Project Planning v. Project Management


In this video, Jennifer Bridges discusses why project planning is not the same as project management—and why you need to know the difference.

In Review: Project Planning Isn’t Project Management

Jennifer discussed the definitions of project planning as compared to project management. The PMBOK® Guide, produced by the Project Management Institute (PMI) defines five processes that comprise the lifecycle of a project: initiation, planning, executing, monitoring & controlling and closing.

Planning your project is just one another phase in project management. We dig into more detail in our Ultimate Guide to Project Planning, but know now that the planning phase is made up of a whole host of other activities, such as:

  • Developing the project plan
  • Resource planning
  • Scope Definition
  • Scheduling
  • Cost Estimation

And that’s just to name a few! Each of those activities are practically fields of study in and of themselves and discreet skills that the project manager uses when managing a project. That’s why most project managers advise using a project planning software to keep track of all the planning phase activities.

Hopefully that clarifies. To learn more about the roles of a project manager, check out Jennifer’s video The Project Manager & Team Roles.

Thanks for watching!


Hello, I’m Jennifer Whitt, Director of ProjectManager.

Hello and welcome to our whiteboard session today on why project planning isn’t project management. Have you ever wondered the difference? Well, it’s two terms that often get misused in the marketplace, and we wanted to take the time to distinguish the difference.

If you look on the board here, we have a diagram and it’s actually referenced from “The Project Management Body of Knowledge,” the Fourth Edition by PMI, the Project Management Institute. They have a great diagram there that distinguishes the two this way.

If you look at the diagram, we have the start of the project and the end of the project and a lot of things going on in between. There are five process groups identified by the Project Management Institute. There are the initiating processes, there are planning processes, executing processes, monitoring and controlling processes, and the closing processes. That’s five project management process groups here that make up the whole life cycle of the project.

As you can see, the project planning process group is only one of five. Here’s what happens in the planning process or the planning phase of the project. Here are some sample project planning activities. Developing the project management plan, so the project management plan includes all of the plans that identify how the project is run, when it’s run, by who, who does what, when, and where for each of the planning documents. In here also the project manager collects requirements, helps define the scope, creates a work breakdown structure, develops a schedule, estimates costs, defines the budget, and many other activities that go on in the planning process.

Then what happens in the project management process, so this is the whole thing. Sample project management activities include the application of knowledge, skills, tools, techniques to the project activities to meet the project requirements. You can actually see what the difference is. Many times you may see project managers who do all the planning for the project, and they actually sit those project plans on the desk and not use them. As you can see, the difference of this, the management part, the project management is actually utilizing these planning documents to execute, monitor and control, and actually close out the project.

You can see the difference between the two. You need both. Project planning isn’t project management.

If you need a tool to help you plan your project and manage it as well, then sign up for our software now at