Project Initiation Documentation
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:
- Ensure that the project has a sound basis before asking the Project Board to make any major commitment to the project
- Act as a base document against which the Project Board and Project Manager can assess Progress , issues and ongoing viability questions
- Provide a single source of reference about the project so that people joining the ‘temporary organization’ can quickly and easily find out what the project is about, and how it is being managed.
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.
The following quality criteria should be observed:
- The Project Initiation Documentation correctly represents the project
- It shows a viable, achievable project that is in line with corporate strategy or overall programme needs
- The project management team structure is complete, with names and titles. All the roles have been considered and are backed up by agreed role descriptions. The relationships and lines of authority are clear. If necessary, the project management team structure says to whom the Project Board reports
- It clearly shows a control, reporting and direction regime that can be implemented, appropriate to the scale, risk and importance of the project to corporate or programme management
- The controls cover the needs of the Project Board, Project Manager and Team Managers and satisfy any delegated assurance requirements
- It is clear who will administer each control
- The project objectives, approach and strategies are consistent with the organization’s corporate social responsibility directive, and the project controls are adequate to ensure that the project remains compliant with such a directive
- Consideration has been given to the format of the Project Initiation Documentation. For small projects a single document is appropriate.
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.