The Project Plan is an integrated plan of each of the nine knowledge area plans and a tenth critical addendum. The Project Plan is like the Business Plan of the project. Also, there are companies that organize their business around a set of projects, implementing Business Project Governance.

These ten plans are:

1. Scope Document (Scope Plan): contains the customer’s requirements, constraints, assumptions, what will be included, what will be excluded, general context and considerations. Also it clearly identifies the Scope stakeholders and who will be the Scope approvers. In summary, the Scope Document is more than the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), because this is only how the Project Manager is facing his project. However, customers can’t approve or nor reject the structure of task. They can only approve of the final results that are expected. An earlier article was provided concerning this point.
2. Milestones Plan: identifies how the project will be delivered. The delivery requirements are also very important, complementing the Scope Document. This plan establishes the dates when each deliverable must be completed. Also, it establishes who will deliver that deliverable and who will be responsible for accepting it.
3. Communications Plan: remember that communication is also a requirement. Customer (or external) communication requirements exist along with internal communication requirements. The Communications Plan must include both. They also define the scope of communications. For example, if we agree to have a monthly review with our Customer, we don’t have to respond to ten emails daily communicating to him or her concerning the project’s progress. Additionally, remember that the Advertising/Marketing Plan is part of the overall Communications Plan.
4. The Schedule (Time Plan): identifies all tasks and work packages, and the sequence in which they will be done. Upon this point is where the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) and estimates of duration are needed. Each task has a person who is Responsible and a Start/Finish date. All estimates and task schedules have been agreed with the persons who are Responsible (this is an important point which is not often done).
5. Resource Utilization Plan: identifies all the resources (HR and material) needed for completing each of the tasks and is an agreement with the persons who are Responsible to afford them.
6. Procurement Plan: completes the Resources Plan, including all the purchases and scheduled deliveries needed during the project’s execution.
7. The Budget (Cost Plan): remember that the project started with a set of Business Goalsand a Business Plan to achieve them. For this reason, they provide you with a budget. Now it is time to plan how you will invest this budget in order to achieve the results that the Business needs. You will need a projection of time on how the budget will be transformed into results (completing milestones). At the end of the project, if all has gone as expected, you will have exhausted the budget and delivered all the value expected by the business.
8. Risk Management Plan: the success or failure of the project will depend mainly on this point. I mean, the way the Risks will be handled throughout the project (before becoming Problems). At the early stages of every Risk, things can always be solved and/or mitigated. The first Risk identification must be in the planning phase, completing an accurate Risk Management Plan inside the integrated Project Plan. Later, any time a new Risk or a change to a previously defined Risk is encountered, it will be necessary to review this Plan.
9. Organizational Plan (the Project Relationship Model): having identified all the project stakeholders, all the requirements of communications, and also the HR needs in the Resources Plan, it is building the organization (roles and responsibilities) that will be established during the project’s execution. Also this plan will define the final meetings and committees to report about the progress of the project.
10. Safety Plan: this is almost always not included – but also very important. There are legal obligations concerning the labor safety of all participants in the project (not only direct staff, but also indirect staff). If the project is going to be accomplished in an office environment, then probably the Corporate Safety Plan can be used. On the other hand, and most likely, the project will deliver a product outside of the office and the project team members will have to go to places not usually visited by the corporate staff. So the Project Manager must always include within the Project Plan the Safety Plan.
Finally remember that the Project Plan is intended to make a management decision about whether to proceed or not (“go or not go”) with the execution of the project. Therefore, we need to be very accurate (in order to get the acceptance but also to have good options to successfully complete it). More so than not, a high percentage of projects fail due to their Project Plan. Don’t hesitate to invest the time needed to review and agree to all points with each stakeholder affected (internal and Customer). Later, this will result in time saved and the project’s execution will flow like water.

What is your advice about the best way to define a Project Plan?
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Author: angelberniz (All Rights Reserved by the author).
Source: Original text (based upon first hand knowledge).
Image: © Yuri Arcurs –
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