The secret of getting ahead is getting started.
A project doesn’t start with a plan, a charter, or even a business case; it starts with an idea.
Project initiation refers to all the pre-project work needed to progress your eureka moment into a fully-fledged project.
As it involves defining the opportunity, testing the merits of project options, and getting the necessary approvals, it requires extensive stakeholder consultation and support.
The end of the initiation phase is reached when the project is authorized with a high-level scope, budget, and schedule for delivery. This should – but, unfortunately, doesn’t always – follow consideration of a comprehensive and robust business case.
The project manager often inherits a project well after the initiation process is complete (in other words, a high-level scope, timeline, and resources are already allocated). As we will see, this is quite inefficient, as project initiation is the stage when the logic is established to inform both the project plan and any necessary changes.
And because this process is often rushed or wholly overlooked, here we find one of the leading – avoidable – causes of project failure.
After all, without a clear, strategic consensus on what your project intends to achieve, how will you ever know if you have succeeded?