Before a project can move forward and work can begin, a fully-developed project must gain project plan approval.
The project manager should organize a planning approval meeting and invite all people who need to approve the plan. A representative from each stakeholder group should attend. Though it's beneficial to have a single meeting that includes all groups, the project manager can have individual meetings as well.
Meetings can be live or through video conferencing. The project manager should prepare the agenda for the meeting and review all the materials so that they can be ready for any questions that might arise.
The meeting agenda should include:
The project manager should present or coordinate the presentation of all material, then provide an opportunity for the stakeholders to discuss the plan and ask questions. The project manager should be prepared for more in-depth discussion. If an answer is not available, the project manager should let the questioner know when the answer will be provided and by what method the information will be delivered.
So what might this response look like if a project manager doesn’t have an immediate answer?
EXAMPLE“I don't know that answer right now, but I'll provide that material to all the stakeholders by email, by the end of work today.” Note the time and method of communication.
When all the questions have been addressed, then the project manager should seek sign off from the stakeholders with sign off authority.
Sometimes, plan changes will need to occur before some or all stakeholders sign off. In that case, the project manager should determine whether an additional approval meeting will need to be held. Once all stakeholders who need to approve the plan have signed off, the project manager can begin executing the plan.
At this time, the plan is baselined for the project. This means that the time, scope, and cost are documented and used as the basis for management of the project.
EXAMPLEIf cost increases, the documentation and the discussion about the new cost should refer to it as a percentage or dollar increase over the baseline cost. Such as, the project will add $12,000 over the original baseline budget of $100,000.
Source: this work is adapted from sophia author jeff carroll.