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Initiation Phase of Project Management

Katherine Williams, Stephen Meyer
  • Author
    Katherine Williams

    Katherine Williams has an Mth in Theological Ethics and Philosophy from The University of Aberdeen and a BA in Theatre Arts from Oral Roberts University. Katherine has 10+ years of experience teaching literacy, essay composition, philosophy, and world languages. Katherine is also a TEFL-Certified ESL teacher. She has 3 years of experience teaching and developing curriculum for ESL students.

  • Instructor
    Stephen Meyer

    Stephen has worked as a Project Manager and is PMP certified, as well as certified by the Scrum Alliance.

Learn about the initiation phase in project management and understand its importance. Explore the parts of the initiation process, such as the purpose of a project. Updated: 02/22/2022

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Project Management & Initiation Phase

Project management is defined as planning, organizing, securing, leading, and controlling project activities to meet project requirements. The project manager's responsibility is to direct project team members or project resources to complete their project assignments on time and within project constraints.


Businesses utilize project management to create products, services, or processes used in the industry. Projects can be short-term or long-term and can take place individually or on a large scale with many resources involved at once.

Brainstorming schedule


Businesses utilize project management to create products, services, or processes used in the industry. Projects can be short-term or long-term and can take place individually or on a large scale with many resources involved at once.

The project initiation phase is the first part of the project management process. It is an important project planning step that enables project managers to plan, create project schedules, and make necessary changes before the project execution. It covers setting up project infrastructure, enlisting early adopters, identifying critical success factors (CSFs), and creating a project management plan.

The Initiation Process

The initiation phase is a vital part of any project. It is the time when the project manager and team members decide what they want to do, what they need to do, and how they will do it. The initiation phase is a crucial step in any project management methodology. There are many different iterations of how a project can be initiated, depending on leadership styles, company goals, and the project itself. However, the following steps should be included in any project initiation methodology.

The project initiation phase or stage covers the following project milestone activities:

  • Creating the project charter (the project charter is the primary output for the initiation phase)
  • Project charter being approved (that usually takes place before project management project)
  • The project manager is assigned to the project
  • The project approval process is over
  • Project scope finalization
  • Risk assessment completed.
  • Project Planning
  • Schedule Creation


The project definition phase might follow the project initiation stage after project planning tools are created and infrastructure is set up.

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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.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the initiation phase of project management?

The initiation phase is the first step in a project. It includes the planning of a project and any necessary research. The scope of the project is decided during this phase.

The initiation phase starts with an idea or concept that is then analyzed and developed into a plan. This plan will have milestones, tasks, and deliverables.

Why is the initiation phase important?

In order to ensure that the project is successful, it is important to conduct a proper initiation phase. This phase allows the team and stakeholders to understand what they want from the project.

What are the steps of the initiation phase?

The initiation phase of a project can look different depending on the project. However, a general progression looks like this:

  • Project charter development and approval
  • Project scope finalization
  • Risk assessment
  • Project planning

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