What to know about the Project Management Plan and passing the PMP!

Happy Saturday! Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

As I was running my weekend errands and doing my chores, I realized how important a plan was.

Have you ever heard the expression “Running around like a chicken with no head”?

That is definitely me 90 percent of the time.  But, the more I incorporate the PMI processes into my daily life, the more organized I am.

So, today I figured I write about the Project Management Plan and its importance.

Often my students ask me to elaborate on the Project Management Plan and explain to them how they can get those questions correct on the exam.

How many knowledge areas does PMI teach us?  If you answered 10, you are correct.

How many process groups does PMI teach us? If you answered 5, you are correct.

Now in the planning process group, did you notice each knowledge area starts with

Plan _____ Management…

So, what do you think that means.  If you said we need to plan before we start anything that is correct.

Remember the saying “Fail to plan, plan to fail”

Think about it in your daily life as well.  Don’t you plan how to make your dinner?  Do you plan your outfits before going to work or to a nice dinner event?

I think you get the jest of it now, right. So, let’s take a look at the definition of Project Management Plan

A Comprehensive baseline of what has to be achieved by the project, how it is to be achieved, who will be involved, how it will be reported and measured and how information will be communicated.

It should be used as a reference for any decision that is made on the project and for clarification of unclear areas.  Such a document should be used as a reference throughout the project to ensure that the management of the project is carried out consistently and in line with policy and procedures. It should be a living document that evolves as the project progresses and is updated with the latest relevant information as required.

Wow! That was a long definition. Did you read it twice or even three times?  Yes, go back and reread it.

Let me simplify the definition.  I always tell my students to think of the he plan as a novel with 18 chapters, each chapter is an instruction guide, a how to guide for the specific knowledge area, additional specific areas and baselines.

It does not have the project documents.

It will answer the questions of who, what, where, when and how of managing the specific knowledge area.  If you go back to the textbook definition, you will see the word How many times.

Let’s give an example.  If a new project manager comes onto the project and needs information about communication on the project. Where do you think s/he will look?

If you answered in the Project Management Plan, that is correct!  I would open the Communication Management chapter and read what was written for communicating with the stakeholders on the project.

Now does that make sense?

Things to Remember:

  • It is approved by the sponsor and key stakeholders!
  • 18 chapters (10 knowledge areas, 3 baselines (Scope, Schedule, Cost) and 5 additional areas (Configuration, Change,, Requirements, Development, Performance Measurement)
  • Only a How to Guide (who, what, where, when and how)
  • Planned in the planning process group with the project team
  • Living document that updates as approved changes are implemented on the project and gets reapproved
  • Besides the 3 baselines other project documents are not in the plan

I know a lot of students have a tough time grasping the concept of the Project Management Plan; it is definitely a lot of information to absorb.  But, as you’re studying try to put what you’re learning in your daily lives.

It doesn’t have to be your professional life; it can be your personal life.  Everything we are taught in PMI we can definitely relate to one way or the other.  It becomes a way of life!

The objective is always to make things more efficient and effective.  Make sure you understand the logic and the reason PMI is teaching us that way.  You will be a step closer in passing the test.

I hope this post clarified your understanding of the Project Management Plan. I would love to hear your feedback and please comment with any questions you have.

If you want to see a different topic posted please let us know. We are here on this journey with you every step of the way!

Good Luck! Watch out for more posts getting you closer to the finish line!

Till next time!

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