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Recognizing that a project or phase
should begin and committing to do
Here is where the initial business
need is established, the primary
roles and responsibilities for a
project are defined, and initial
resources are assigned.
In this phase the business
goals are defined. They are established from the business needs
of the organization and will be
refined and made specific during
the Executing phase.
The project charter is created
to direct the Project
Team in planning the project
or next phase of a large project. Approval to start a project is obtained along
with a commitment of future resources
for the job ahead.
The initial Project Leadership Team to support and facilitate the project is
Four key leadership roles
typically defined and agreed upon
before the project starts the planning
phase are the project sponsor, the
project steering committee, the
project manager, and in some cases
the technical lead. A general approach
or life cycle model is chosen for
planning and executing the project. The amount and level of project controls are
identified based on project risk
and complexity. The Project Leadership Team’s agreement on
lifecycle model and project controls
focus how the project is planned,
controlled, and executed.
The deliverables of the initiating
phase provide all affected participants
with a common point of reference
and reduce risk of project misunderstanding
when the project is underway.
To obtain a common understanding
of the business need or issue to
be resolved by the project or phase.
To provide clear and, as far as
possible, verifiable or quantifiable
business objectives that a solution
To provide a high level understanding
of the organizations readiness for
change and the level of impact this
project will have on the organization.
To provide the initial scope on
which the project will be planned.
To obtain sponsorship, organizational
commitment, and assign key leadership
To obtain an agreement on how the
project will be planned and managed.
Common lessons learned from skipping
or poorly executing the initiation
Disagreement or dissatisfaction
with/from the customer on what was
to be delivered.
Inability to distinguish if the
business issue or need has been
resolved – or what constitutes the
end of a project or phase.
Inadequate or unknown sponsorship
and leadership direction.
Severely over planned or under planned
Severely lengthening the time it
takes to plan a project.
Organization is not ready for and/or
does not accept the delivered project
due to resistance to change
Inputs to Initiation
Product Description or DEPARTMENTAL Business
The product description or
business case documents the characteristics
of the product or service that the
project is to create.
Strategic Plans. All work requests should be supportive of
the DEPARTMENTAL Strategic Business
Plan– the strategic plans of DEPARTMENTAL
should be considered as a factor
in choosing to move forward with
Project Selection Criteria. Criteria that aids in determining:
If a piece of work should be managed
as a project.
The Level of potential project complexity,
risk, and size.
The level of project management
The level of business change management
Historical Information. Information pertaining to prior projects or
related work should be considered
to the extent available. When initiation involves approval for the
next phase of a project, information
about the results of previous phases
is often critical.
Initiating -Process Activities
The process is a course of proven
actions used to guide the organization
through the initiating phase. Performing these activities has been proven
to reduce the amount of risk and
rework in later phases of a project.
It’s a work process – not document creation
Performing the process is the primary
effort, not creating a document.
Creating the document or
deliverable is secondary.
The processes are intended to obtain
a common understanding and agreement.
Writing the information down
informally (white board, e-mail,
notes) facilitates the evolution
of a common understanding and agreement.
Once broad understanding is obtained,
formulating an accurate, concise,
and readable deliverable from the
information is appropriate.
Using a deliverable template
provides an organizationally consistent
method to document project information.
The process activities are diagramed
and then followed by brief discussion
of each activity. The diagram is numbered to correspond to the
“Project Management – Overview Reference”
located in the Introduction of this
Each process step number and title
is indicated in bold in the left
In addition to the title
the recommended template to document
the outcomes of the process step
is indicated in parentheses.
Each of the activities are briefly
Identify the Business Requirement
purpose of this activity is to quickly
establish a common understanding
of the business need or problem
to be resolved between the initial
champion(s) of the idea and OIS.
