5 Essential Project Documents [YOU NEED THESE] (2023)


Are you in the midst of project planning and wondering, “What project documents do I need?” In this video, I’m sharing the 5 essential project management documents that you absolutely cannot live without.

No matter what kind of project you’re doing, you need the right project documentation if you want to be successful. That’s why, in this video, we’re talking about:

- What documents for project managers are necessary
- How to plan a project without forgetting any documentation
- What the most essential project documents are
- How to use documents as your best project management tools
- What documents you need to make as a project manager

So, if you need a refresher on some project management basics about documentation, or if you’re still learning project management for beginners, make sure you stick around for this whole video to learn all about project documentation – one of the biggest project management fundamentals!

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➡️ Videos mentioned:
Work Breakdown Structure [WBS EXPLAINED]: youtu.be/BVcd9uy9kuQ
Project Communication Plan [STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS]: youtu.be/XCX9hsdt-v8
Guide to Lessons Learned Meeting in Project Management: youtu.be/XIHKn_VR8PU

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Thanks for watching my video “5 Essential Project Documents”: youtu.be/XTTN-rT_aAA



Not sure what essential project documents, you may need in order to ensure your projects are successful? Well, tune in, because in this video, I'm going to give you my top, five essential project documents that I use all the time that are just going to make your project sing.


We get into project documentation, I'm going to be sharing with you at the end of this video, how to get your hands on something really, well, not really.

It is brand new, six basics on how to ensure your projects don't fail.

So stay tuned for that.


If you're new here, welcome., My name is Adriana Girdler.

And you have landed on the best practical project management channel out there in YouTube world., My, personal opinion.


We would be grateful if you would like this video, subscribe.

So it grows our community.

Now on that note, let's get to those five project document, essentials., Project, Charter.


This is the most essential project document that you need to have in all of your projects, particularly at the beginning, because it sets the tone for you and your team.

Why? Because.

It has all of the critical information you need to give to your team in order for them to be successful.


The background justification, the scope template, what's in and out, big, milestones, risks, assumptions, rules and responsibility.

And so much more.

In fact.

If you're interested, you go to the YouTube search bar, put in Adriana Girdler charter.

And there is so much more information I have for you specifically on this topic.

But it is something that, again, from a project essential, for project documentation.

The charter is a must, must, must., Scope, Statement.


This is a really essential project document because it gives you what it is that you're doing.

At, the very beginning of the project, when you get your marching orders that you're.

Now the project manager of project ABC, in the ideal world, the senior executives or your project sponsor are supposed to give you the scope statement., They're supposed to say, here's, what I want you to do and here's? How I want you to do it.

Here are the ins and outs, and it's supposed to be very robust, but let's be honest.

It doesn't really happen.


Why is this so essential? Because now you, as a project manager, have to get that information.

You're going to need it anyway,? Because as I said, in my first project, essential document, charter, you have to populate that scope statement and transfer it into the charter, because everyone really needs to know and be very clear with what is it that they're doing, what's in and out.

And any other high level, expectations., The, Project, Plan., Okay, you're, probably saying, thank goodness.


You actually said, this is an essential document.


The project plan is laying out all of the tasks that you need to do in order to achieve the scope statement and the deliverable and everything that you laid out in that charter.


This is your action, plan, the project plan.

So that everyone really knows what they have to do from start to finish.

Ultimately to get that deliverable that your project is supposed to be doing.

Project plans can exist in many types of documents.

We see them all the time in spreadsheets, using Excel or Sheets., You can use them in a document like Word or Docs as well.

As there is project planning software, if you prefer that.

Again, it's going to be your choice, but you need to ensure that everyone has access to that particular software if you're going to use a project software in order to create your project, plan., It's, also, very interesting too, because you really want to ensure that you look over all of everything that you're supposed to be doing from a work breakdown structure, perspective.


If you go to the YouTube search bar, Adriana, Girdler work, breakdown, structure, I actually have a video on how to create and really create the buckets that you need of action tasks.

So that you can get all of this detail from start to finish of your project.


So, definitely take a look at that.

And a very important essential, document., In, fact.

How do you know what you're going to do if you don't have a plan? And? Now, the next thing I would love if you do is hit that Like button, subscribe, because it tells YouTube we're doing a really good job.


Another essential project documentation is the communication plan.

