The Planning Phase focuses principally on required project planning work. Proper comprehensive project planning is essential to a successful IT project, and incomplete project planning and analysis are frequently root causes of project failure. Most project planning is conducted as part of the PMBOK Integration Management work, which includes defining the processes necessary to identify, define, combine, unify, and coordinate all project activities for successful project deployment.
1.0: Objectives / Goals
2.0: Deliverables and Approvals
4.0: Tasks and Activities
Successful completion of the Planning Phase should comprise:
The purpose of the Planning Phase is to plan all project processes and activities required to ensure project success and to create a comprehensive set of plans, known as the PMP, to manage the project from this phase until project termination.
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SDLC deliverables help State agencies successfully plan, execute, and control agency IT projects by providing a framework to ensure that all aspects of the project are properly and consistently defined, planned, and communicated. The SDLC document templates provide a clear structure of required content along with boilerplate language agencies may utilize and customize. State agencies may use formats other than the templates, as long as the deliverables include all required content.
The development and distribution of SDLC deliverables:
During the development of documentation, the Planning Team should:
The following is a listing of deliverables required of all projects for this phase of work.
Project Management Plan –
All deliverables other than those identified as Updates should be initially developed in this phase. Deliverables identified as Updates should be revisited and enhanced as necessary as prescribed in this phase.
Deliverables produced during this phase must be reviewed in detail and should follow the approval path as defined in the above table. A signature page or section should accompany each deliverable requiring approval. DoIT will periodically request copies of these documents as part of its oversight responsibilities.
The following personnel participate in the work activities during this phase:
Responsible – Describes role that executes the activities to achieve the task.
Accountable – Describes roles that own the quality of the deliverable and sign off on work that Responsible provides.
Consulted – Describes roles that provide subject matter expertise.
Informed – Describes roles that receive information about the task.
The Roles and Responsibilities page has detailed descriptions of these roles and the associated responsibilities.
The Project Manager ensures the following prerequisites for this phase are complete:
After completing the first three phases of the SDLC, agencies can select from one of several development paths suited to the specific project. By selecting the appropriate development path, an agency can reduce documentation redundancy. These development paths are as follows:
The Planning Team begins planning with the following tasks:
The Project Manager conducts and/or supervises the analysis required to understand all the dimensions of the project and documents this analysis in the PMP and its subsidiary plans. The Project Manager may assign some investigation and analysis tasks to other agency staff or members of the Planning Team.
The key elements of the PMP include:
The PMP must include the following subsidiary plans:
All vendor-produced project plans must include the proper schedule and activity for creating, reviewing, revising, and accepting all required SDLC documentation.
Throughout the life cycle, review all planning processes regularly and revise as needed to ensure continued applicability. Also, review and update the PMP and subsidiary plans at least quarterly.
The Project Manager with input from the key project stakeholders writes the Scope Management Plan and then creates the milestone list. The Scope Management Plan briefly reiterates the project scope, defines its verification and control procedures, and describes how requirements will be defined. The Scope Management Plan must address these scope management processes: Collect Requirements, Verify Scope, and Control Scope.
Collect Requirements – a process identifying how requirements will be further defined. Identify the requirements definition methodology, tools, techniques, and documentation to be utilized and the planned processes to ensure that requirements are defined to be complete, concise, consistent, and unambiguous. This section should clearly demonstrate how the Planning Team will define and validate requirements for all requirement types specified in the Functional Requirements Document template.
Verify Scope – a process defining how various products/deliverables will be periodically verified and formally accepted. This section of the Scope Management Plan should describe:
Control Scope – procedures for handling project change requests.
Procedures to ensure all potential project scope changes are vetted properly through the established Change Control process. With the Procurement Officer, define procurement-related change control measures, i.e., change order processes.
