PRINCE2 Process: initiating a project

Every project has at least two management stages: an initiation stage, and at least one stage in which the specialist product(s) are created. The initiating a project process is carried out during the initiation stage, to ensure that the following points are clear to the project management team and the external stakeholders:

  • Project tasks:
    • what will be done,
    • why it must be done, and what the benefits will be,
    • how it will be done,
    • how risks and issues will be kept under control,
    • how the expected quality will be achieved;
  • Control (i.e., how project progress will be monitored and controlled);
  • Communication (i.e., who needs to be communicated with, by whom, when and in what form);
  • Roles and responsibilities—that is, who holds which responsibilities in performing and monitoring the project tasks.

Eight activities are involved in the initiating a project process. These are centred around the development of management products that provide information about the points outlined above, in order to enable the Project Board to evaluate the project’s viability.

Prepare the Risk Management Strategy

Two management products are involved in managing project risks. The Risk Management Strategy describes the procedure, roles and responsibilities, and guidelines for managing risks, including the standards for assessing risk impact. The Risk Register which is setup and will be used to maintain the status of all risks on the project.

Prepare the Configuration Management Strategy

Configuration management involves maintaining up-to-date records for all products created within a project. The Configuration Management Strategy describes how configuration management will be carried out within a project. During this activity, the Project Manager also creates the Issue Register which will be used to maintain the status of all formal issues throughout the project. An initial set of Configuration Item Records are also set up to keep track of the baseline management products.

Prepare the Quality Management Strategy

In order to facilitate the needs of the users, it is important that their quality expectations be clearly stated, agreed upon, and upheld for the duration of the project. The Quality Management Strategy contributes to this, by specifying techniques, standards, and responsibilities for maintaining quality on the project. A Quality Register is also set up during this activity. This will maintain the status of all the quality control activities which will be performed throughout the project.

Prepare the Communication Management Strategy

Defining the content and frequency of communication activities within the project management team and with external stakeholders is essential to ensuring that everybody knows what is expected of each other and of themselves. The Communication Management Strategy defines these communication requirements.

Set up the project controls

In order to enable the Project Board to effectively delegate everyday project activities to the Project Manager, it is important to set appropriate levels and mechanisms of control. This includes the following:

  • reporting requirements (frequency, format);
  • the number and length of stages;
  • issue, exception, and change management (capture, analysis, escalation to a higher level of management);
  • tolerances;
  • methods used for monitoring by the different management levels.

Create the Project Plan

The Plan for the overall project is created in consultation with both the user(s) and supplier(s).

Refine the Business Case

An outline Business Case is developed by the Executive as part of starting up a project. During the initiating a project process, the Project Manager fleshes out this management product with more detailed information, e.g., estimates of cost and time; newly identified (major) risks; expected benefits.

The updated Business Case contributes to the Project Board’s decision over whether to authorize the project. It will then be updated at the end of every stage with new forecasts for the project’s time, costs and benefits.

Assemble the Project Initiation Documentation

A number of management products are developed during the initiating a project process. Several of these are collected into a single body of documentation, the Project Initiation Documentation (PID), which is presented to the Project Board, together with the next Stage Plan, in order to elicit authorization of the next management stage.