These efforts are best achieved
first informally (e-mail, notes,
etc.), and then more formally by
recording the outcomes in the product
description template for future
reference and as an aid in decision-making.
a common understanding involves
discussing and confirming the need
for the product or service, defining--in
broad terms the expected end result,
as well as the benefit to be obtained
by producing a solution. The bulk of this information should be obtained
in a single informal meeting.
an initial understanding of the
request is established, a simple
assessment of the work complexity
is conducted to determine if the
risks warrant managing it as a project
and how much project management
should be applied.
is best to summarize the results
of these two activities to take
to an appropriate level of management
within the organization in order
to obtain a decision chartering
the effort as a project.
An Executive Summary, which
provides the main points of the
product description and assessment
results, is prepared to request
is important to note that the goal
of this activity is to avoid spending
a lot of time and resources to get
to this point in the process.
Present Concept for Management Approval
next step is to get concurrence
that the concept should move on
into a planned work effort, or be
canceled or shelved until a later
point in time.
concept is then presented to management.
In some cases this may be
an escalation of presentations,
i.e. business management, Executive
Staff, Steering Committee. In other cases it will be a meeting between
an Dept. manager, and business manager.
Executive Summary is presented for
a “go/no go” decision to charter
a project or a phase of a project.
It is suggested that when
presenting the Executive Summary
you include a cover page that identifies
the decision desired/needed from
the person or group. A template “Decision Request” is optional.
It can be found in the section
tabbed “Controlling Templates.”
addition to getting a decision to
proceed with chartering a project,
a single sponsor and project planner
should be assigned at minimum.
Obtain Authorities for a project
final activity is to obtain agreements
on how the project should be planned
The sponsor and project manager
work together to create a project
agreements to be obtained include
reasonable amounts of planning and
controls for the project.
The Business and Technical
Complexity assessment gives guidelines
to assist in selecting the appropriate
levels of planning and controls.
source(s) and budget authority must
be established. If project is to be government funded, please
review local laws.
groups that are to be involved with
the project must be identified and
notified that they will be included:
A project charter is created to obtain
The level and amount of planning and
IPMThe funding source(s) and budget
Other group involvement.
Assignment of resources to complete
Output from Initiation
Charter Updated and Signed. The product charter confirms agreement
on the business goal and need that
gave rise to the project, (i.e.
change in business, technological
advance, legal requirement, problem,
It includes the primary product
objectives in support of the business
goal and need that will be a measure
of the project’s success as well
as initial insights into the complexity
of the effort and the potential
change impact to the business. A signed project charter formally recognizes
the existence of a project.
It provides the project manager
and project team with clear guidance
on how the project should be planned
and managed. It describes primary roles, responsibilities,
Project Leadership Team Identified/Assigned.
general, the leadership team should
be identified and assigned as early
in the project as feasible.
Preferably before much project
planning has been done.
Constraints. The factors that limit the project leadership
team’s options regarding scope,
staffing, scheduling, and management
of the project.
Assumptions. The factors that, for planning purposes,
will be considered to be true, real,
or certain. For example, if the date that a key person
will become available is uncertain,
the team may assume a specific start
Tools and Techniques
The tools and
techniques of the Initiating Phase
assist the organization in assessing
if a piece of work should be managed
as a project, as well as what the
potential project’s initial complexity,
risk, and size are. The assessment is used to forecast the amount
and level of planning and controls
needed for a project, the expertise
of the staff required, and the level
of senior management involvement. It helps determine when a large or very risky
project should be scoped and chartered
to deliver one phase at a time.
These techniques are used
very early in the project with very
limited data and the results are
used to charter the project.
Expert Judgment. Expertise on assessing a project may be provided
by a group or individual with specialized
knowledge in project management.
The expert(s) must be able
to, with limited information, judge
the complexities of a potential
project and make a solid recommendation
of the amount and level of planning
and controls needed for the potential
A project may use expert
consulting in lieu of a complexity
assessment as long as the expert(s)
is/are recognized by the organization
Business and Technical Complexity Assessment.
A simple assessment of
both the business complexity and
the technical complexity of a potential
It is designed to take an
individual or group 15 minutes to
It is an exercise that has
the participant rate 7-8 business
complexity attributes and technical
complexity attributes on a scale
from one to five.
Once the ratings have been determined,
a trend can be obtained for both
the business complexity and technical
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