This section will provide you with an overview of the activities needed to initiate a project.
Initiating a project is about defining a new project or a new phase of an existing project by obtaining authorization to start the project of phase. The purpose of the initiation is to align the stakeholders’ expectations and the project purpose. Inform stakeholders of the goal and objectives and discuss how their participation in the project and its associated phases can help to ensure their expectations are met.
The initial scope is defined, and initial financial resources are committed. Stakeholders who will interact and influence the overall outcome of the project are identified. If not already assigned, the project manager is appointed. This information is captured in the project charter and stakeholder register. When the project charter is approved, the project is officially authorized, and the project manager is authorized to apply organizational resources to project activities.
Typically, the first step in project initiation is to assign the project manager who guides the project through the rest of the initiation process. Sometimes the project manager is assigned after the project’s been approved. If you find yourself in this situation, be sure to review what was done during initiation and complete any activities that were skipped or left unfinished.
During initiating you identify, analyze and classify stakeholders, clarify which part of the problem or of the opportunity the project will address, define the purpose and the goal of the project, identify and assess strategies to attain the goal and select the most appropriate, identify key deliverables, high level risks, assumptions and constrains. If a business case has been done before, this is the point in time to revisit it.
Once you have an initial project definition, it is time to prepare the project charter. This document formally authorizes the project and describes the authority of the project manager. In the next sections we will describe the key elements of defining a project and what goes into a project charter.