The initiation phase is first of the five main phases of project management and sets the tone for how the project will proceed. It will give a macro view of the project, such as providing the broad reasoning for why the project is needed and give stakeholders an opportunity to consider whether or not it should get the go-ahead.
The five phases of project management:
- Project Initiation
- Project Planning
- Project Execution
- Project Monitoring and Control
- Project Closure
Though it will be giving details of the project in broad strokes that doesn’t mean that project initiation phase deliverables can be sloppy or have less attention paid to them. This is your opportunity to start the project as you mean it to continue and these early documents will provide the foundation for the future project plan and charter.
Project Initiation Phase Deliverables
Vision Document– This will set out the high-level business requirements of the project and who its involved parties and stakeholders would be. It will introduce the project, its background, what problems are affecting the business and what solution the project would deliver.
Develop Business Justification- The business justification will go more in-depth into how much the specific issue is costing the organization and how the proposed solution will fix it. It will also outline the short, medium and long-term gains to the organization along with the subsidiary advantages, such as increased capacity in an area and potential licensing of what was developed.
Perform Feasibility Study– In the project initiation phase, it is also necessary to work out whether the project can actually be implemented. Thus, the feasibility study will investigate areas other than the budget, such as regulatory requirements, resource capacity and availability of vendors.
Scope Statement- Before executing a project, it is important to know where its boundaries are, what is included in its scope and what isn’t. Scope drift can be a major risk for projects and certainly a headache for PMs as it can see extra burden being placed on the team, resources being diverted, and actual project deliverables missed. Setting out your project’s scope firmly at the initiation phase lets internal and external stakeholders know exactly where you stand.
Preliminary Budget Estimate– The initial budget estimate will make a cost-based analysis of what will be needed for the project to be implemented. This should detail all potential inputs, including staff, technological and location costs.
Communications Plan– Communicating between the various stakeholders, as well as being the conduit for project information to and from your team means that the comms plan is a key document for every project manager. This plan will lay out how, how often and why different parties will be communicating with each other over the course of the project.
Kickoff Meeting- The kickoff meeting will bring together all the relevant stakeholders to outline the objectives of the project and how they are to be achieved. As well as informing them of the project’s scope it is also a key moment for getting buy-in from the various parties, which can give your project a great launch pad to start off from.
For more on the different phases of the project management lifecycle, check out What Are the Five Stages of Project Management?