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Planning Process Map (pdf 95kb)

Plan the Work is the portion of the project management process that produces the Project Management Plan. The construction management plan should complement the pre-construction PMP and integrate pre-construction information and commitments as appropriate. See the Online Guide Construction phase for further detail.

Project Management Plan
The Project Management Plan defines the project performance baseline-the project deliverables, schedule and budget plans-and the management methods used by the project team to deliver the project.

The project performance baseline documents the project team's detailed goals for the performance of the project within the scope, schedule, and budget parameters established by region or organization management. The baseline includes:

  • Scope - the deliverables to be produced by the project team.
  • Schedule - the logical sequence of work and related milestones.
  • Budget - the allocation for the project.
  • Risk - potential risks to the project.

The Project Management Plan includes the Risk Management , Change Management , Communication Management , Quality Management, and Transition and Closure plans. These plans help align the team toward uniform goals and describe how the team will:

  • Manage risk events and change,
  • Ensure quality requirements are met,
  • Identify how, when and who will need and receive what project information,
  • Plan for an effective transition or closure.


  • Completed Initiate and Align Worksheet
  • Capital Program Management System (CPMS)

WSDOT resources and training:

Templates and checklists:

WSDOT offices:


  1. Identify the Enterprise Project Structure (EPS) for your project and create the project Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) . Together, they provide a hierarchical coding structure that is required to define projects in the Project Management and Reporting System (PMRS) . Various EPS options (see below) are available to meet region, mode or project needs.
  2. The lowest level of the EPS is the transition point to the highest level of the project specific WBS, which is the project WIN title. The WBS specifies and categorizes the work to be done. Additional detail beyond the phase level is determined by project management and reporting requirements. See the WSDOT EPS/WBS Guidelines .

    Plan The Work

    The Master Deliverables List (MDL) may be used as the basis for creating the project WBS. It is organized by phase and includes a comprehensive list of deliverables and common WSDOT milestones. The MDL provides consistent task names at the deliverable level with flexibility for the project manager to assign and name the appropriate activities. See Using the MDL in Primavera for further information.

  3. Identify the appropriate work packages for the project and create the project schedule. The project manager may choose to identify discreet work packages below the phase level, such as work done by a specialty group, consultant or contractor.

    Work packages represent specific groupings of work such as Project Management, Roadway Engineering, Hydraulics, Right of Way, Environmental, Traffic, Utilities, Bridge, Materials, Geotech, etc. Document work performed by the specialty group in the internal scope of work agreement (pdf 67kb). Group work packages to establish control accounts; see Control Account guidelines (pdf 156kb) for further detail.

  4. The WBS provides the structure for project Schedule Development ; identify the applicable milestones and activities to deliver the work product. Solicit input from the entire project team; including specialty groups and consultants. See PMRS Initial Schedule Development process (pdf 93kb) document and map (pdf 35kb)

    Additionally, the Deliverable Expectation Matrix is a resource for identifying a range of project development milestones and deliverables in the general order of a PS&E project.

  5. To complete the schedule; estimate durations, establish activity relationships and define the logical order of the work. Obtain and incorporate specialty group and/or consultant deliverables, schedule and cost estimates; link those activities to the appropriate predecessors, successors and milestones. Specialty group activities are documented in the internal scope of work agreement (pdf 67kb) and cost estimates may be entered in PMRS at a summary level. ( Internal SOW agreement template ) (docx 37kb). This schedule is saved as part of the project performance baseline.

  6. Determine whether you are using roles/resources or expenses for planned costs. In PMRS, the planned value is created by allocating either the project costs to the activity resources or expenses detail. This planned value is saved as part of the project performance baseline. See the Desktop Procedures for Primavera Scheduler (pdf 1.47mb) and PMRS Cost Management training .

    PMRS provides the ability to cost load the project schedule, track actual costs and forecast the remaining costs of the work to be performed. Estimate at Completion and actual expenditures are compared to the planned value in the project performance baseline and the committed funding in the Capital Project Management System (CPMS).

    Contact the Strategic Analysis and Estimating (SAEO) office for additional information and training for estimating project costs.

  7. Review the schedule and cost estimate to ensure the project scope and requirements are met. Evaluate and confirm the critical path and milestones; including the Ad date and operationally complete milestones. Project managers and PMRS administrators may use the PMRS Quality Assessment Tool (pdf 1.09mb) to measure and maintain project schedule quality.

