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Project Initiation Documentation

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The purpose of the Project Initiation Documentation is to define the project, in order to form the basis for its management and an assessment of its overall success. The Project Initiation Documentation gives the direction and scope of the project and along with the Stage Plan forms the ‘contract’ between the Project Manager and the Project Board .

The three primary uses of the Project Initiation Documentation are to:


The Project Initiation Documentation is a living product in that it should always reflect the current status, plans and controls of the project. Its component products will need to be updated and re-baselined, as necessary, at the end of each stage, to reflect the current status of its constituent parts. The version of the Project Initiation Documentation that was used to gain authorization for the project is preserved as the basis against which performance will later be assessed when closing the project.

The Project Initiation Documentation is derived from the Project Brief and discussions with user, business and supplier stakeholders for input on methods, standards and controls. The Project Initiation Documentation could be a single document; an index for a collection of documents; a document with cross references to a number of other documents; a collection of information in a project management tool.

Quality Criteria

The following quality criteria should be observed:

For large projects it is more appropriate for the Project Initiation Documentation to be a collection of stand-alone documents. The volatility of each element of the Project Initiation Documentation should be used to assess whether it should be stand-alone, e.g. elements that are likely to change frequently are best separated out.

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discussion icon Written by: Frank Turley