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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Chapter 17: Introduction to Project Initiation

As you learned in the previous section on Introduction to Project Management, you manage projects through processes. You also learned that a process has an input, uses some tools and techniques, and produces output. You manage the initiation of a project through a process group called the initiating process group, which consists of two processes: Develop Project Charter and Identify Stakeholders. Before you can initiate a project, it must originate from somewhere.

In this section (a bunch of chapters) we will be looking at one big question:

How is a Project Initiated?


So, lets get started!!!

Initiating a Project:

Initiating a project means defining the project, getting approval from people to start it, and identifying and analyzing the project stakeholders. During this stage the initial scope of the project is defined. Accordingly, initial resources are determined and allocated, a project manager with an appropriate authority level is assigned, and project stakeholders are identified.

Defining the project includes the following tasks:

1. Developing project objectives and describing how they are related to the organization’s business objectives and strategy. (Remember the Project/Program/Portfolio Relationship chapter?)
2. Specifying the project deliverables, such as products, services, or results, that will meet the objectives of starting this project.
3. Based on the objectives and deliverables, defining the initial scope of the project by explaining what will be done and drawing boundaries around what will be done and what will not be done.
4. Based on the initial scope, estimating the project duration and the resources needed. Only an Initial estimate would be made so that resources can be procured accordingly. An even accurate estimate would be made during the planning phase
5. Defining the success criteria. The project definition is incomplete without defining its success.
6. Assigning the initial project resources.
7. Assigning a project manager if one is not already assigned.
8. Authorizing the project. While different organizations may have a different process to approve the processes, the standard way to do it is to approve the document that holds the definition of the project, such as the project charter.
Note: The processes in the initiating process group, just like any other process group, can also be used to initiate a phase of a project that has multiple phases.

Based on the project definition, you will identify the project stakeholders.

Look at the image below and you will understand the process of how inputs are provided to create the project charter.




Every organization has a business strategy and based on the business needs, someone in the top management writes down a statement of work and makes a business case. This business case and the statement of work are the starting points to develop the initial project scope and thereby determine what needs to be done in order to meet the business strategy. All these things go into the Project Charter which in turn is an input to the process of identifying the Stakeholders. Remember the chapter on Project Stakeholders?

Trivia:
It’s a good policy to involve customers and other important stakeholders in the initiation stage of the project. It gives them the feeling of shared ownership that will greatly contribute to the success of the project by positively influencing factors such as deliverable acceptance and stakeholder satisfaction.

In the next chapter, we will ponder more about the origin of projects and how they are initiated!!!

Previous: Important Terms - Introduction to Project Management

Next: Origin of Projects

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