Initiating a project is mainly about building the project plan, setting up the rules (approaches/strategies) for the project and firming up the business case.
The Purpose of Initiating a Project process is to establish solid foundation for the project, enabling the organization to understand the work that needs to be done.
An important part of Initiating a Project, too often neglected, is the preparation of the project’s sets of rules. PRINCE2 calls these rule sets approaches (called strategies before the 2017 version). This is the time to create agreement, alignment and documentation on how the project will deal with risk management, change management, quality processes and communication.
A major chunk of Initiating a Project is planning. Here, PRINCE2 is using a specific planning technique called “product based planning”. PRINCE2 centers the planning on the deliverables – the products, as opposed to activities.
Summarized, the eight main activities in the PRINCE2 process Initiating a Project (IP) are:
- Prepare the Risk Management Approach
- Prepare the Change Control Approach
- Prepare the Quality Management Approach
- Prepare the Communication Management Approach.
- Set up the project Controls
- Create the Project Plan
- Refine the Business Case
- Assemble the Project Initiation Document.
- Isolated planning. Too often the project manager is planning the project in isolation. A good plan is built on dialogue between project manager, team managers and other expertise. One should have mechanisms in place to build ownership to the plans within the supplier’s line organization.
- No reflection on the approaches. Copy-past is tempting when authoring the approaches, and can ruing reflections and alignment on what the appropriate approaches are for the specific project.
- Investigating and evaluating concepts. Some end up using Initiating a Project to evaluate various concept options in depth. This can cause the Initiating a Project process to last and last. In these circumstances, the correct approach is usually to close Initiating a Project and move concept evaluation into a first delivery stage.