For the sake of biodiversity conservation, protected areas are the current best and accepted strategy. Nevertheless its conservation goals can be only achieved through efficient management, which must be guided by a proper planning process and sequential tool, called management plan. For that, principles and structure were already established and are used for promoting a better development of this tools and its application on the areas' day-to-day management. However, the implementation of theses documents is still a worldwide issue, managers and experts continue to struggle for putting in practice whatever is planned on these papers and most are not successful despite the big effort and amount of money invested on these processes of planning elaboration, resulting in a "sitting on the shelf" syndrome. Although the issue is well know there is not much literature discussing it in depth and providing answers and/or solution for the encountered problems. This survey was done aiming to gather information on the cruxes for management plan's implementation for a better understanding of the issue, thus to provide suggestions on how to deal with that and finally help moving these documents from the shelf to the manager's desk Few papers that deal specifically, in total or partially, with the topic were identified and analysed on this research as a literature review of international range; the managers point of view were also used for a comparison with the references and to explicit management plans implementation current situation through a quantitative questionnaire applied to the staff of Brazilian National Parks. At last it is offered a group of principles that should be considered while elaborating and implementing management plans, a tool as a basis for identifying specific challenges of planning documents and further research recommendation.