Why Studying the PM Plan is Necessary for Your PMP Exam Success

Jan 17, 2020 | Project Management

Are you also in the process of preparing for your PMP exam? Well, have you understood and studied the PM Plan in detail? If you answered yes to the first question and no to the second, then you are at the right place. Studying for and clearing the PMP or Project Management Professional exam is no mean feat. You have to prepare for the exam with all due diligence and have to make sure that you have all aspects of the preparation covered.

Understanding the Project Management Plan is necessary for success in Project Management and also in your PMP exam. The Project Management Plan is necessary for successfully planning a project, and as a student preparing for the PMP exam you should know all about it.

In this article, we take a look at what the Project Management Plan contains, and how important it is for your success in the PMP exam.

What is the Project Management Plan?

The Project Management Plan or the PM plan is the single-most-important document for you as a project management student. The PMBOK guide mentions that the Project Management Plan is “the document that describes how the project will be executed, monitored, and controlled.” Since execution, monitoring and control are the three most important facets of Project Management, the significance of the PM plan cannot be hidden.

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Photographer: Glenn Carstens-Peters | Source: Unsplash

The objectives of a typical PM plan include documenting decisions and assumptions that you make during the course of your project. The PM plan also includes a documentation of all milestones, costs and high level goals along with the due communication of the pathway you will take for the execution of your project. The PM plan is not a document to be cast aside during the course of the project, as it keeps on being updated and includes subsidiary plans that take course over time.

The plan integrates all subsidiary plans and documentations within one document. It helps in the creation of a planning process group and eventually updates with the passage of time as the project proceeds forward. It can be called a living document that keeps on breathing more.

What are Subsidiary Plans?

Subsidiary plans and documents are the outputs generated through different planning processes. For instance, the plan for Cost Management would be an output of processes underlined under the broad heading of Cost Management. The Cost Management Plan determines just how the costs for a specific project would be structured, controlled and planned. The plan is considered a subsidiary of the overall Project Management Plan.

Subsidiary plans include the output from all planning processes. These planning processes include Scope Management, Schedule Management, Requirements Management, Process Management, Quality Management, Communications Management, Human Resource Management, Stakeholder Management and Procurement Management.

Subsidiary plans are defined on the basis of the specific needs regarding a project, the type of plan and the requirements expected from the performing organization. Subsidiary documents work as baselines developed during the planning process. These documents include the cost performance baseline, the schedule baseline and the scope baseline. The scope baseline is further segregated into the WBS, the WBS dictionary and the scope statement.

How are Changes Made to the PM Plan

Changes to the PM Plan are made through the use of a change control system. The system includes consistent methods for requesting, reviewing and approving the required changes. Requests for changing the plan are typically made through a form, which can either be in soft copy or in hardcopy. The project manager takes time out to review the changes before approving them.

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Photographer: Icons8 Team | Source: Unsplash

If the project manager isn’t available to review the changes, the responsibility is handed to the next person in charge. This could include the project sponsor, a change control board or a select set of stakeholders. Once a change is approved by the requisite authority, the PM plan is updated. Changes that do not come through the proper channel of Change Control System shouldn’t be approved as they can make the project go out of control. Unapproved changes aren’t good for the plan as they make processes go haywire.

Why is Understanding the PM Plan Essential for PMP Exam Success?

Understanding the PM plan is important for your PMP Exam success because it is the go to document for answering questions within your project. As a beginner you first need to determine questions that need a PM plan. The PM plan you draw should be able to reach conclusive answers on why a particular project was sponsored and the value it can add over time. The PM plan should identify people involved within the project and the objectives that are expected out of them.

It should also recognize and determine how the work is supposed to be executed and how the changes should be controlled and monitored. Once you include all these factors into your PM plan, you would be able to answer questions pertaining to what, who, why, when and how.

The PM plan contains a wide array of solutions, and we have just scratched the surface in this article. The plan includes many other facets such as how it can be used for communication, the importance of a Project Management Information System and how the plan guides us to project execution and control.

You can further study this topic in detail within the PMBOK Guide Book. Practice how to use a PM plan in detail before the exam, because practice makes you perfect, and perfection is just what you need to ace your PMP Exam.

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