And this sometimes can get missed, 'cause I'm going to talk just about the communication plan that you're going to do to your end users who are going to be receiving your deliverable.

I'm talking about the project communication plan.

This is the plan that you're are going to use as a project manager, as a project lead, as to how are you going to talk to your sponsors.

Senior executives? How is your team going to communicate other stakeholders? Really.

How are you going to assure that everyone is aware of what's going on? And that they get the right pieces of information? 'cause.

We all know if you don't have a strong communication, plan, what happens? People start assuming.

They start making up their own ideas as to what's going on in your project.

And that is- You actually, don't want that.

That creates a lot of work.


The key here is to have a communication plan for your project itself, and how you're going to educate all the stakeholders, not just for the end user.

But for those that are within your project as well.

Lessons, Learned Document, or as I like to say, AKA, after action, review, or here's, another acronym, AAR.


So why is this such an essential project? Document?, As, your project progresses, whether it's at the beginning, middle or end,? You are always going to have things that come up.

You're going to have these milestones that you've all been working towards and you've achieved.

And you want to do a lessons learned.

You want to have an understanding as to what went well, what didn't go well.

What do we have to improve upon when we go into the next phase of this project? It's valuable and the beauty of a lessons learned, if you do it properly, is it is going to take away emotional charge because you're looking at the facts.

You're, not looking at personality or people, per se, but at the deliverable, and it really ensures that everyone understands, hey, here's.

What we did.

Did, we like it, did it work,? And if so, what are we going to change? And what are we going to keep? Very valuable and really helps evolve your project? So it just gets better and better.

Now that you know what project documents are essential for you and your project, guess what? I have this for you.

It's, brand, new, we're.

So excited., I'm so excited to be launching this to you and it's free.

You can get the link underneath this video.


If your projects are struggling, then this is going to give you six basics to ensure that you're successful.


It out.


5 Essential Project Documents [YOU NEED THESE]? ›

The basic outline of any project plan can be summarized in these five steps: Define your project's stakeholders, scope, quality baseline, deliverables, milestones, success criteria and requirements.

What are the five 5 important parts of a project plan? ›

The basic outline of any project plan can be summarized in these five steps: Define your project's stakeholders, scope, quality baseline, deliverables, milestones, success criteria and requirements.

What documentation is needed for a project? ›

The documents you need for any project
project planactivities and timeline
project budgetproject cost (plan and actual)
stakeholder matrixlist of stakeholders involved in the project
risks logcritical risks
7 more rows

What documents are in a project plan? ›

Project Documents include project charter, statement of work, contracts, requirements documentation, stakeholder register, change control register, activity list, quality metrics, risk register, issue log, and other similar documents.

What are 4 of the 5 major elements of a project charter? ›

A project charter includes an overview, the scope, an approximate schedule, an outline of necessary resources, and an estimated budget.

What are the 5 basic function of project management? ›

There are five basic functions of project management: planning, organizing, staffing, directing, and controlling.

What is a documentation checklist? ›

A personal document checklist is a list of forms and documents you need to complete and send in with an application when you apply through your IRCC secure account or send a paper application.

What are the 4 things in documentation? ›

The 4 C's that make for great documentation
  • Clear.
  • Concise.
  • Correct.
  • Complete.
Mar 7, 2023

What should good documentation include? ›

Characteristics of good documentation
  • All relevant information must be recorded.
  • All paper records must be legible, signed and dated.
  • Records must be contemporaneous, accurate and kept up to date.
  • Records must be written in plain English avoiding jargon.

What are 3 important documents? ›

Explore the Documents
  • Declaration of Independence.
  • Constitution of the United States.
  • Bill of Rights.

What is the most important document? ›

The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States. It is the source of all government powers but provides important limitations on the government that protect the fundamental rights of U.S. citizens.

What are 3 documents that Authorise a project to proceed? ›

9 Essential Project Documents
  • Project Business Case. This document provides justification for the project. ...
  • Project Charter. ...
  • RACI Matrix. ...
  • Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) ...
  • Risks and Issues Log. ...
  • Project Communications Plan. ...
  • Change Request Management. ...
  • Project Schedule.
Oct 11, 2022

What is the first document of a project? ›

Project Charter is used during the initial phase and planning phase; hence, a good project charter can help in the success of the project. A project manager needs to have a project charter before he/she take over a new project.

