Initiating a Project    

  • Basics
  • Process overview
  • Activities
  • Documents
  • Relation to principles
  • Relation to themes

You must know and understand:

  • The purpose of Initiating a Project
  • The activities
  • The documents relevant to this process
  • What is the PID
The purpose of the Initiating a Project process is to establish solid foundations for the project, enabling the organization to understand the work that needs to be done to deliver the project's products before committing to a significant spend.
The objective of the Initiating a Project process is to ensure that there is a common understanding of:
  • The reasons for doing the project, the benefits expected and the associated risks
  • The scope of what is to be done and the products to be delivered
  • How and when the project's products will be delivered and at what cost
  • Who is to be involved in the project decision making
  • How the quality required will be achieved
  • How baselines will be established and controlled
  • How risks, issues and changes will be identified, assessed and controlled
  • How progress will be monitored and controlled
  • Who needs information, in what format, and at what time

In projecten clear agreements must be made on several topics::

  • planning and budget
  • the way progress will be monitored;
  • how communication inside and outside the project will be organised;
  • how the project's products will be managed and controlled;
  • in which areas risks can be expected and how these will be managed;
  • how reporting, delegation and escalation will be handled.

All these arrangements will be set down in the Project Initiation Documentation (PID).

Process overview Initiating a Project

In Starting up a Project a first definition of the project has been developed. But as SU preferably is performed quickly it is likely that additions, refinements or elaborations will be necessary for a complete understanding of the project. The process Initiating a Project gives ample opportunity for this. It goes without saying that SU should not be repeated! In addition to a thorough and shared understanding of the project and it's scope it is necessary to decide on a practical and transparent way to manage and direct the project and therefore a Project Plan in which the board has confidence is needed.

In short: to setup the project in such a way that during execution no uncertainty will arise on how to handle all these aspects.

For all documents developed in IP one must keep in mind that their size should be proportional to the size of the project!


Prepare the Quality Management Strategy

The customer quality expectations and the acceptance criteria are known from the Project Product Description, which has been drafted in Starting up a Project. Now it is time for the project to demonstrate how it is going to manage quality in such a way that it is likely that these criteria will be met. The systematic approach to this will be recorded in the Quality Management Strategy. In this activity the Quality Register will be opened.


The Quality Management Strategy defines the applicable standards, techniques and responsibilities related to quality for the technical work in the project.


An example of a quality standard products should comply with could be : "All print products should comply with the ISO-12647 color reproduction standard". As part of the testing process a number of print proofs should be performed with a standarized report.

Prepare the Configuration Management Strategy

One of the tasks in project management is to manage all the specialist and management products the project products. This is what configuration management is for. In this IP activity the project should establish to what level management and control is necessary and desirable. Sometimes configuration management should be exercised on component level (e.g. the parts of a wind turbine to be assembled), sometimes management at a higher level will suffice (e.g. complete turbines that are to be delivered and installed).

Configuration mangement is one task that could be delegated to Project Support.

Risk Management Strategy opstellen
  • The project should adapt it's risk management strategy to the strategies and practices that are in force in the organisation or the programme, and should look for previous experiences in this area.
  • The Risk Management Strategy lists the most probable areas of risk the project should investigate en tracks down lessons that have been learned in these area's. Also it is usefull to define early warning signals that should be monitored to recognize risks materializing in an early stage.
  • Here also is set down the risk tolerance for the project: threshold levels for risk above which escalation is neseccary.
  • In this activity the Risk Register is opened.
Prepare the Communication Management Strategy
For projects it is allways important to involve it's stakeholders in their project. Of course Project Board members are allways stakeholders in the project, but outside the board there may be interested parties that have to be kept informed about the project. A programme of which the project is a part is an example that comes to mind.
Create the Project Plan
  • At the end of IP the Project Board will decide on the execution of the project and allocate a budget for it (DP: Autorize a Project). To enable the board to take this decision it has to understand the project's products and it's estimated costs and duration. The Project Plan supplies this information to the board.
  • In preparing the Project Plan the Project Managers executes the seven steps that are allways relevant in making a plan. Every Plan in PRINCE2 consists of the same elements:
Set up the project controls

In project execution there is a need for effective controls. These should work between Project Board and Project Manager and between Project Manager and Team Manager(s).

The types of controls and the way they are to be used should be compatible to the project's size and nature. When setting up the project controls one should consider:

  • Communication between the various levels in the project, meetings?;
  • Number of stages, "End Stage Assessments"?;
  • How issues and changes are to be managed;
  • Exception handling procedure;
  • Use of tolerances.

As far as these matters have not been arranged elsewhere, now it the time to consider these!

Refine the Business Case

The last activity in IP is refining the Business Case: it has to be updated with the latest estimates for cost, duration, risks and benefits.
To further the assessment of real benefits after the project's closure, PRINCE2 advises to draft a Benefits Review Plan which states how, when and by whom benefits will be reviewed.

Assemble the Project Initiation Documentation

In the project there is one central location to gather and control al documentation relevant to the project. This is the Project Initiation Documentation. This is not a new document, but rather a collection of all relevant documentation sofar. In bigger projects the PID might be an file with several tabs (or a collection of files), in smaller projects a document with several paragraphs could be sufficient.

A PID is a dynamic product: various components, e.g. the Business Case, could be updated several times during the project.


In IP a number of new
documents are created::

Furthermore the Business Case that as an outline should be available at the end of SU is now updated and completed.

The Project Brief is frozen at the end of SU. When the contents are changed this should be managed as a formal rfc.

All relevant information is assembled in the Project Initiation Documentation.

Continued business justification
In IP the Business Case the Business Case is updates with new forecasts from the Project Plan.
Learn from experience
The Lessons Log is updated.
Defined roles and responsibilities
The project management team should be complete.
Manage by stages

IP is a stage by it self. Especially in large projects where costs and time for IP can be considerable, IP should be managed in the same way as the execution stages.

The project's stages are set out in the Project Plan.

Focus on products
THe product based planning approach is uses in producing the Project Plan. The PBS, PFD and de Product Descriptionsare drafted.
Tailor to suit the project environment
In smaller project, where for instance the Project Brief is clear and approved, and where initiation does not entail large efforts, SU and IP can be combined.
Business Case
The first baseline for the Business Case is frozen.
The project management team is completed.
The Quality Management Strategy is drafted en the Quality Register is opened.
The Project Plan is drafted.
The Risk Management Strategy is drafted en the Risk Register is opened.
The Configuration Management Strategy is drafted en the Isuue Register is opened. Configuration Item Records are produced for the products that have been identified.
The controls to be used are established.