Developing a Project Management Plan

Instructor: Audrey Brown

Dr. Audrey E Brown’s Mastery in Program/Project Management consists of five certifications, along with 15+ years of experience in the field.

A project management plan ensures delivery of projects on time, within budget, with the agreed-upon scope. Learn about the subsidiary plans that comprise it, inputs, and the tools and techniques essential for success.

Building a Project Management Plan

When an architect designs a structure, she creates multiple blueprints or drawings that outline the full scope of the project, including floorplans, as well as placement of electrical, HVAC, and plumbing systems, called an architecture plan. Similarly, project managers create a project management plan, which consists of multiple smaller subsidiary plans for the purpose of strategically laying out how a project will be executed, monitored, controlled, and closed.

The project management plan is a group of documents that map out a delivery strategy for a specific project; as new information is learned, the plan can be updated. It's considered part of the output of the planning process because once completed, the project itself is ready to get underway according to the parameters of the documents contained within it.

Subsidiary Plans

Project management plans are generally made up of one or more subsidiary plans. While the Project Management Institute (PMI) has identified nine key subsidiary plans, not all of them may be right for every project. The nine subsidiary plans are:

  1. scope management
  2. scheduling management
  3. resource management
  4. quality management
  5. process improvement
  6. staffing management
  7. communication management
  8. risk management
  9. procurement management

Some project management plans may also include minor plans, such as milestone list, resource calendar, schedule baseline, cost baseline, quality baseline, and risk register.

It's the job of the project manager to lay out the key objectives of the project, work with team leads to decide what tasks are needed to reach those goals, and who (or which departments) need to be involved to carry out those tasks. A project management plan is a way of recording and communicating that information, and keeping everyone on schedule. You can think of key and minor subsidiary plans as the building blocks for the project management plan.


The next step is to identify the inputs for the project management plan: the project scope statement, project management process, enterprise environment factors, and organizational process assets:

  1. Project Scope Statement: The project manager shares client's expectations.
  2. Project Management Process: The project manager shares the client's established or estimated cost of the project, the types of roles needed to complete the tasks, a proposed delivery schedule, and identification of related assumptions and constraints.
  3. Enterprise Environment Factors: This is a list of relevant factors you can't control; however, these uncontrollable can create problems for your project. A project management plan acknowledges these factors, such as the temperament of the organizational culture, or whether there's a plan to use the in-house resources or external resources as known as professional services.
  4. Organizational Process Assets: Organizations generally have established standardized processes for implementing projects and data management. The project management plan must outline the application of an organization's standardized policies and procedures. It must also show how the project complies with organizational guidelines for management of data. For instance, some organizations may prohibit data from being moved offsite; therefore, the client will not allow you or your staff to work from home.

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