The Project Management Plan concerns itself with how the project is going to be managed. This includes consideration for the project management systems to be used to coordinate the plan and the project. The systems that are used are also very important in providing feedback to senior management.
The whole set of systems used in the Project Management Plan includes the tools, techniques and methods, in the words of PMBOK, used to manage the project. These tools, techniques, and methods may or may not be the same across all projects in the project portfolio. One challenge within organizations, from an overall organizational perspective, is managing and controlling the portfolio of projects and programs that the organization has decided to undertake.
Deciding on systems, often automated, for managing projects consistently across the portfolio is important for two reasons.
- There can be economies in using consistent systems across the projects. These economies can be resolved from synergistic support avoiding discounts on software, common training, common language and common knowledge base about the systems.
- Consistent systems used across projects can provide consistent reporting across the projects, making comparisons across the portfolio possible and meaningful to upper management.
This will enable good communication between project execution and project portfolio management to ensure that not only are the projects on track, but the portfolio as a whole is on track for whatever is intended to accomplish. Likewise, of course, deviations can just as easily be spotted, and there is assurance that all projects and programs are being measured in the same way.
So, the Project Management Plan is intimately related to the project portfolio management process. In terms of priorities, the most effective thing is to focus on getting the metrics aligned. This means the Project Portfolio Management determines which metrics are needed for each project to determine if they are on track versus the intention or objectives of the Project Portfolio. Likewise those metrics should drive the objectives of each individiual Project Management Plan. Now all projects will have coordinated types of objectives measured by the same metrics to be utilized for Portfolio Management.
The key is that the selected metrics for the portfolio are critical to proejct and program success across the organization.