What is the Project Interface Management Plan?
In discussions at conferences and with clients there is sometimes confusion about the purpose of the Project Interface Management Plan, and how it relates to the core project framework, procedures, other guidelines, and the role of the interface manager and team.
The Project Interface Management Plan is the key to how interfaces will be managed in the project. Obvious enough - but it has to do so within the framework of the project and other core documents - like the Project Execution Plan. It has to clearly define the roles and responsibilities.
It might refer to interface procedures or other guidelines. It should describe exactly what the Interface Manager is responsible for - and what they are not. If it is not described clearly then it is probably not clearly understood by all parties either.
This does not need to be a long document - much better to refer to other related documents than to try to put everything here.
The key thing to realise is that if the process to develop the plan goes well then your project has a good chance of success. If it is written without any real understanding of the processes, or the specific project and the way in which the project teams work, then you are already increasing the risk of an inferior project outcome. This is not a cut-and-paste exercise.
Who is it written for?
The Interface Management Plan belongs to the project team. It should be agreed with them. It would not normally be seen by contractors. It might be shared with partner companies or other stakeholders, but only for information.
When should it be created?
The project interface management plan should be written as soon as possible in the project life-cycle - while concepts are being considered and long before execution. It might be revised at a later date but should be a fully-functional document from the beginning.
At the 3rd Interface Management conference (in London, October 2016) delegates were invited to write specific interface terms on paper and put them on the wall. We ended up with 48 different terms. This article is the first in a series that discusses the themes that came out of this exercise.
This article was written by John Thropp and first published in February 2019.