The importance of Design Management Plans

A key document that is usually set up by Plan A at the beginning of a project is the Design Management Plan (DMP). This is normally produced in alignment with the Client Project Execution Plan (PEP) and maps out the design management particulars of the project (who leads the design process and the processes that will support the Lead Consultant/Designer to develop the design).

The design management plan (DMP) defines the people, tools and processes to complete the design process.

The DMP is a reference point for design team members for the most up-to-date design management information. The DMP ensures that processes are implemented successfully right from the start, to prevent abortive work due to misunderstandings. The document reassures the client that the design team is organised, and that all issues vital for project success are being covered. Sharing the DMP with the project team will facilitate establishing clear communication across the team and an understanding of all the protocols of how the design team will work together. Based on our previous experience in projects, where there is an absence of a DMP there is distinct lack of clarity across the members of the design team.


Content of a design management plan

The DMP should include inputs from the architect, other members of the design and client team as necessary. Ideally it should be kept light, to make it easy to read and simple to use, although the scale and content can vary based on the size and requirements of each project. Other relevant design management documents (such as information trackers, report formats, etc.), which can be read in conjunction with the DMP, should be added as appendices.
In projects where Plan A are involved, we make sure that the Design Management Plan is developed in the first couple of weeks of a project, and we support the Architect in their lead role by continuously reviewing the DMP and ensuring that the design team is working in alignment with the processes that are set-up. It is also quite common that DMPs are developed as a response to RFP requirements for large scale projects worldwide.
by Christianna Chatzichristou – Senior Design Manager
Projects Practice