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Types of Documentation in Project Management

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.

Project Management consists of multiple types of project documents. This lesson will discuss the most common project documents and provide guidance on when to use them.

Multiple Types of Documentation in Project Management

Documentation in project management is essential. There are many types of project documents, which are also known as project artifacts. How do I decide on the documents to use for my projects? Your Project Management Offices (PMOs) will provide you with guidance regarding the minimum required project documents to use on your projects. Your PMOs will not penalize you for using additional documents above the required documents; however, your PMOs will penalize you for failing to use the minimum required project documents.

Below are 10 common project documents, including formal and informal project documents:

  1. Project Schedule: Typically, project managers use project software to manage their projects' schedules, resources, dependencies, and project costs.
  2. Risk Management: A Risk Management document is used for the purpose of capturing risks by group, category, and it allows you to rank or prioritize your risks. Risks could convert to issues and then block your project from moving forward.
  3. Issues Log: Issues could block your project from moving forward or delay your implementation date. You need to use this document to track your issues to completion.
  4. Project Budget: It is imperative to track your project budget. This document allows you to track all costs associated with your project. Project costs include resources, hardware (servers, computers, etc.), software, and vendors.
  5. Communication Plan: This is a key project document because it proactively communicates to all of your stakeholders your communication media, frequency of communication, and communication content. You do not want your stakeholders guessing about your communication strategy.
  6. Project Status Report: You need to communicate (ideally weekly) your project status to your stakeholders. You should report on progress/accomplishments, risks, issues, and next steps.
  7. Project Charter: This document captures the mutual agreement and initiation of a project. The charter contains a high level schedule, high level assumptions and constraints, and project requirements.
  8. Meeting Agenda/Minutes: Document your formal status meeting. Many organizations have existing meeting templates for you to create your meeting agenda. Meeting attendances have a tendency to be higher when invitees can verify in advance that your meeting will be productive. You should recapture the meeting discussions using your meeting minutes document because it would help to provide clarity after the meeting and/or uncover discrepancies.
  9. Quality Assurance (QA) Test Plan: Reviewing and authorizing your projects' QA document could save time and money later during your project testing phase. The QA document contains the testing strategy, testing tools (automation), high level duration, and number of QA testers.
  10. Project Management Plan: The Project Management Institute (PMI) consolidated nine subsidiary plans (formal project artifacts), which are:
  • Scope management
  • Scheduling management
  • Resource management
  • Quality management
  • Process improvement
  • Staffing management
  • Communication management
  • Risk management
  • Procurement management

Documentation Tools

Many organizations will establish project templates and project software to assist project managers with completing their administrative tasks. Although this lesson expounded upon 10 of the most common project document templates, the Project Management Institute (PMI) offers over 1,000 project document templates as a membership benefit. Admittedly, selecting from 1,000 templates could be overwhelming; however, the point is to provide a large collection of project document templates in order for Project Management Offices (PMOs) to select the best templates suitable for their organizations.

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