A project management plan is a formal, approved document that defines how the project is executed, monitored and controlled. It may be summary or detailed and may be composed of one or more subsidiary management plans and other planning documents. The objective of a project management plan is to define the approach to be used by the Project team to deliver the intended project management scope of the project. The project manager creates the project management plan following input from the project team and key stakeholders. The plan should be agreed and approved by at least the project team and its key stakeholders.
[On a side note: In many organizations the term "project management plan" and "project schedule" are often used interchangeably. If this is the case in your organization, then please make sure that you understand that for the PMP Exam, these are two distinctly different documents. We will discuss the project schedule in next week's tip.]
The PMBOK Guide 4th Edition also defines Develop Project Management Plan as the process of documenting the actions necessary to define, prepare, integrate, and coordinate all subsidiary plans. The project management plan defines how the project is executed, monitored and controlled, and closed. The project management plan content will vary depending upon the application area and complexity of the project. The project management plan is developed through a series of integrated processes until project closure. This process results in a project management plan that is progressively elaborated by updates and controlled and approved through the Perform Integrated Change Control process.
The project management plan typically covers topics used in the project execution system and includes the following main aspects:
It is good practice and mostly required by large consulting and professional project management firms, to have a formally agreed and version controlled project management plan approved in the early stages of the project, and applied throughout the project. Project planning is part of project management, which relates to the use of schedules such as Gantt charts to plan and subsequently report progress within the project environment.
Get a full load of the definition and examples of the Develop Project Management Plan process in the Project Management Body of Knowledge Guide (PMBOK Guide) Fourth Edition, 4.2 to 4.2.3