project-devlope-3Develop & deliverables the Project Plan is completed in the Planning phase of a project. For large projects, this stage may be run as a mini-project with a team of people dedicated to performing the effort. For very small projects, the plan may be developed by a group of people as a part-time job. Because various skill sets are required to complete a successful Project Plan, it is a difficult task for one person to develop the entire plan. During this project phase, details of the plan are determined and an approach is defined. The full Project Plan is then developed.

Even during the Planning phase, the development of the Project Plan is an iterative process. Each element of the plan is regularly revisited for changes and refinements, based on further analysis and decisions made in developing other plan elements. This refinement also develops buy-in from the Project Team and Stakeholders. Note, however, that project baselines (i.e. Schedule, Budget, Scope and Quality) should only be changed through a formal Change Control process.

It is critical to get buy-in to the Project Plan from the involved parties prior to actually starting the project. Approval of the plan commits the resources needed to perform the work.

project-devlope-2The Project Plan is a formal, approved document used to manage and control project execution. The Project Plan is a compilation of text and stand-alone deliverables created during the Initiation and Planning stages. The level of detail should be appropriate for the scope, complexity and risk of the project.

The following is a list of key components usually included in a Project Plan:

  • Project Charter
  • Project Overview
  • Scope Statement
  • Business Objectives
  • Project Objectives
  • Assumptions and Constraints
  • Project Deliverables and Milestones
  • Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
  • Project Procurement and Sourcing Strategy
  • Project Schedule
  • Project Organization and Governance
  • External Interfaces
  • Internal Structure
  • Roles and Responsibilities
  • Resource Plan
  • Staffing Plan
  • Phase Exit Criteria (Systems Development Life-Cycle Phase Checkpoints)
  • Project Cost Estimate and Budget
  • Risk Management Approach
  • Issue Management Approach
  • Scope Management Approach
  • Organizational Change Management Approach
  • Quality Management Approach
  • Stakeholder and Team Communication Approach
  • Configuration Management Approach.

While each of these areas should be discussed within the Project Plan, it is still imperative to develop documents and processes that describe each of these in detail.

Once the Project Manager completes the Project Plan, it should be reviewed (i.e., using the Project Planning Review Checklist) and approved by department management and the Executive Committee. The level and extent to which the plan will be reviewed is based on the size of the project as stated in dollars or period of time. Ultimately, the review process allows for executive management buy-in and approval of the plan. Once the Project Plan is approved and signed, the Project Manager is given the authority to complete the current project efforts and enter into the Execution phase.