Establish and maintain the overall project plan.


A documented plan that addresses all relevant planning items is necessary to achieve the mutual understanding and commitment of individuals, groups, and organizations that execute or support the plans. The plan generated for the project defines all aspects of the effort, tying together the following in a logical manner:

  • Project lifecycle considerations
  • Project tasks
  • Budgets and schedules
  • Milestones
  • Data management
  • Risk identification
  • Resource and skill requirements
  • Stakeholder identification and interaction
  • Infrastructure considerations

Infrastructure considerations include responsibility and authority relationships for project staff, management, and support organizations.

Lifecycle considerations can include coverage of later phases of the product or service life (that might be beyond the life of the project), especially transition to another phase or party (e.g., transition to manufacturing, training, operations, a service provider).


For software, the planning document is often referred to as one of the following:
  • Software development plan
  • Software project plan
  • Software plan


For hardware, the planning document is often referred to as a hardware development plan. Development activities in preparation for production can be included in the hardware development plan or defined in a separate production plan


Examples of plans that have been used in the U.S. Department of Defense community include the following:
  • Integrated Master Plan—an event driven plan that documents significant accomplishments with pass/fail criteria for both business and technical elements of the project and that ties each accomplishment to a key project event.
  • Integrated Master Schedule—an integrated and networked multi-layered schedule of project tasks required to complete the work effort documented in a related Integrated Master Plan.
  • Systems Engineering Management Plan—a plan that details the integrated technical effort across the project.
  • Systems Engineering Master Schedule—an event based schedule that contains a compilation of key technical accomplishments, each with measurable criteria, requiring successful completion to pass identified events.
  • Systems Engineering Detailed Schedule—a detailed, time dependent, task oriented schedule that associates dates and milestones with the Systems Engineering Master Schedule.

Example Work Products

  1. Overall project plan