Purpose of the Project in the Initiation Phase
Three objectives can be provided to guide projects. The first is whatever the project manager decides, the second is whatever the customer wants, and the third is whatever satisfies stakeholders. Satisfying stakeholders requires more than delivering what they want; it means understanding why they want what they do. Such needs may not always be expressed in ways that project managers can understand. This is why understanding the purpose of the project in initiation is crucial.
The purpose provides context for decisions made during the initiation phase. It gives criteria against which to judge potential ideas and alternatives, solutions, and plans proposed. A purpose can be referred to as a business case; it justifies an investment of resources (time, money, and effort) in a project.
Some experts claim that projects are terminated when the purpose has not been achieved. Because that is too simplistic a definition, it does not always hold true for all projects.
The project manager needs to consider the following factors while writing up an initiating process:
- The organization's strategic plan and mission, vision, values, and objectives.
- These current business issues: customer needs, market changes, and technology changes.
- The project's scope and requirements.
- The resources needed to complete the project.
- Risk factors that may come up during the project work.
The initiating process helps to determine which projects are worth working on. It also ensures that project managers are not wasting time or effort on tasks that are not meeting the project's purpose.
Calling attention to what is essential prevents internal politics, conflicts of interest, and poor decision-making from interfering with sound business decisions. Project managers can also use all of this information to construct a phased approach for project execution if they so desire.
Feasibility in the Initiation Phase
Feasibility is the success of a project being determined by whether it can be completed and has enough resources to do so. The project initiation phase must consider feasibility to determine if the project should move forward because failure could cost time, money, energy, and other resources. If at any point during this process it is decided that the project is not feasible, it must be abandoned.
One way to determine feasibility is through the use of a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. It is a strategic planning technique that helps to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of an organization or a project.
The SWOT analysis is an important tool in business projects because it allows companies to make smart choices about their projects. The output of this process should provide insight into whether these factors will influence project success or failure, allowing managers to make decisions accordingly.
In the project initiation phase, the foundation of a project must be laid out, which includes considerations about who will carry out this work and how it will be done. In addition to these factors, what resources are needed for this project to succeed? Is there enough funding available? Do people have adequate experience to see this project to fruition? Determining all of these things will help the project initiation phase to determine if a project is feasible or not, allowing managers to make decisions accordingly.
For example, let's say that the team manager wants to begin using social media as part of their marketing strategy, but they do not have any money allocated for this purpose. This lack of funds may prevent the project from moving forward, which would be unfeasible.
Determine Project Requirements in the Initiation Phase
The first activity in the project management initiation phase is determining project requirements. A great way to begin this process is by using a project charter, which will guide the team through this process. This document establishes the project vision and objectives and acts as a roadmap for the team. The project charter is the main output of the initiation phase.
The deliverables section will include an overview of what needs to be accomplished throughout the project's life cycle. It is essential to approach each responsibility with open-mindedness because delegating tasks reduces workloads and keeps people engaged in their work activities, which leads to greater productivity. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, so ensure that everyone involved knows the expectations before moving forward with any responsibilities.
Project managers need to remember that initiating projects enables companies to establish a direction for the future. By maintaining an open dialogue, project managers can keep everyone involved in the loop and ensure that everyone is on board with the project's vision. Successful projects rely on people working together, so it is essential to remain flexible during this process. It may take some time to determine project requirements, but it will be well worth it in the end when all involved are satisfied with their contributions throughout development.
The initiation phase is only successful if every person understands their role within the boundaries of what needs to be accomplished. Each team member has specific responsibilities, thoroughly communicated before any work begins. Employing new technologies or techniques without consulting stakeholders first could lead to massive changes, changing the project's vision later on.
This phase of the project management process is crucial because it sets the tone for all future stages, so project managers need to ensure that everyone is on board before moving forward with any tasks. The initiation phase involves:
- Laying out a plan
- Establishing roles and responsibilities
- Assuring success criteria are met
- Gathering support from stakeholders
- Complying with standards and regulations
- Keeping timetables simple
- Using non-distracting work methods
- Building awareness within teams
- Communicating changes well-documented
- Being solution-focused
- Determining what needs to be done in all aspects of the project management realm
- Creating an implementation plan through getting people into position before activities begin
Establish the Team in the Initiation Phase
Establishing the project team is a critical part of initiating any new project.
To involve someone in the initiation of something is to cause them to experience it. The act of starting a project is initially accomplished by just one entity. That enterprise will need many people with specific skills and knowledge to complete the project. They will determine when initiating has been achieved for this new project effort. They are likely involved in all three phases of project management (initiation, planning, execution). Each person's role on the team will be different depending on their level of involvement and maturity within the organization/department/division/etc.
Establishing the team begins with identifying project stakeholders. Stakeholders are anyone interested in the outcome of the project effort; this also includes those who may not be interested themselves but whose interests can still affect or be affected by the project (this group might include customers, suppliers, regulatory bodies/agencies, etc.). During the initiation process, the stakeholders should be identified to ensure no one important is inadvertently left out.
Once the initial list of project stakeholders has been gathered, individual team members need to be identified for this project effort. The perfect candidate will have skills needed by the project and experience with previous projects that are similar in any way. Sometimes people are available, and they need to be told what is needed. Sometimes people may need to be assigned from other projects/departments/teams to get enough experience and skills focused on the project effort. This process is called resource leveling and needs to happen in the initiation phase, so that the project manager knows exactly who is available at any given time.
Project management is the process which allows a project to be monitored and executed. The first phase of a project's execution is called the project initiation phase. The initiation phase involves the stakeholders and the project manager to finalize the scope of the project. A risk assessment is completed, and the project manager begins planning out the project, including brainstorming the people needed to complete the project. Any project methodology is useful when in the initiation phase. However, it is important to establish the purpose of a project (business case), as this can save the stakeholder and company money, time and effort. It can be used to determine if a project is feasible to complete. When building a project charter, it is important to remember to include the vision, deliverables, and scope of the project. The charter is the primary output of the initiation phase. It also helps identify the customer for the project. Both the customers and the stakeholders are impacted by the outcome of a project, so it is necessary to keep them in mind throughout the project's creation cycle. Lastly, when determining if a project is feasible, one must consider if the company has the necessary resources to complete it.