The Project Manager, with input from the key project stakeholders and the initial WBS, refines the WBS into further detail, develops the baseline schedule and defines the Schedule Management Plan. The initial WBS, developed during the Concept Development Phase, will be progressively elaborated to define specific work activities, activities sequence, estimate resources, and estimate duration that will be needed to complete the project. The refined WBS will be used to develop an initial baseline schedule. The Schedule Management Plan establishes the specific procedures for how the project schedule will be managed and controlled and is as detailed as necessary to control the schedule through the life cycle based on the size, risk profile, and complexity of the project. The Project Manager should consider the six schedule management processes described below in the development of the schedule baseline and the Schedule Management Plan. The development of the schedule baseline will involve activity definition, activity sequencing, activity resource estimation, and activity duration estimation. The Schedule Management Plan should be focused on the methods for controlling the schedule.
The Project Manager includes IV&V processes as discrete WBS work tasks if the project is subject to IV&V review.
Other WBS considerations include:
Sequence Activities – identification of WBS dependencies and order among activities. Identify and document the logical relationships among schedule activities.
Estimate Activity Resources – estimation of the type and quantities of resources required to complete identified activities.
Estimate Activity Durations – estimation of the approximate duration to complete work packages. Using the refined WBS, the team members most familiar with the identified work package should estimate the duration of scheduled activities.
Develop Schedule – develop the baseline project schedule after analyzing all defined WBS activities and work packages, sequence, resources, and duration. This section also includes identification of tools to use for managing the project schedule.
Control Schedule – methods for controlling changes to the schedule.
The agency must manage the master project schedule, including both agency and contractor tasks. As such, it is critical that the Schedule Management Plan identify planned master schedule management activities to be executed throughout the project life cycle.
The Project Manager and the Procurement Officer create the cost baseline and the Cost Management Plan. Beginning with the preliminary cost estimates identified in the Concept Development Phase, the Project Manager develops updated cost estimates to perform the work included in the updated schedule. The Cost Management Plan establishes the activities and criteria for planning, structuring, and controlling project costs. Cost estimating and cost controls are the most important evaluation and control items in State projects. Costs and cost variances must be reported regularly to DoIT and other oversight organizations. Any cost change over five percent requires legislative approval.
The Project Manager should consider the three cost management processes described below in the development of the cost baseline and the Cost Management Plan. The development of the cost baseline will involve updated cost estimation and budget determination. The Cost Management Plan should be focused on the methods for controlling costs.
Estimate Costs – development of a complete estimate of the funding needed to complete project activities, including operations, maintenance, and support costs for the life of the project. See Section 4.5 of the Concept Development Phase for information on various cost estimating methods. Estimate costs by evaluating each WBS work package, and logically partition and report costs into incremental, manageable pieces, including:
Determine Budget – combination of work package costs to establish an overall budget. Aggregate the estimated costs of each scheduled activity or work package, and establish a total cost performance baseline for measuring project performance. When aggregating the estimated costs, add a budget line item for IV&V (see ITPR Guidelines and instructions for estimated IV&V costs). Not all projects are selected for IV&V reviews, but cost allocations for the activity are advisable for all MITDPs. Also consider:
Control Costs – establishment of procedures to manage the established cost baseline, so the project is completed on time and on budget. These procedures assist in ensuring that cost expenditures do not exceed the authorized funding, by period, deliverable, or in total.
Planned cost control activities must address the following:
The Cost Management Plan should identify how the team will update other relevant project documents (e.g. PMP) when cost variances are identified.
When identifying cost performance monitoring plans, consider performance measurement techniques identified by PMBOK. For example, PMBOK, Chapter 7 describes earned value techniques, which compare the budgeted cost of work performed to the budgeted cost of work scheduled and the actual cost of work performed.
Ensure that planned financial reporting for MITDPs adheres to the DoIT quarterly reporting guidelines.
The Project Manager with input from key project stakeholders and the Procurement Officer creates the Quality Management Plan and the quality baseline, which identify the relevant quality standards and determine how those standards will be satisfied. The Quality Management Plan should address three quality management processes: plan quality, perform quality assurance and perform quality control.
Plan Quality – verification processes to ensure that the system is successful, that project stakeholders are satisfied, and that deliverables are accepted.
Perform Quality Assurance – procedures for ensuring the effectiveness of quality management processes and quality standards. This section of the Quality Management Plan describes how and when the team will monitor and report effectiveness and how the team will implement corrective actions to ensure that quality management processes and standards are defined and implemented to ensure optimal project performance.
