A project plan, according to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), is: "...a formal, approved document used to guide both project execution and project control. The primary uses of the project plan are to document planning assumptions and decisions, facilitate communication among project stakeholders, and document approved scope, cost, and schedule baselines. A project plan may be summarized or detailed."[full ]
The latest edition of the PMBOK (v5) uses the term project charter to refer to the contract that the project sponsor and project manager use to agree on the initial vision of the project (scope, baseline, resources, objectives, etc.) at a high level. In the PMI methodology described in the PMBOK v5, the project charter and the project management plan are the two most important documents for describing a project during the initiation and planning phases.
The project manager creates the project management plan following input from the project team and key project stakeholders. The plan should be agreed and approved by at least the project team and its key stakeholders.
The objective of a project plan is to define the approach to be used by the project team to deliver the intended project management scope of the project.
At a minimum, a project plan answers basic questions about the project:
To be a complete project plan according to industry standards such as the PMBOK or PRINCE2, the project plan must also describe the execution, management and control of the project. This information can be provided by referencing other documents that will be produced, such as a procurement plan or construction plan, or it may be detailed in the project plan itself.
The project plan typically covers topics used in the project execution system and includes the following main aspects:
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