As soon as the project manager has received his brief or project instructions, he must produce a document which distils what is generally a vast amount of information into a concise, informative and well-organized form that can be distributed to all members of the project team and indeed all the stakeholders in the project. This document is called a project management plan (PMP), but is also sometimes just called a project plan, or in some organizations a coordination procedure.
The PMP is one of the key documents required by the project manager and his/her team. It lists the phases and encapsulates all the main parameters, standards and requirements of the project in terms of time, cost and quality/performance by setting out the ' Why', ' What', 'When', 'Who', 'Where' and 'How' of the project. In some organizations the PMP also includes the 'How much', that is the cost of the project. There may, however, be good commercial reasons for restricting this information to key members of the project team.
The contents of a PMP vary depending on the type of project. While it can run to several volumes for a large petrochemical project, it need not be more than a slim binder for a small, unsophisticated project.
There are, however, a number of areas and aspects which should always feature in such a document. These are set out very clearly in Table 1 of BS 6079-1-2002. With the permission of the British Standards Institution, the main headings of what is termed the model project plan are given below, but augmented and rearranged in the sections given above.
2 Contents, distribution and amendment record
3.1 Project diary
3.2 Project history
4 Project aims and objectives 4.1 Business case
5 General description
5.2 Project requirement
5.3 Project security and privacy
5.4 Project management philosophy
5.5 Management reporting system
6 Programme management
6.1 Programme method
6.2 Program software
6.3 Project life cycle
6.4 Key dates
6.5 Milestones and milestone slip chart
6.6 Bar chart and network if available
7 Project organization
8 Project resource management
9 Project team organization
9.1 Project staff directory
9.2 Organizational chart
9.3 Terms of reference (TOR)
(b) for the project manager
(c) for the committees and working group
10 Delivery requirements
10.1 Site requirements and conditions
10.2 Shipping requirements
10.3 Major restrictions
11 Project approvals required and authorization limits
12 Project harmonization
13 Project implementation strategy
13.1 Implementation plans
13.2 System integration
13.3 Completed project work
14 Acceptance procedure
15 Procurement strategy
15.1 Cultural and environmental restraints
15.2 Political restraints
16 Contract management
17 Communications management
18 Configuration management
18.1 Configuration control requirements
18.2 Configuration management system
19 Financial management
20 Risk management 20.1 Major perceived risks
21 Technical management
22 Tests and evaluations
22.1 Warranties and guarantees
23 Reliability management (see also BS 5760: Part 1)
23.1 Availability, reliability and maintainability (ARM)
23.2 Quality management
24 Health and safety management
25 Environmental issues
26 Integrated logistic support (ILS) management
The numbering of the main headings should be standardized for all projects in the organization. In this way the reader will quickly learn to associate a clause number with a subject. This will not only enable him/her to find the required information quickly, but will also help the project manager when he/she has to write the PMP. The numbering system will in effect serve as a convenient checklist. If a particular item or heading is not required, it is best simply to enter 'not applicable' (or NA), leaving the standardized numbering system intact.
Apart from giving all the essential information about the project between two covers, for quick reference, the PMP serves another very useful function. In many organizations the scope, technical and contractual terms of the project are agreed in the initial stages by the proposals or sales department. It is only when the project becomes a reality that the project manager is appointed. By having to assimilate all these data and write such a PMP (usually within two weeks of the hand-over meeting), the project manager will inevitably obtain a thorough understanding of the project requirements as he/she digests the often voluminous documentation agreed with the client or sponsor.
Clearly not every project requires the exact breakdown given in this list and each organization can augment or expand this list to suit the project. If there are any subsequent changes, it is essential that the PMP is amended as soon as changes become apparent so that every member of the project team is immediately aware of the latest revision. These changes must be numbered on the amendment record at the front of the PMP and annotated on the relevant page and clause with the same amendment number or letter.
The contents of the project management plan are neatly summarized in the first verse of the little poem from the Elephant's Child by Rudyard Kipling:
I keep six honest serving-men (They taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When, And How and Where and Who.
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What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.