Perform Quality Control – review activities focused on the quality of deliverables, including the system, to determine adherence to quality standards and criteria. This section of the Quality Management Plan describes the procedures for evaluating deliverable and project performance and for recommending necessary changes. Quality control procedures should address monitoring overall project performance, including cost and schedule performance, as well as the quality of all project activities and deliverables. Quality control activities for the system should identify the testing activities, tools, techniques, and desired outputs to ensure quality attributes are built into the design and tested throughout the life cycle. Quality control tools and techniques may include quality inspections, inspection schedules, and/or quality audits, and outputs may include bug fix logs of inspection errors referenced against a Requirements Traceability Matrix. Testing is an ongoing activity that can provide early warning long before the application is released into production if it is not up to standard.
The Project Manager with input from key project stakeholders creates the Staffing Management Plan and the Resource Calendar. Staffing Management Planning further determines:
The Staffing Management Plan elaborates on staffing work completed in the Concept Development Phase – the preliminary organization chart, RAM, and preliminary staffing estimates – by describing how and when human resource requirements will be met.
The Staffing Management Plan will contain for each team member:
A Staffing Management Plan contains:
A Staffing Management Plan must consider resource needs for the full life of the system including operations and maintenance. Because internal agency resources assigned to the project will no longer be able to perform their operational duties, the Staffing Management Plan should identify the additional resources required to support agency operations without interruption.
Additional optional areas of the Staffing Management Plan include:
The Project Manager with input from key project stakeholders develops the Communication Management Plan. Communication planning is one of the most important subsidiary plans in the PMP. It describes the processes required to ensure timely and appropriate generation, collection, distribution, storage, retrieval, and disposition of project information. For more information on communications planning, see PMBOK, Chapter 10, fifth edition.
The Communication Management Plan describes the detailed processes and techniques the team will use to collect, store, and report on project progress. It is often multi-dimensional; as there are multiple stakeholder groups that require information on the project, the Communication Management Plan details who needs exactly what information, when they need it, how it will be delivered, and by whom.
The Communication Management Plan is an important first step in managing project stakeholders’ expectations, which is an important factor in project success. The Project Manager are primarily responsible for ensuring that project communications are conducted appropriately throughout the project, but the work of disseminating information can be delegated to other team members.
Consider DoIT a key stakeholder when developing the Communication Management Plan. Align project status reports with the data needs of DoIT.
Key elements of the Communication Management Plan include:
Project performance reporting involves collecting all project baseline data and distributing performance information to project stakeholders. Performance reporting (i.e. status reporting) generally provides information on scope, schedule, cost, quality, issues, and risks, completed activities within the reporting period, activities that have not been completed and why, upcoming activities, and a list of pending, approved and rejected project changes.
The Project Manager with input from key project stakeholders creates the Risk Management Plan (RMP) and the Risk Register, which detail how teams will identify, manage, and mitigate risk. For the RMP template, visit the SDLC Templates page. Active management of project risks increases the probability of positive events and decreases the chances of negative events within the project life cycle. This subject is described in detail in Chapter 11.1 of the PMBOK guide.
Developing a RMP during the Planning Phase reinforces the concept that risk identification and mitigation are highly important activities, which, if properly addressed, serve to reduce overall project risk. Whenever practical, involve the Executive Sponsor and the Project Sponsor in risk identification and mitigation activities throughout the project life cycle. Identify in the RMP how the Project Manager will routinely provide the Executive Sponsor and the Project Sponsor with complete insight into all known risks.
Be sure to give special consideration to security risks and the processes for evaluating whether the system meets state security standards.
DoIT maintains a system of five risk categories and 12 to 15 sub-categories. These risk classification values are included in the Risk Management Plan template. When developing a RMP, use this classification schema for easier project reporting throughout the life cycle.
Key elements of the RMP include:
A RMP typically contains the following sections:
An RMP also includes an issue management plan with an actively managed issues log that identifies, assigns responsibility, and tracks issues through to closure.