  8. Distribute, review, and analyze the draft project schedule and cost estimate with all parties involved in the delivery of the project. Assess impacts and resolve any issues.

  9. Identify variances between the CPMS authorized amount and milestones and the PMRS planned value and milestones. Reconcile and discuss with region or organizational management before seeking endorsement and setting the project performance baseline.

Along with the project performance baseline, the PMP describes how the team will manage project progress and performance. The PMP addresses Risk Management , Change Management , Communication Management , Quality Management and Transition and Closure . Development of the PMP is an iterative process; as the plan is developed it may trigger a change to the scope, schedule or estimate. For example; the team identifies a potential risk event where construction work over a fish-bearing stream will occur during the salmon migration season. By adjusting the order of work and the schedule, impacts to the salmon migration are reduced or eliminated.

Risk Management Plan
Risk management planning is the systematic process of deciding how to approach, plan and execute risk management activities throughout the life of the project. It is intended to maximize positive risk events (opportunities) and minimize negative risk events (threats) to the project objectives. The level of detail should be commensurate with a) the project, its significance and the consequences of the failure to meet the objectives, b) the severity of impact and c) the stage of the project and the validity of the information available. The following is a summary of the Project Risk Management Guide for WSDOT Projects (pdf 4.4mb):

  1. Risk Planning

    Executive Order 1053.00 (pdf 65KB) and Instructional Letter 4071.02 (pdf 434 kb) provide direction for determining the appropriate level of detailed risk analysis to be performed. Include the risk planning efforts, including risk workshops, and the necessary resources into the project planned value and schedule. Communicate the level of risk analysis and management requirements to the project team, including specialty groups and consultants.

  2. Risk Identification

    Identify risks that may affect project objectives and document the characteristics. A risk event is characterized in terms of probability of occurrence and the consequences (impact) of each potential risk event.

    Specialty groups identify and document risks and assumptions associated with their deliverables in the internal scope of work agreement (docx 37kb). Compare the scope of work agreement and risk management plan on a routine basis throughout project delivery.

    The following risk management templates are used for qualitative and quantitative project risk analysis.

  3. Qualitative Risk Analysis

    Assess the impact and likelihood of the identified risks on project objectives. Develop a prioritized list to determine the risks that require further analysis or mitigation. To perform qualitative analysis; estimate the likelihood of the risk occurring and evaluate the consequences (impacts) should the risk occur. Consult with subject matter experts or functional units to assess the risks in their respective fields.

    Qualitative risk analysis alone is sufficient for simpler projects and can be used as an initial risk review for larger, complex projects prior to performing quantitative analysis.

  4. Quantitative Risk Analysis

    Quantitative risk analysis is performed on projects meeting the criteria identified in Executive Order 1053.00 (pdf 64kb). Numerically estimate the probability that a project will meet its cost and time objectives based on a simultaneous evaluation of the impacts of all identified and quantified risks.

    Contact the Cost Risk Estimating & Management (CREM) Office ; for guidance either through the workshop process or use of the self-modeling spreadsheet (xls 5mb).

  5. Risk Response Strategy

    Develop strategies and design specific actions to enhance opportunities and reduce threats to the project's objectives. Critical risks must be met with vigorous response actions; lower ranking risks should receive response actions commensurate with their significance. Assign individuals to effectively carry out the risk response action, ensuring each risk has an "owner."

    Typical "threat" response actions are avoidance, transference, mitigation and acceptance. Response actions for opportunities are exploit, share, enhance and accept. Response action definitions are available in the Project Risk Management Guide for WSDOT Projects (pdf 4.4mb).

  6. Risk Monitor and Control

    During the next stage, Work the Plan, track and monitor the identified risks. After response actions are implemented, evaluate their effectiveness in reducing risk and document any changes to the risk profile. Did the response actions have a positive or negative effect on achieving the project objectives? Is so, explain how and why in the risk management plan.

    Identify and evaluate new risks and develop response actions. Retire risk events that are successfully avoided, mitigated or have passed the time during which the risk is possible.

Incorporate the risk management plan into the project management plan for endorsement by region or organization management.

Change Management Plan
Successful project delivery requires being prepared for potential change. A change management plan is the road map for decision making, approving and reporting change when it occurs. Managing change will require planning, discipline, and effective communication among the entire project team (including specialty groups, consultants, and contractors), management, customers and stakeholders. See the Schedule and Cost Management process (pdf 78kb) document and map (pdf 34kb).

