Why to Create a Project Management Plan?
It is suggested that the goals and objectives of the project be firmly tied to the general mission, objectives, and strategy of the organization. Senior managers are to precisely portrait the objectives of the project and reveals how the project’s results would lead the organization to its goals. The clearer and the more precise beginning a project has, the less likely the project go astray.
What to include in Project Management Plan
Techniques such as Fish Bone, 5 Whys, and SWOT analyze not only are useful in creating Project Charter, but they also help to plan the project with more accuracy. However, whatever the technique and the process are for planning, the outcome must generally clarify:
1- The technical scope of the project (though might be changed later).
2- Performance responsibility.
3- Allocated budget and expected delivery date by the parent organization/client.
4- Risk Management group should be created.
In other word, although the process of developing project plan varies in each organization, the project plan is suggested to contain the following elements:
This summary provides the top management with a short explanation about the scope and the objectives of the project and how those objectives are going to be tied to organization goal. It also contains the explanation of the managerial hierarchy and the list of major milestones in the project timeline.
- Objective and scope
This is a more precise statement about the project goals which was already in the overview. It also should explain the cost/benefit, technical goals and competitive goals of the project.
- General approach
It indicates managerial and technical strategy to the work. The managerial strategy describes deviation from the existing approach of conducting the work such as hiring subcontractors. The technical approach describes how the project fits with existing technology of the organization.
- Contractual aspect
This is a very important section of the project plan as it involves a description of reporting expectation, advisory committees, project review and cancelation procedure, technical deliverables in details, delivery schedule plan and explanation about the procedure of applying a change in any of above elements.
It reveals all schedules and the list of all milestone of the project. The schedule should be obtained from those who are to perform the work with signature confirmation. It is an important document as the baseline schedule would be extracted from this section.
This consists of two main parts. The first part explains both capital and expense expectation of each task in details which lead to the preparation of project budget. The second part describes the procedure to monitor and control of cost.
This section clarifies the personnel requirements. It outlines the special skill, type of training needed, recruitment process, legal or policy restriction on labor or any other specific requirement such as security clearance. The personnel timeline and resources are recommended to be checked against each other to prevent any inconsistency as they are internally linked to each other.
- Risk management plan
It generally reveals the potential problems and opportunity of the project and describes a plan to deal with them. There is controversy among the Project Manager as to whether to include this section in the project plan or not as some believe it helps if the PM hold a positive perspective toward the project. Once the problem occurred, the PM would cope and adjust the project to the new condition. However, Zwikael et al. (2007) argued that in high- risk projects, if the risk management approach is considered in planning the projects, schedule overrun, cost overrun, technical performance, as well as customer satisfaction, would improve.
- Evaluation method
The performance of every project should be evaluated continuously against success criteria. The success criteria vary by different organization and projects. The performance evaluation is influenced by the direct and ancillary goals of the project. For instance, the PM must consider the health of the project team and cannot burn out the team to achieve the direct goals of organizations.
It should be highlighted that the formal process of project planning is required for a large project only, not a routine project. The effort, cost and the time of the process are not justified for routine projects.