The Project Manager and the Procurement Officer create the Procurement Management Plan to define the procedures to purchase or acquire all products and services needed from outside the team to perform project tasks. The Project Procurement Management processes include six key steps. For more detailed information, please refer to Chapter 12 in the PMBOK, fifth edition. The Project Manager should update the schedule to include all procurement activities identified as part of procurement management planning. Visit the DoIT website for an example procurement schedule.
The Procurement Management Plan should identify plans for the following procurement management processes:
Plan Purchases and Acquisitions – development of solicitation documents to seek responses from multiple businesses that wish to provide a needed service for the agency. These documents must have sufficient detail and concrete measurable criteria to ensure consistent, comparable bidder responses but also be flexible enough to allow consideration of contractor suggestions for better ways to satisfy the requirements. If an agency elects to have contractors conduct some SDLC activities, the contractor must be explicitly instructed in procurement documents to describe the methods it will use to develop SDLC documents, supply all pertinent SDLC document samples with the bid packages, and supply a schedule for when these key documents would be received. It is also good policy to specify fixed price deliverables and provide detailed acceptance criteria in advance in order to avoid later confusion and cost overruns.
Plan Contracting – development and preparation of documents needed to support the Request Vendor/Contractor responses process and the Select Vendor/Contractor process.
Request Vendor/Contractor Responses – release of a Request for Proposal (RFP) or Task Order Request for Proposal (TORFP).
Select Vendor/Contractors (proposal evaluation process) – receipt of bids, quotes, or proposals and application of pre-determined, published evaluation criteria to select qualified contractors or sellers. Evaluation criteria vary based on overall project needs. Key project stakeholders should be involved in evaluating all aspects of proposed solutions from a technical perspective.
Contract Administration – verification that the contractor meets contractual requirements and performs in accordance with the terms and conditions of the agreed contract. The key areas of contract management include:
Contract Closure – establishment of procedures to verify and document project deliverables and formalize the Project Sponsor’s acceptance of those deliverables. If the project is cancelled, the Project Manager documents the reasons and obtains sign-off from the Project Sponsor. Also, determine processes for the contract and administrative close-out in this part of the PMP. Refer to PMBOK, section 4.6 for further direction.
Involve key project stakeholders in determining effective acceptance practices for project deliverables. Use a requirements traceability matrix to verify deliverables have met contractual standards. After the key project stakeholders verify the deliverable meets the requirement, the Project Manager executes formal acceptance.
The Project Manager with input from the Procurement Officer creates the Change Management Plan, which documents how project changes will be monitored and controlled from project inception through completion. The Change Management Plan should address:
The Project Manager with input from key project stakeholders creates the Stakeholder Management Plan, which documents how individuals, groups, and organizations will impact the project and how they will be impacted by it. Because of their varied interests, influence, and other characteristics, they will require different strategies to maximize support for the project and minimize resistance to it.
Note that Stakeholder Management was added as a separate knowledge area in PMBOK fifth edition. Therefore, it is an optional deliverable in the project planning phase. New projects should consider including it, while projects in progress do not need to backtrack and create it.
All stakeholders who could possibly impact the project or be impacted by it should be identified in the sub-plan. The eventual strategy for some groups might be to do little or nothing for them, because of their low impact or low influence, but including them produces a comprehensive and thorough plan. The team might also find that stakeholder needs change over time, requiring more attention than believed at the beginning of the project.
Although any component of the Project Management Plan has the potential to be sensitive, the Stakeholder Management Plan should receive particular consideration for limiting its distribution and involvement of some groups. Some stakeholders might resent how they are characterized, analyzed, or otherwise described within the plan.
The Stakeholder Management Plan should address:
When appropriate, agencies may develop other planning documents, such as:
The Project Manager and the Planning Team prepare and present a project status review for the Agency CIO, Project Sponsor, Executive Sponsor, and other project stakeholders after completing all Planning Phase tasks. This review addresses the following:
The Project Manager must obtain deliverable approval signatures before proceeding to the Requirements Analysis Phase.
Update the project documentation repository upon completion of the phase-closure activities.
The approval of the PMP, the execution of the Planning project status review, and the approval to proceed to the next phase signify the end of the Planning Phase.
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