originally published on Experts Pages on 6/11/13

About Sandy

Sandy is currently a Freelance Writer, IT Project Manager, and Program Management Office Manager. She has years of experience as a business professional in various industries (online and offline) including retail, food, technology, marketing, customer service, and fulfillment. She believes that as a work-from-home professional business is just as important in a remote setting as it is in a physical office.
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