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It really depends on the context of your project and the level of formality/standards enforced on the project teams.
All components are of importance, but how heavy/light/standalone they are will vary based on the nature of your project.
The only exception is the procurement related ones if there is no procurement involved in the project.
The Risk Management Plan is the only document that matters. Every other plan, even the creation of a PMO or and/the naming of a project manager, is driven by the need to manage project risks and enhance opportunities.
The Risk Register should identify the need for any and all other project plans as risk mitigating measures.
@Peter well said
I was always a big fan of the Project Charter...does that make me old-school?
Risk 1. poor understanding of project objectives, roles and responsibilities resulting in delays, cost overruns, quality issues, conflict. Mitigation - develop project charter.
1) which artifacts will add value to the project stakeholders
2) which artifacts will help you manage the project
For example, I use MS Project as one of the tools to manage the project schedule, but very few people see everything that I do in MS project. Some don't ever see MS Project, and don't care. They see timelines, roadmaps, and other documents, charts, presentations, etc..., that give them information that helps them make decisions. If I didn't use MS Project, or a tool like it, it would be difficult to provide them these other artifacts. MS Project does not directly add value to the stakeholders, but it helps make my job easier.
The challenge with your question is that most stakeholders don't know what's in the PMBOK Guide, or much about tools that are available to project managers. They want information presented in certain ways, and each stakeholder's interests/requirements seem to vary with regards to how they want the information presented to them.
The critical documents would be those that help you, your team, and your stakeholders perform the work and make the decisions that are needed.
All thanks for all your responses and suggestions. I know this was a very broad question and that in reality, as some of you have mentioned, it really depends on a number of factors.
As @Kiron mentioned, the level of enforcement to standards will certainly influence what we use. Since we are a research lab, we try not to constrain our researchers & scientists with a lot of formal processes, but I think we could certainly benefit from a little more structured approach.
I also thought the point @Peter made about the risk management plan is a key take away and I think I may start there. With out the other plans, your risks will certainly increase, but depending on the size & scope of your project you may be able to get away with just a few and just manage the risk.
I'm working on some recommendations for our senior managers and will keep you posted.
Thanks again to everyone for the responses & suggestions.
Each component that assure to keep the risk of the project below the company accepted threashold regarding project risks.
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