Project Management

7 Essential Project Planning Documents

Project failure can be avoided, and planning documents are among the most important tools to help the PM avoid such catastrophe. These documents can bring consideration to diverse factors from project size and design, to complexity and organizational planning standards. PMP Marian Haus, writing for PMI, lists seven documents that no PM should be without.

7 Essential Documents

1. Project Management Plan: a reference index of all planning / project management documents.

2. High-level Project Schedule Plan: highlights project phases and important milestones useful for stakeholders of the project.

3. Project Team Planning: identifies roles and tasks of various team members to ensure goals and responsibilities are communicated effectively. 

4. Scope Plan: contains the project requirements, agreed project scope, and Requirements Traceability Matrix (RTM) summary.

5. Project Work Plan (Detailed): a guideline for central team members that tracks the discrete activities, costs, durations, resources, and milestones of the project. 

6. Quality Assurance Planning: identifies the necessary quality standards for aligning deliverables, including metrics, policies, and deviation definitions.

7. Risk Planning: (most underestimated document) includes identifiable risks and related mitigation plans, as well as potential project opportunities.

Making use of this list before beginning any project can enhance the overall quality of the project. Haus notes that it can be custom-tailored to suit a PM’s needs based on available assets, time frames, or relative need for detail.

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