Project Management Plan and Three Angles of PM Triangle
August 23, 2010
A foundation for calculating project time, scope and budget
PM Plan Definition
Excellence in managing projects can be achieved through effective development and oversight of a complex project management plan that includes actions unique to each project stage. Project Management Plan (PM Plan) is a primary document of a project that states and records key management and oversight tasks to carry the project from its initiation stage through completion and closure.
Project Management Plan is not a one-time and permanent document; it’s developed at planning stage and continuously updated throughout the project as new changes occur. Project Management Plan includes definitions of an owner’s objectives, technical requirements, calendars and schedules, resources, budgets, and management actions. PM Plan also gives a foundation to calculate and prove efficiency. In the context of project documentation, PM Plan serves as the basis and outlines the commissioning plan for the complete execution.
PM Triangle – Scope, Cost and Time
Development of Project Management Plan should result in delivering a clear understanding and sense of project cost, schedule, and scope. In other words, the control of Project Management Plan can be taken only when cost, schedule, and scope of current project are realistically defined, clearly documented, and carefully managed. A combination of scope, cost and time creates the so-called Project Management Triangle.
Project management triangle has the angles that are called Scope, Cost and Time. Project managers use project management triangle to visualize a project and get a clear understanding of its constraints. In this context, the following project constraints can be outlined:
- Scope constraint refers to technical objectives that define what should be done and how to produce the final product. The project’s technical objectives are based on a clear understanding of the business requirements.
- Cost constraint refers to project budget that should realistic and affordable. Project budget reflects an amount of money required to meet all project requirements, cover project scope and deliver the final product according to project schedule.
- Time constraint< refers to project schedule that should be achievable and appropriate for the business requirements. Project schedule indicates an amount of working hours required to create, run and accomplish the project.
These three project constraints (the angles of project management triangle) are often interdependent: an increase of project scope typically entails an adequate increase of time and costs; a tight project schedule (the time constraint) results in increased project costs and reduced project scope; and a tight budget (the cost constraint) can mean extended project schedule and lower technical requirements (the scope constraint).
The main idea of project management triangle is to find a balance between technical performance, the project schedule, and the project budget. Achieving the balance will largely effect success or failure of current project and let adjust the total project performance to fit with organizational priorities and business needs. A typical project involves situations when the project constraints should be changed. Usually these situations are about extending the project scope, accelerating the project schedule, and reducing the project costs.