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Characteristics Of A Good Project Plan

Posted on | July 1, 2008 | Comments Off on Characteristics Of A Good Project Plan

No, I am not talking about the project schedule; I am talking about the “real” project plan again. A good plan has to help the project team to achieve the goals of the project at each phase. It states how the work will be performed.

Even PMs who have successfully completed previous projects require a large number of decisions on questions such as the following:

• What work needs to be done

• How it will be done

• How long the work will take

• Who will do the work and where

• How much it will cost

To answer the above questions, a good project management plan, as it is now called by PMI’s PMBOK, (for simplicity, we’ll call it project plan in this article) must address the following areas:

• Project scope management plan – Includes the processes required to ensure that the project includes all the work required, and only the work required, to complete the project successfully. It is primarily concerned with defining and controlling what is and is not included in the project

• Schedule management plan – Sets the format and establishes criteria for developing and controlling the project schedule

• Cost management plan – Sets the format and establishes criteria for planning, structuring, estimating, budgeting, and controlling project costs

• Quality management plan – Describes how the project management team will implement the organization’s quality policy

• Process improvement plan – Details the steps for analyzing processes that will facilitate the identification of waste and non-value added activity in order to increase customer value

• Staffing management plan – Describes when and how human resources requirements will be met

• Communication management plan – Describes the communications needs and expectations for the project; how and in what format information will be communicated; when and where each communication will be made; and who is responsible for providing each type of communication

• Risk management plan – Describes how project risk management will be structured and performed on the project

• Procurement management plan – Describes how the procurement processes will be managed from developing procurement documentation through contract closure

The development of the project plan does not have to be done all in one shot at the beginning of the project. As a matter of fact, chances are you will not be able to do it all in one shot but as more things are known about the project. This progressive detailing of the project management plan is often called “rolling wave planning” indicating that planning is an iterative and ongoing process.

Now, don’t get caught up too much into complying with best practices and going by the book. A good project plan is one that contains all the information that’s needed and expected, and one that you can manage. Don’t you think so…? Well, I do.


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