  1. Identify Change
    Identify changes that may impact the scope, schedule or budget.

  2. Manage Change
    Develop and document any project specific processes and instructions for monitoring, analyzing, and managing change; including risk driven change. Develop response and recovery strategies; establish the scope of the change and direction for incorporating the changed work or conditions.

    Assign responsibilities to identify and report changes when they occur. Consider developing a change management plan (xlsx 23kb) to manage and track changes; identify the responsible owner, triggers, origin of the change, impacts, responses and results.

    Document the required adjustments to the project scope, schedule and/or budget.

  3. Obtain Approval or Endorsement

    Identify the appropriate level of authority to approve changes (approval thresholds are defined in the CPDM Manual). When thresholds are at risk or exceeded notify region or organization management, region program management and the CPDM office, as appropriate.

    Seek approval from the appropriate authority; before endorsing or approving the change, ensure you understand the full impacts of the change to the project objectives and commitments.

    Communicate the change to specialty groups, consultants and contractors as necessary.

Incorporate the change management plan or log into the project management plan for endorsement by region or organization management.

Communication Plan
Communication planning identifies who needs what information, as well as when and how it will be delivered. The project specific communication plan is based on the needs of the project and project team. Larger, more complex projects may require more formal processes and planning,  while smaller projects may be more informal in communicating project information. During communication planning recognize relationships that need to be established and maintained in order to work effectively. The project team and manager must pro-actively and effectively use the communication plan and available technologies to ensure the right project information is getting to the right audience at the right time.

  1. Identify the project information needs of the team, management, stakeholders and the public associated with the project and its performance. Use the project WBS and schedule to identify the information produced and when reporting may be required.
  2. Document how the team will share information and govern itself. (See Initiate and Align-Operating guidelines ) The communication plan may develop guidelines such as the decision making process, methods for resolving conflict and escalating issues. Identify any constraints with the project team, management or stakeholders, (organizational, contractual, and legal, etc.).
  3. Assign responsibility to the appropriate staff to communicate project information. A communication plan (docx 29kb) provides a means for easily defining the communication approach internally and externally. Include the distribution requirements, recipients, medium (email, web pages, folios, etc.), frequency, and timing, etc.
  4. Include communication methods, frequency and timing in the specialty group internal scope of work agreement (pdf 67kb).

Incorporate the communication plan into the project management plan for endorsement by region or organization management and the Public Information Officer (when needed). 

Quality Management Plan
Quality management includes all project management activities that determine the project quality policies, objectives and applicable standards and the responsibilities of project participants. Quality planning provides:

  • Consistency - To develop and put into practice a consistent approach to meeting appropriate quality standards, objectives, and requirements.
  • Value - To establish and perform only those quality management activities that add value.
  • Avoidance of Rework - To shift focus from review and correction of work performed to those activities that enhance the production of quality during the planning and performance of the work in order to minimize costly rework.

Quality Assurance (QA) is the process of ensuring the appropriate standards are applied to the project, while Quality Control (QC) monitors and measures performance against the project performance baseline.

  1. Develop a quality plan or matrix (docx 19kb) to identify the relevant quality standards and goals for the processes, products, and deliverables. Identify the metrics to compare actual technical, schedule and cost performance to the planned value.
  2. Review work elements and the applicable standards with performing staff.
  3. Establish responsibilities for monitoring and reporting acceptance of work.

Incorporate the quality plan or matrix (docx 19kb) into the project management plan for endorsement by region or organization management.

Transition and Closure Plan
Transition and closure is the process of completing a major activity, phase, or the project itself. This includes transferring the completed work and remaining project responsibilities to others; demobilizing the project team and facilities; documenting lessons learned; archiving; and closing out the administrative and financial processes. All transition and closure activities are completed before the activity, phase, or project is deemed "complete" and the project manager is released from responsibility for the project.

At WSDOT, project closure is usually defined as the completion of construction, while the completion of Scoping or Pre-Construction is usually termed as a transition point.

Identification of transition points can be aided by using the Deliverable Expectation Matrix which provides a range of project development deliverables and the general order in which they will occur.

What gets measured gets done - Tracking and managing transition and closure activities requires careful planning, budgeting and scheduling.

  1. Transition and Closure

    Outline the points when transition and closure activities will take place; the responsible organization; and the steps to accomplish an efficient and effective transition or closure. Include those activities as discrete work elements in the project schedule and planned value. Establish project specific acceptance requirements and procedures to ensure completion of each activity, phase, or the project and financial closeout.

