Clearly, it is important that your projects get off on the right foot and how a project starts is usually critical to the eventual success of the project. This series of blog posts will present top tips for successful project initiation and will show you how to make sure that your project gets off on the right foot and hence have a better chance of success. The purpose here is to discuss top tips and some best practices and is not meant to be a formal project management process description. You can find this in the Prince2 methodology.
Introduction to Project Initiation
Project initiation is rarely given the attention it deserves. Project Initiation is often viewed as a necessary step before the “real” project work starts and is frequently rushed through as quickly as possible so that the planning phase can be started. At times it is skipped entirely with some tasks combined with planning process or eliminated entirely. However, project initiation is the foundation of the entire project and Project Initiation is the groundwork that helps ensure success later on. Without a comprehensive project initiation, the likelihood of delivering the project within the scope, time, budget and quality requirements at an acceptable level of risk is diminished.
Project Initiation Defined
Project initiation seems to have a very different meaning depending on the organisation and who might be involved in the process. Project Initiation is everything that happens before a project is approved, and planning begins (capturing requests, prioritising potential initiatives and determining which will be pursued and which will not). There is often some confusion as to where project initiation starts – is it with a good idea, a completed business case or something in between? If a project is initiated as part of an annual planning exercise, then there may well be a business case already complete (and you may have authored it, or at least contributed to it). But if the project is the result of an unexpected opportunity, there will likely need to be some kind of business case completed.
Project Initiation Defined using Prince2
Prince2 is a formal project management process and is widely used in the UK and Europe and has a strong focus on project initiation. In Prince2, the Project Initiation Document brings together all the information gathered during the the “Starting up a Project” and “Initiating a Project” processes in a PRINCE2 project environment. The Project Initiation Document, or PID is assembled from a series of other documents, including the Business Case, the Terms of Reference, the Communication Plan, the Risk register, the Project Tolerances, the Project plan, and any specific project controls or inspections as part of a departmental Quality plan or common project approach.
Project Initiation Approach
So as can be inferred from this introduction, project initiation isn’t always a simple process and requires a lot of time and effort. However, there are plenty of tools and formal project management processes available to assist with the work. These tools can help people working on projects collaborate, track work items, support version control, capture risks and assumptions for further review, etc. By using the right tools in the right way, there is no reason why project initiation can’t go smoothly and get your project off to that good start.
JMR Consulting UK Ltd has core project management expertise based on its Financial Services heritage and 15 years of operating in the Finance and IT sectors. Over this period, JMR staff have developed key project management programs and a constant focus on our service philosophy which is at the core of JMR’s business operation.