What are the 4 contents of project management plan? ›

A project management plan comprises an executive summary, Gantt chart/ timeline, stakeholder or team chart, risk assessment, communication sub-plan, and resource sub-plan.

What are the 3 most important items in a project charter and why? ›

A project charter should only include three elements: your project objectives, scope, and responsibilities. Once your charter has been approved, you should then create a project plan. Your project plan builds on your project charter to provide a more in-depth blueprint of the key elements of your project.

What are the Six Sigma elements of a project charter? ›

A Six Sigma project charter includes six major elements: business case, problem or opportunity statement, goal statement, scope, timeline and milestones, and team members.

What are project approval requirements? ›

Project approval requirements (i.e, What constitutes project success, who decides the project is successful, and who signs off on the project) Assigned Project manager, responsibility, and authority level. Name and authority of the sponsor or another person (s) authorizing the project charter.

What are the six element of project management? ›

These include scope, schedule, quality, cost, risk, and procurement. In addition, you must also be able to effectively manage your project portfolio.

What are the 5 principles of documentation? ›

Any error in a written documentation note must remain visible by drawing a single line through it and initialing it.
  • Security.
  • Communication.
  • Accountability.
  • Communication.
  • Communication.
  • Accountability.
  • Security.
  • Accountability.

What are the 5 principles of good documentation? ›

Be clear, legible, concise, contemporaneous, progressive and accurate.

What are 5 types of documents? ›

5 types of document files
  • Portable document format (PDF) A PDF file is a common file type in many work environments. ...
  • Word document (DOC and DOCX) ...
  • Hypertext markup language (HTML and HTM) ...
  • Microsoft excel spreadsheet file (XLS and XLSX) ...
  • Text file (TXT)
Jun 24, 2022

What are the 3 rules of documentation? ›

Documentation should be:
  • Immediate. Managers should take notes right after an incident occurs. ...
  • Accurate and believable. When an outside observer (judge, jury or EEO investigator) is called to judge your side of the story, detailed observations add authenticity. ...
  • Agreed upon.
Jul 16, 2015

What are the six types of documents used in a quality management system? ›

The QMS documentation can consist of different types of documents or manuals such as:
  • Quality policy.
  • Quality manual.
  • Procedures.
  • Work instructions.
  • Quality plans.
  • Records.
Apr 18, 2023

What are the 10 C's of documentation? ›

writing or presentation, namely, clear, complete, concise, considerate, correct, creative, credible, current, and more.

What is the basic rule of documentation? ›

The most important rule of good documentation is for it to be as inviting as possible. This means that we should aim to write it in the clearest terms possible without skipping over any steps. We should avoid making assumptions about what our users may know.

What is high quality documentation? ›

Clear, concise and unambiguous – It should go without saying that it needs to be in a language that the reader understands. Accurate and comprehensive: If the information is correct, but parts of the product are not covered, the reader will not be able to achieve their goal.

What are the 4 kinds of documents? ›

The four kinds of documentation are:
  • learning-oriented tutorials.
  • goal-oriented how-to guides.
  • understanding-oriented discussions.
  • information-oriented reference material.

What are the major documents? ›

What Are Important Documents?
  • Legal identification documents. Social Security cards. Birth certificates. ...
  • Tax documents. Tax returns. W-2s and 1099 forms. ...
  • Property records. Vehicle registrations and titles. Mortgage statements, deeds and bills of sale. ...
  • Estate planning documents. Wills and trusts. ...
  • Finance records. Pay stubs.
Apr 17, 2023

What are the two most important documents? ›

The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. Contains the full text of the Declaration of Independence, written in 1776, and the Constitution of the United States, written in 1787, as well as the twenty-seven amendments to the Constitution.

What are the 3 important business documents often used? ›

Important Business Documents You Should Keep
  • Document #1 Invoices. ...
  • Document #2 Confidentiality Agreements. ...
  • Document #3 Employment Agreements. ...
  • Document #4 Contractor Agreements. ...
  • Document #5 Partnership Agreements. ...
  • Document #6 Company Bylaws. ...
  • Document #7 Vendor Agreement. ...
  • Document #8 Business Registration.
Feb 25, 2020

What is the most common document type? ›

Common File Types

You have come across many of the file types in this list, but you may also get to know new ones. Text Files: Typing is probably the most common thing people do on a computer and whatever they type is saved as a text file. Your Word document would be an example of a text file once you save it.