    Identify the steps and requirements to demobilize staff and resources. The absence of a sound approach to staff transition often creates a "non-productive" environment in which staff members are focused on identifying their next assignment. Establish roles, responsibilities, budgets, and schedules to demobilize facilities, equipment, and services associated to a transition point (or when they are no longer needed).
  2. Lessons Learned

    The WSDOT Lessons Learned system is an on-line, automated database designed to capture, present and track lessons learned. Establish specific project team activities and responsibilities to identify, compile and report lessons learned.

  3. Archiving

    Identify the appropriate archiving requirements for the project; follow region specific archiving requirements and Electronic Content Management (ECM) processes (pdf 703kb). Develop instructions for record keeping and document management during the course of the project. Include instructions for maintaining files, including electronic files; sequestering original documents; dates and project information on documents; copying documents; and maintaining of document logs.

  4. Rewards & Recognition

    Review requirements and policies regarding reward and recognition with region or organization management. Based on the work, the conditions under which it will be performed, and the roles, responsibilities, and performance expectations of team members, identify "target" performance measures. These measures are indicators of performance beyond expectations and are "stretch" targets that are achievable, but require significant extra effort to accomplish.

    Identify and celebrate achievements with appropriate reward and recognition.

Throughout the life of the project, continue to foster a sense of cooperation and coordination with the project team. Involve the entire project team in developing the Project Management Plan.


  • Project Management Plan (PMP)
    The PMP includes the required initiate and align worksheet elements; project performance baseline; risk, change, communication and quality management plans and a plan for transition and closure. These elements are implemented at appropriate points throughout the life of the project.

    Before endorsing the project management plan or changes to the plan, ensure you understand the impacts of the change to the project objectives and commitments.

Endorsement is the process of obtaining commitment and/or approval of the PMP. Endorsement confirms the project team members' understanding of the PMP, their role in its execution, and their specific commitment to perform their responsibilities according to the PMP.

The Project Management Plan (PMP) defines the project performance baseline (scope, schedule, and budget) and the methods used by the project team to manage and deliver the project.

Management endorsement indicates management's understanding of the PMP; particularly resource and schedule requirements, assumptions, risks, and issues. Management's understanding of planned resources is essential to ensure that the right resources will be available when they are needed to support completion of the project.

Participation in the PMP planning and development process will expedite the endorsement process as team members and management understand the requirements and what is expected of them. An endorsed PMP is a great tool for focusing the project team when issues arise, communicating status and agreements and quickly familiarizing new team members with the project.

Don't let the endorsement process become arduous, make it part of the work planning process, not a separate task.

Project Management Plan

Endorsement Template (docx 15KB)
Executive Order 1032.01 (pdf 30KB)
PMRS Process documents and maps


Identify the appropriate participants to endorse the project management plan. Executive Order 1032.01 (pdf 30KB) further describes endorsement responsibilities for executives and senior managers, project managers, project team members and specialty groups.

Project Team:
The project team is comprised of all project participants needed to deliver the project. This includes specialty groups, consultants, contractors and other organizations or agencies.

Management includes region or organization management such as the project manager, regional administrators, project development engineers or engineering managers, program management, specialty group managers, and other agency managers. In addition, management includes those individuals not noted above who have responsibility and authority for resources identified in the PMP.

Project team members and management review the project management plan to:

  • Verify the WBS and project scope of work.
  • Understand the expectations; including roles & responsibilities.
  • Confirm project commitments with regard to the schedule and planned value, with specific attention to variances between the:
  • planned costs and the Work Order Authorization.
  • planned costs and Legislative commitments.
  • Validate project specific processes to identify and manage risks, change and quality measures.
  • Understand internal and external communication methods.
  • Identify and discuss any outstanding issues.

Project team members and management endorse the PMP. Endorsement can take many forms, ranging from an email to a signed formal document. For specialty groups, endorsement can be documented within the internal scope of work agreement (pdf 67kb).

The desired result is that the project team and management understand and endorse the PMP, their role in its execution, and their specific commitment to perform according to the PMP.

Notify all project team members and management when the PMP is endorsed and set the project performance baseline.

Endorsement is not a one-time occurrence for most projects. The project team should gain new endorsement when there are major changes to the project management plan-scope, schedule, budget, project team, project manager and/or management.

Before endorsing changes, ensure you understand the full impacts of the change to the project objectives and commitments.

Endorsed Project Management Plan