The purpose of the Initiating a Project process is to understand the work that needs to be done to deliver the required products. This understanding is needed before deciding to continue with the project. Like any project there are a number of important items to discover, and so there are a number of questions to ask about the project:
- What are the reasons for doing the project and the Benefits and Risks?
- Scope: What is to be done and what will not be included?
- When can the products be delivered?
- How can it be ensured that quality will be achieved?
- How are risks, issues and changes identified and followed up?
- How the project progress is monitored and who needs to be informed and how often?
- And lastly how will PRINCE2 be tailored to suit the project?
Let us put Initiating a Project into context and look at what it really does for the project. The Starting Up a Project process checks if the project is viable, while Initiating a Project is about building a correct foundation for the project so that all stakeholders are clear on what the project will achieve.
The alternative would be to allow projects to start after the Starting Up a Project process without knowing any of the following: planning, milestones, cost and level of quality. It is a bit like building a house on little or no foundation.
Initiating a Project can be a big investment for a company but it’s a necessary investment to plan and run the rest of the project. During Initiating a Project, the Project Manager will be creating a collection of management products to show: how the project will be managed, the cost, how quality will be checked, planned, how communication will be done, etc.
PRINCE2 recommends eight activities in the Initiating a Project, which are:
- Preparing the Risk Management Strategy, which will answer how to manage risk during the project (that is, how to manage the rules of engagement for risk).
- Preparing the Configuration Management Strategy, which will give information on how to manage the products produced during the project.
- Preparing the Quality Management Strategy, which will answer the question on how to ensure quality.
- Preparing the Communication Management Strategy, which will answer questions related to communication with stakeholders.
- Setup of Project Controls, which will provide information on how the Project Board can control the project.
- Creating the Project Plan, which covers Product Descriptions, risks, timescales and costs.
- Refining the Business Case, which means to complete the Business Case.
- Lastly, assembling the Project Initiation Documentation (PID), which is to collect and assemble information from most of the documents created to date.
The Project Manager will begin with the 4 strategy documents and will then create the Project Controls and Project Plan. These are iterative activities so they will continue to be updated during the Initiation Stage. The Business Case can then be completed after the Project Plan as the Project Plan provides information required by the Business Case (time and cost information). The final activity is to assemble the Project Initiation Documentation.
- The Trigger is the “Authority to Initiate the Project” which comes from the Project Board.
- The Project Brief comes from the SU process. The information in the Project Brief is expanded and refined and it will become part of the Project Initiation Documentation.
- The Initiation Stage Plan comes from the SU process.
- The four management strategy documents: Quality, Configuration Management, Risk and Communications (part of PID).
- The Project Management Team Structure and Roles Descriptions (part of PID).
- The Project Plan is a plan for the whole project created which includes all Product Descriptions (part of PID).
- The Business Case is the responsibility of the Executive and provides the information to justify the project. The Project Manager will most likely assist the Executive (part of PID). The Project Initiation Document forms a contract between the Project Manager and the Project Board.
- An overview of how the project will be controlled (part of PID).
- The Benefits Review Plan is an overview of what and when Benefits will be realized both during and after the project, and who (Senior User) is responsible for these benefits
- Request to deliver a project: The final output of the Initiating a Project process is a request to the Project Board to deliver the project or, in other words, to sign off on the PID and allow the project to continue.
Roles and Responsibilities
- Project Board
- Approve all parts of the PID.
- Create Business Case.
- Approve all parts of the PID.
- Senior User
- Senior Supplier
- Approve parts of the PID (e.g., Project Plan, PMT).
- Provide resources to help with planning.
- Project Assurance
- Review most of the information in the PID.
- Project Manager
- Create most of documents required for the PID.
- Create the Benefits Review Plan.
- Team Manager
- Assist with Planning (PBP, Estimating, etc.)