Project Plan vs Project Management Plan

project plan vs project management planFew months backs while attending a technical seminar suddenly a topic “What is the difference between the Project Plan and the Project Management Plan” came up in front of us and we start discussing it, and this discussion leads us to some interesting facts. Today, I am going to share with you this experience added with my research on this topic.

Although, this topic is not very important for the PMP Examination point of view, however, you will find theses definitions in the PMBOK guide as well; therefore, it will be no harm to you if you know the difference between the Project Plan and the Project Management Plan.

  • Project Plan is very broad and deals with high level planning, while the Project Management Plan is described in very detail.
  • Project Plan deals with “What” part of the project and the Project Management Plan deals with “How” part of the project.
  • Project Plan defines the vision and the Project Management Plan are executed to achieve the vision.
  • Project Plan is the plan to successfully complete the project, while project management plan defines and develop the system to be used to complete the project successfully.
  • For large projects, Project Plan and the Project Management Plan are different documents but for smaller projects, they can be merged.

In brief, we can say that the project plan is formal approved document used to broadly guide the project and facilitate communication among stakeholders. Project Plan speaks in general about the project, for example it will talk about why the project is undertaken, what value it will add to the organisation, what will be the output of the project or deliverables, who will be involved, deadline, milestones, budget, scope and technology to be used.

A Project Management Plan is a formal approved documents that defined how the project will be executed, monitored and controlled and how the scope will be managed. A Project Management Plan is composed of many subsidiary plans. Project Management Plan is meta-plan of the Project Plan and it is the actual plan is followed by the project team to successfully complete the project.

Hope the difference between the project plan and the project management plan is clear to you.


  1. Edward says

    Hi Fahad,
    Thanks for this. Is the project plan the same with project charter? Contractor call it as project plan while project owner call it as project charter?

    Or would you please explain what is the Project Charter in the view of the contractor?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. says

    Hello Fahad
    Thank you for the super clear example. I managed to make the project teams understand overall on the finally after lenghty discussion.

    Best luck to you

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