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Friday, March 22, 2013

Updates to the Project Management Plan and Other Project Documents after Risk Response Planning

In the previous chapter, we took a detailed look at all the updates that happen to the Risk Register as a result of the risk response planning activity. In this chapter we are going to take a detailed look at the updates to the Project Management Plan. 

If you are a Project Manager by profession or have finished the PMP Certification already, you must have a very clear idea of what this Project Management Plan is. It is the heart of any project and contains details reg. almost anything and everything that is happening in our project. Though the title says updates to the project management plan, we will be covering updates to its subsidiary plans in this chapter as well. 

Updates happen to the Project Management Plan directly as a result of the Plan Risk Responses process. 

Are you wondering why the PM Plan would get updated as a result of planning responses to our risks? Think of it this way – if you have to handle a risk, you need to implement a response. To implement the response you need to spend time, resources (people) as well as cost. Technically speaking, any activity or work done by our team resources must be captured in the PM Plan including the time and cost spent in it. So, your risk response planning activity directly will cause updates to the PM Plan. Get the picture??? 

The following are the updates that happen to the Project Management Plan as a result of Risk Response Planning: 
• Agreed upon actions submitted into Integrated Change Control process, to be mentioned and traced as the project progresses
• Risk Response Strategies are fed into the impacted project management processes – esp. the schedule and cost related processes 
The following subsidiary plans in the Project Management Plan too will get updated as a result of this process: 
• Schedule Management Plan
• Cost Management Plan
• Quality Management Plan
• Procurement Management Plan
• Human Resource Management Plan
• Work Breakdown Structure 
• Schedule Baseline
• Cost Performance Baseline 
Updates to subsidiary plans related to cost, time and quality are straight forward to understand. Can you guess why the Work Breakdown Structure would get affected? 
Remember that, if you try to memorize all these updates, chances are that you won’t be able to recollect them easily in future. Understand the purpose of the activity and its impact to easily recollect these things in future. 

Updates to Project Documents 

Apart from the Project Management Plan, there are many other project related documents that may get updated after we finish planning responses to the identified risks. Whatever actions we have formulated to handle risks must be updated in the respective plans and documents. Just because we are not updating a high profile document named a Risk Register or a Project Management Plan does not mean that we can take this set of outputs lightly. Any update, no matter how trivial it might seem must be documented and stored appropriately for future reference. The typical updates to general project documents that might result as an output of this process are: 
• Updates to the Assumption Log and 
• Technical Documentation Updates 

A lot of people think of the Project Management Plan, as soon as we use the term “Project Documents”. In fact, if you say updates to project documents, people invariably assume that you are updating the PM Plan. Unfortunately project documents are a totally different set of documents. If you want to know the difference between the PM Plan and project documents, refer to Page 350 of the 4th edition of the PMBOK Guide 

Updates to the Assumptions log: 

Assumptions are a major source of risk to any project and we know that right? Assumptions can result in uncertainty which can directly result in risks. As we complete analysis and gather more and more information, many of the initial assumptions that were made during the start of the project may seem irrelevant now. When we started planning, for all practical purposes, we assumed that they were true. But, by this stage in our planning (after completing risk response planning) there would be a lot of clarity as to whether those assumptions still hold good or not. Any changes to the status of the assumptions must be updated into the assumptions log for future reference. 

Technical Documentation Updates: 

As we implement responses, we may make changes to the project deliverables, technical approaches etc. all these must be captured accurately for future reference. All documents related to the technical aspects of the project like WBS, Technical Design etc. must be kept up to date at all times. 
Lastly, every organization will refer to documents by different names. Remember to follow your organizations standard while tracking and updating your project documents.

Prev: Updates to the Risk Register

Next: Risk Related Contract Decisions

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