What are the three types of project requirements? ›

Types of Project Requirements

In general, requirements can be categorized in three ways: business requirements, solution requirements and stakeholder requirements.

How many types of documentation are used on most projects? ›

Ten of the most common project documents include the project schedule, risk management, the issues log, the project budget, the communication plan, the project status report, the project charter, meeting agenda and minutes, the quality assurance (QA) test plan, and the project management plan.

What is project approval document? ›

A project approval template is a form that helps project managers list a proposed project's details, so project sponsors can review and approve the project. Use the template to capture your project's desired outcomes, benefits, and anticipated resource requirements.

What are the 7 parts of a project plan? ›

Let's dive into the details:
  • Step 1: Define your goals and objectives. ...
  • Step 2: Set success metrics. ...
  • Step 3: Clarify stakeholders and roles. ...
  • Step 4: Set your budget. ...
  • Step 5: Align on milestones, deliverables, and project dependencies. ...
  • Step 6: Outline your timeline and schedule. ...
  • Step 7: Share your communication plan.
Nov 19, 2022

What are the 9 parts of a project plan? ›

Table of Contents
  • Determine the project goals and objectives.
  • Determine the project scope.
  • Build your work breakdown structure (WBS)
  • Set timelines.
  • Determine and plan resources.
  • Estimate costs.
  • Determine risks and constraints.
  • Plan out communication.
Oct 25, 2022

Are there 4 or 5 phases of project management? ›

Developed by the Project Management Institute (PMI), the five phases of project management include conception and initiation, project planning, project execution, performance/monitoring, and project close.

What is final project documentation? ›

The final project report records all services actually performed within the project and compares them with the originally agreed scope of services. It describes the achieved result and its successful solution.

What are project definition documents? ›

What Is a Project Definition Document? A project definition document (PDD), also known as a project charter, is a two- to three-page document that outlines a project's requirements. A project manager creates the document with stakeholder input. Project teams reference this document throughout the project lifecycle.

What are the 4 C's in project management? ›

To help the agile and other project managers remember how to best hold people accountable, I like to think of the 4Cs: clarity, commitment, comment, coach.

How do you create a project checklist? ›

Project Management Checklist
  1. Set the vision, goals, and objectives.
  2. Meet with stakeholders and other project managers to present a project proposal.
  3. Gather specs and requirements for the project team.
  4. Make the business proposal.
  5. Create the project budget.
  6. Allocate your resources.
  7. Create a schedule.
  8. Set your communication plan.
Jun 3, 2022

What are the five elements of management plan? ›

At the most fundamental level, management is a discipline that consists of a set of five general functions: planning, organizing, staffing, leading and controlling. These five functions are part of a body of practices and theories on how to be a successful manager.

What are the five steps to create a project plan? ›

These basic project planning steps can help you write a plan that's both realistic and on target.
  1. Start with research and preplanning.
  2. Draft a rough outline of your project plan.
  3. Build out your detailed project schedule.
  4. Present and confirm your plan.
  5. Execute your plan and adjust as needed.

What is project plan 5? ›

Project Plan 5 enables organizations to get started quickly with powerful project management (PPM) capabilities to plan, prioritize, and manage project and portfolio investments from almost anywhere.

What are the 4 main parts of a project plan? ›

However, some core components of a project plan exist for all types of projects.
  • Problem and Mission Statement. Develop a statement that defines the problem to solve. ...
  • Objectives and Deliverables. ...
  • Specifications and Standards. ...
  • Work Breakdown Structure. ...
  • Needed Resources. ...
  • Work Schedule.

What is the 5 stage project life cycle? ›

The project management life cycle has five main phases. These are project initiation, project planning, project execution, project monitoring and control and project closure.

What are the 5 generic project life cycle? ›

The project life cycle is made up of five project stages: project initiation, project planning, project execution, monitoring & control and project closing.

What are the 8 elements of project plan? ›

Elements of a project plan you shouldn't overlook
  • Outline business justification and stakeholder needs. ...
  • List of requirements and project objectives. ...
  • Project scope statement. ...
  • List of deliverables and estimated due dates. ...
  • Detailed project schedule. ...
  • Risk assessment and management plan. ...
  • Defined roles and responsibilities.
May 2, 2022

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