Project Initiation Phase

Project Initiation process starts with establishing objectives. That's when project managers meet and decide which information they need from project.

The number of objectives varies from company to company, for example a small company may have single objective defined for a project i.e. a marketing manager may want to know about their customers; what makes them to buy their products.

The objectives are basically the output of the projects business need to have. Project objectives must be clearly defined for project in order to make it successful.

"The Initiating Process Group consists of those processes performed to define a new project or a new phase of an existing project by obtaining authorization to start the project or phase.” – A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) Fifth Edition

In initiation phase this phase, the idea for the project is discovered and explained. The primary goal of project initiation phase is to observe the feasibility of the project, and decisions are made concerning who will carry out the project, which party will be involved and whether the project has sufficient base of support among the stakeholders.

In this phase, the current or prospective project leader writes a proposal, which contains a description of the scope and feasibility of the project.

The project champions (sponsors) evaluate the proposal and, provide the necessary financing on approval. The project officially begins at the time of approval is granted.

Project Charter as the project initiation document defined in the PMI’s PMBOK® Guide (Third Edition), as:

A document issued by the project initiator or sponsor that formally authorizes the existence of a project, and provides the project manager with the authority to apply organizational resources to project activities.

In most of the projects where following question have been clarified it is possible to continue straight on to planning the project. However, it is important to check whether all key stakeholders are in agreed on all the points before proceeding to the planning stage. Project Initiation questions may include but not limited to the following:

  • The purpose of project?
  • What is the scope of project?
  • The feasibility of project?
  • Who are the potential stockholders project?
  • What would be the outcome of the project?

In spite of all the work done in initiating phase there may still be conflicts arise because the stockholders of the project are not clear on certain matters. The project champion or end customer may expect a working product, while the members of the project team are developing a prototype.

For example, in IT project, sponsor may think that the project will produce a working piece of software, while the members of the project team must first examine whether the idea itself is technically viable.