Planning Process – Do you use Project Management Plans?

Planning Process – Do you use Project Management Plans?


Project Management Institute’s (PMI) A Guide to The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), Third Addition describes the Planning Process Group as the group of processes that “defines and refines objectives, and plans the course of action required to attain the objectives and scope that the project was undertaken to address” (p.41).


A common issue on many Programs and Projects is the lack of a Project Management Plan. In fact, many programs and projects are managed using only a project schedule. Net, managed without a Project Management Plan. This is potentially dangerous for the success of the program and/or project.

Helpful Hints

PMBOK, describes the Develop Project Management Plan process as the processes that include “ the actions necessary to define, integrated, and coordinate all subsidiary plans into a project management plan” (p. 88).

These subsidiary plans have their basis from each of the Project Management knowledge areas and consist of: integration, scope, time, cost, quality, human resources, communications, risk and procurement.

The Project Management Plan should not be viewed as a static document, created only during the planning phase and to satisfy some check mark on your organization’s check list. The Project Management Plan should be a living document, used by the Program and/or Project Leader, to manage the work effort, throughout the program/project life cycle. A detail description of the Project Management Plan is described in the PMBOK, Section 4.3 (pp. 88-91).

Personally, for each of my programs and projects, my Project Management Plan is contained in a Project Control Book (PCB). The PCB is usually a 3 ring binder. On some client engagements, the PCB may be on an internal client website. Personally, I prefer a binder so I can easily reference in program/project meetings (even if connectivity is down or, power is out – I try to have meetings in rooms with windows).

If as a Program or, Project Leader, you manage your programs/projects by only using a project schedule, you should find creating, and using, a Project Management Plan will help your leadership effectiveness. Try it on your next program/project.


Project Management Institute (2004). A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (3rd ed). Newtown Square: Project Management Institute.


Author Ira Hendon (MBA, PMP®) is an expert in program/project leadership consulting and protecting intellectual property. For a no-risk consultation, contact Hendon Group for more information and expert advice. Hendon Group is a full-service program & project leadership professional services & consulting firm, which focuses on helping organizations implement strategic and global initiatives.  To learn more and connect with Hendon Group, email us:; call: 866.201.0147; Or visit our LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook business pages.
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