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Is there any difference between "Project Plan" and "Project Management Plan"?

Wikipedia describes both terms as follows:

Project Managemen Plan:

The project management plan is a document that describes the project management system used by a project team.

The objective of a project management plan is do define the approach to be used by the Project team to deliver the intended project management scope of the project.

The project manager creates the project management plan following input from the project team and key stakeholders.

The plan should be agreed and approved by at least the project team and its key stakeholders.

The project management plan typically covers topics used in the project execution system and includes the following main aspects: - Scope Management; - Schedule Management; - Financial Management; - Quality Management; - Resource Management for resources like people, tools and others; - Communication Management; - Project Change Management; - Risk Management; and - Procurement Management

It is good practice and mostly required by large consulting and professional project management firms, to have a formally agreed and version controlled project management plan approved in the early stages of the project, and applied throughout the project.

Project Plan:

A project plan 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 stakeholders, and document approved scope, cost, and schedule baselines. A project plan may be summary or detailed."

PRINCE2 defines

"a statement of how and when a project's objectives are to be achieved, by showing the major products, milestones, activities and resources required on the project."

In some industries, particularly information technology, the term "project plan" can to refer to a Gantt chart or other document that shows project activities along a timeline. While common, this use is inaccurate. These types of documents are more accurately described as project schedules and are only one component of a true project plan.

At a minimum, a project plan answers basic questions about the project:

  • Why? - What is the problem or value proposition addressed by the project? Why is it being sponsored?
  • What? - What is the work that will be performed on the project? What are the major products/deliverables?
  • Who? - Who will be involved and what will be their responsibilities within the project? How will they be organized?
  • When? - What is the project timeline and when will particularly meaningful points, referred to as milestones, be complete?

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.


PMBOK on page 369 gives more consise definition of the Project Management Plan, and doesn't have separate definition for the Project Plan:

Project Management Plan [Output/Input].

A formal, approved document that defines how the projected is executed, monitored and controlled. It may be summary or detailed and may be composed of one or more subsidiary management plans and other planning documents.


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