A plan provides a statement of how and when objectives are to be achieved, by showing the major products, activities and resources required for the scope of the plan. In PRINCE2, there are three levels of plan:
- Project Plan
- Stage Plan
- Team Plan
Team Plans are optional and may not need to follow the same composition as a Project Plan or Stage Plan.
A Project Plan provides the Business Case with planned costs, and it identifies the management stages and other major control points. It is used by the Project Board as a baseline against which to monitor project Progress .
Stage Plans cover the products, resources, activities and controls specific to the stage and are used as a baseline against which to monitor stage progress. Team Plans (if used) could comprise just a schedule appended to the Work Package(s) assigned to the Team Manager . A plan should cover not just the activities to create products but also the activities to manage product creation - including activities for assurance, quality management, risk management, configuration management, communication and any other project controls required.
The Plan is derived from the Project Brief , Quality Management Approach (for quality management activities to be included in the plan), Risk Management Approach (for risk management activities to be included in the plan), Communication Management Approach (for communication management activities to be included in the plan), Change Control Approach (for configuration management activities to be included in the plan), Resource availability, and Registers and logs.
The Plan can take a number of formats including: A stand-alone document or a section of the Project Initiation Documentation ; Document, spreadsheet, presentation slides or mindmap; Entry in a project management tool. The schedule may be in the form of a product checklist (which is a list of the products to be delivered within the scope of the plan, together with key status dates such as draft ready, quality inspected, approved etc.) or the output from a project planning tool.
The following quality criteria should be observed:
- The plan should be achievable.
- Estimates are based on consultation with the resources, who will undertake the work, and/or historical data.
- Team Managers agree that their part of the plan is achievable.
- It is planned to an appropriate level of detail (not too much, not too little).
- The plan conforms to required corporate or programme standards.
- The plan incorporates lessons from previous projects.
- The plan incorporates any legal requirements.
- The Plan covers management and control activities (such as quality) as well as the activities to create the products in scope.
- The plan supports the Quality Management Approach, Change Controll Approach, Risk Management Approach, Communication Management Approach and project approach.
- The plan supports the management controls defined in the Project Initiation Documentation.