Sometimes people confuse the project management plan with the schedule or the scope plan. But it's more than that.
A project management plan is the planning document, capturing the entire project end-to-end, covering all project phases, from initiation through planning, execution and closure.
A comprehensive plan covers at least the followings areas and components:
(Note: A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide -- Fourth Edition) covers these in Chapter 3. Instead of putting the elements one by one, I grouped them by purpose/meaning.)
- Overview: Why the project is being conducted and its primary objectives
- Scope: Business needs, requirements, deliverables, constraints and work breakdown structure
- Schedule: Activities schedule and project milestones
- Costs: Project budget and its funding approach
- Quality: Quality measurement and control approach
- Project team: The people working on the project, their roles and responsibilities
- Communication: Communication type, channels and the reporting approach
- Risks: Risk index, methods to identify and evaluate risks, risk mitigation and contingency planning
- Procurements: Required procurements and purchase processes
- Closure: Closure approach, including the deliverables hand-off protocol
- Changes: Procedures used to track changes in the project
- Baselines: Scope, schedule and budget baselines
When writing a project management plan, the approach depends again
on the project's size and context. I personally use the following approaches:
- The master document approach is where the entire project, with all the underlying planning details, is documented within the same master plan.
- The index approach, when all subsidiary planning documents are written as separated documents and linked or referenced in an index-like plan.
What approach do you use when crafting a project management plan? What elements do you use?