Project Management Plans
Management Plans are critical for the success of any project. The strategy to execute and manage the project and the processes related to knowledge areas of scope, schedule, cost, quality, human resources, communications, risk, and procurement is documented in Management plan. Thus, each knowledge area has a management plan. When creating a plan, the project manager must think ahead of time on all the activities that he plans to carry out during the course of the project. The thinking should cover all aspects of the project management process such as particular needs of the project, how will you manage the project and how will you control it.
For example, you need to think about how you will identify changes for this project. You would need to think about the entire process flow of what would happen after a change is identified. You would also need to think about who would approve the change and which documents/trackers would be used to document and review the changes. Management plans are required at all steps and differ from project to project. They are exclusive to each project in order to address the project’s particular needs.
The level of details and the formats used in management plans should be customized to fit the environmental factors of the organization, needs of the project and also the working style of the project manager. For example, in continuation to the above example of Change Management Procedure, the management plan must address what happens after a change is identified, who will coordinate the requested changes, who will approve those changes, which formats (such as Change Control Register (CCR), Change Request Form (CRF)) are to be used and who will implement the changes.
As Integration Management is an important job responsibility of a project manager, Management Plans is an integral part of a project managers job.
Baselines (Performance Measurement Baseline)
During the planning stage, scope, schedule and cost baselines are created for inclusion in the project management plan. The project manager measures and reports project performance against these identified baselines.
Project Scope Statement
Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
Schedule Baseline: The agreed upon schedule, including the start and stop dates
Cost Baseline: The time-based cost budget (i.e. the spending plan indicating how much money is available for the project and when the funds are available)
All the three baselines are together termed as performance measurement baseline.
One of the critical responsibilities of a project manager is to clearly, completely and realistically identify the baseline for the scope, schedule and cost budget. The project managers job doesn’t end at this. His own performance and the projects performance is measured against the baselines. Any deviation of the project work against the baselines need to be tracked and actions have to be taken to mitigate the problem. A formal change request will be inevitable if actions do not correct the deviation. As a project manager, your ability to control the project is as important as the ability to plan it. This is because a substantial part of project control is making sure the baselines are achieved. Getting the project completed as planned also ensures that the sponsor and the champion get complete benefits of the project they have initiated.
Baseline changes should not be encouraged. Baselines are the foundation of any project and changing the baselines would mean working on the foundations again. However, changes to the baseline can be formally requested in other phases such as project execution, monitoring and control. These requests are evaluated and approved by the Change Control Board of the project team in Perform Integrated Change Control Process. An audit trail should be made available to show why and when changes were made.
Requirements Management Plan
A requirements management plan describes how the efforts of analyzing stakeholders needs, wants, expectations, and assumptions will be done to identify, analyze, and document the requirements, as well as how the requirements will be managed and controlled throughout the project.
Change Management Plan
Changes are inevitable in a project. Ensuring that we are following the project as per the project management plan is more important. Changes can have positive effect on the project and can also lead to negative effects. When you work as a project manager, you are not just expected to facilitate these changes made by others but also stand as a barricade to avoid unnecessary changes and to plan the project that would help in minimizing the need for changes. It is observed since the beginning of project management that changes are always costly compared to its inclusion at the beginning of the project. Change management is a critical activity done by a project manager and he should ensure complete attention and dedication is given to this process.
In a change management plan, we include the process of managing and controlling change which further includes:
Change control procedures
Change Control Board (CCB)
Levels of approvals for authorizing changes
Outline of a plan on how changes are managed and controlled
Meeting and communication plan regarding changes
Tools and applications used by organizations to track and control changes
Change Control System
Change Control system is a part of organizations enterprise environmental factors and include tools and softwares to track and control changes such as standardized forms, reports, processes, procedures, and applications. This change control system generally exists as a part of Project Management Information System (PMIS) of the organization.
Configuration Management Plan
A configuration management plan is a plan to manage changes to the deliverables and the resulting documentation, including the organizational tools you will use while managing these changes. This plan helps everyone know the different versions of the scope, schedule and other components of a project management plan.
Configuration Management System
Configuration Management system is a part of Project Management Information System (PMIS). Like the change control system, it contains the tools and methods of tracking and controlling the evolution of project documentation and includes the organizations standardized configuration management tools, processes and procedures.
Process Improvement Plan
While you plan for the project, you can use a combination of using the existing practices and processes of the organization or create new processes of your own. It is also imperative to plan to improve these processes during the course of the project. Some of the benefits of improving processes are helping the team complete work faster, with lesser cost and with maximum quality. Let’s say that a project includes conducting one-on-one interviews of several hundred customers. You should find a process to execute the task. After a few interviews are conducted and then again after more installations are completed, the project manager should look for ways to improve the process. This effort will allow the team to complete the work faster, with less effort and at a lower cost.
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