Types of Project Management Artifacts
Project artifacts are tied to project documentation, but not all project documents are artifacts. As the Project Manager, you and your project team should dictate which project artifacts are needed based on the needs of your project. The Project Management Institute (PMI) provides a definition and examples of project artifacts in their 2021 publication, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) – 7th edition.
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Project Management Artifacts
The project management method (i.e., Predictive, Agile, Hybrid) to use for a given project should be tailored to best support the delivery approach, deliverables, and organizational environment of that specific project. As part of the tailoring process for project management, the required and recommended project artifacts should be identified. What artifacts to use for the project should be determined by the Project Manager and Project team as part of the project planning process work.
What are project artifacts in project management?
In project management, a project artifact is a document designed to keep the project work aligned to project requirements and business goals. The PMBOK® Guide – 7th edition defines a project artifact as: “a template, document, output, or project deliverable.” (p. 153). Attributes of project artifacts include:
- Created as part of overall project documentation
- Tailored to specifics of the project
- Linked to project management, not project deliverables
- Created by the project manager and project team
- Subject to change as project work progresses
- Referred to as artifacts, documents, deliverables, and/or templates
- Require formal updating
It is important to note that project artifacts are not outputs or deliverables. They are in the province of the project management work, not the deliverables generated by the project. Some documents may be deliverables.
When are documents also project artifacts?
Not every document created or used during a project is a project artifact. Remember, an artifact is tied to the management of the project. For example, a communication management plan is an artifact. It contributes to the overall management of the project work. The technical manual created for the widget developed as part of the project is documentation. Still, it is a project deliverable, not a project artifact, because it is not part of the management of the project.
The PMBOK® Guide provides a list of project artifacts for project managers to use in all types of project management. However, it should not be seen as a finite checklist, and different methodologies will have different artifacts. For example, an agile project will have artifacts such as a product backlog. A project using a plan-based or waterfall approach will have artifacts such as a change management plan.
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What are project management artifacts examples?
According to the PMBOK® Guide – 7th edition, here is a list of project artifact types and examples:
- Strategy Artifacts |Business Case, Project Charter, Roadmap
- Logs And Registers | Change Log, Backlog, Issue Log, Risk Register
- Plans | Communications Management Plan, Cost Management Plan, Release Plan, Resource Management Plan
- Hierarchy Charts | Product Breakdown Structure, Work Breakdown Structure, Risk Breakdown Structure
- Baselines | Budget, Performance Measurement Baseline, Project Schedule, Scope Baseline
- Visual Data and Information | Affinity Diagram, Burndown/Burnup Chart, Gantt Chart, Histogram, Information Radiator
- Reports | Quality Report, Risk Report, Status Report
- Agreements and Contracts | Fixed-Price Contracts, Cost-Reimbursable Contracts, Time and Materials
- Other Artifacts | Activity List, Metrics, Project Calendar, Requirements Documentation
Companies should have standards for what information is included in each project artifact to ensure consistency across the organization’s portfolio. Project Managers may have their own best practices regarding the amount of information to include in each artifact based on their lessons learned and/or project management experience.
Project Artifacts by Phase
Because project artifacts are part of project management, not deliverables, they follow the standard project phase progression. Enterprise Project Management Offices (EPMO) or centralized project management within an organization may provide templates and standards for the most commonly used artifacts. However, the information documented within those templates will be specific and customized to each project.
As an example, here may be some artifacts found when managing a predictive project:
- Originating Phase
- Project Proposal
- Initiating Phase
- Project Charter With Project Description, Scope Definition, And Role/Responsibility Definition
- Team Roles Description
- Planning Phase
- Communication Plan
- High-Level Requirements
- Project Schedule
- Project Stakeholder Analysis
- Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
- Controlling, Monitoring, and Executing Phase
- Action Items Tracking Workbook
- Decision Log
- Issue Log
- Project Change Request Form
- Project Change Request Log
- Project Status Report
- Status Meeting Agenda
- Closing Phase
- Closing / Transition Plan
Some organizations may have different names for each project phase. Still, the recommended project artifacts for that step in the process will generally be the same no matter what the phase is called. Additionally, depending on the work environment, some project artifacts will be required for all projects, and others are only recommended for select projects.
It is essential that before the project begins, the project manager knows what artifact templates are available and which artifacts are required to prevent issues once the project is underway.
Why are project management artifacts important?
Project artifacts are a means to increase project management efficiencies. Project artifacts …ensure that a project operates within its established budget and allow for a common understanding of its purpose, goals, and details.”. Using project artifacts helps the team keep their focus (meaning time and money) on the actual project work because approved project parameters (scope, budget, timeline, resources, changes, role responsibilities, etc.) can be easily referenced when needed.
The Project Manager and project team work together to identify the artifacts needed for their project. The PMBOK® Guide – 7th edition provides a list of project artifacts and examples that can be applied to almost any project: Strategy Artifacts, Logs and Registers, Plans, Hierarchy Charts, Baselines, Visual Data and Information, Reports, Agreements and Contracts, and Other Artifacts. While individual project artifacts should be tailored for the project’s specific project management approach and deliverables, they always fit into the actual project management, not the project’s outputs. Not all project documents are artifacts, but all project artifacts will enable effective project management processes.
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