If you are preparing for the PRICE2 exam, most probably you have heard the project initiation document. Because it is a PRICE2 concept. In short, a project initiation document (PID) includes essential project information such as scope, success criteria, and collaboration, which is created before starting a project. Assume that you have signed a new contract with your client. Then you planned all the resources and tasks to be ready to start your project. Now everything is under your control so you can assign responsibilities to the team members and organize resources to get ahead of schedule. However, in order to start your project in the right way, you need to create a project initiation document. In this article, we will cover the Project Initiation Document vs Project Charter topic and discuss how to create a project initiation document (PID).
What is a Project Initiation Document?
A project initiation document is a critical document that involves basic information such as project scope, success criteria, and collaboration. It provides a single source of reference about the project so that involved people can easily understand what the project is about. It forms the foundation for a project.
Simply put, the project initiation document answers the below fundamental questions about the project;
- What is the purpose of the project?
- Why is this project important?
- What is the duration of the project?
- Who are the key project stakeholders?
- Who will be involved in the project team and what are their responsibilities?
Team members often find themselves in the middle of problems that might be originated from a poorly managed initiation phase of a project. In the beginning, many things might be unclear related to the scope. The client might be unclear about the requirements. In order to overcome a number of issues, you need to initiate your project in the right way.
No matter what type of your project is, you need a PID to guide your team members and start your project successfully.
How to Create a Project initiation Document?
As a project manager, it is your duty to direct your project team through success and make sure that everybody understood what needs to be done by who. Thus, you need to provide enough details for the team to remove the obstacles.
Also, it is important that the team is aware of the mission and the success criteria. Therefore the context is very important and it should be established before starting all the project work.
In order to create a project initiation document, we need to focus on the context, responsibilities, parameters, and risks.
1. Define the Context
You need to provide the context at the beginning. Different projects have different contextual issues that may cover both the internal and external environment.
Provide a project summary and write a high-level mission statement. Describe the vision, goals, desired outcomes, and objectives of the project. This will guide your team throughout all phases of your project.
To clarify the context, ask yourself the following questions;
- Why is the client want this project?
- Which problems will be solved with the help of this project?
- What are the objectives?
- Which metrics can be used to define success?
- What are the assumptions and constraints of the project?
2. Provide Important Parameters
Defining important project parameters is as important as defining the context and the scope of the project. Project parameters include budget, duration, milestones, constraints, and targets. While defining parameters be clear and make sure that you don’t forget anything.
3. Define Project Specifics
Defining project specifics is an important step in creating the project initiation document. You need to provide specific information regarding the project deliverables. This will guide your team to understand what needs to be done to accomplish the project.
While defining the project specifics, ask yourself the below questions;
- What is included in the project scope?
- What are the basic requirements of the project?
- What are the boundaries of the project?
Defining project specifics will help your team to understand the essential deliverables and the expectations for the project.
4. Define the Work Breakdown Structure
Create a low-level Work Breakdown Structure and demonstrate the main workstreams. Break the project work into smaller and logical sections and show how the deliverables come together and who is responsible for what.
You can use a graphical chart and number each item to represent the structure.
5. Describe the Roles and Responsibilities
A project initiation document should include necessary information regarding the overall project team structure both internal and external. Describe the project team and the role of each team member. Describe what is the reporting hierarchy between them.
This will help you to avoid misunderstandings and conflicts during communication. It is a good idea to create a RACI matrix (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed) to demonstrate who is responsible for what and who needs to be kept in the loop.
6. Risks, Assumptions, and Issues
No matter how small or large a project is, all the projects involve risks and constraints. Therefore while creating a Project Initiation Document, you need to include an overview of known risks and constraints. This will help your team to be aware of the risks, issues, and constraints that the project will face.
Below are some of the examples of risks and constraints;
- Technical constraints
- Schedule and constraints
- Complex Stakeholder landscape
Project Initiation Document vs Project Charter
Note that the project charter and the project initiation document are similar documents. They serve the same purpose. Therefore you can use one of them instead of the other. Many Organizations use them interchangeably. However, the project initiation document includes a bit more detail than the project charter.
In this article, we focus on the most important phases of a project initiation document rather than providing a template. You can create your own template by adding or removing sections described in this article.
Once you have created the Project Initiation Document, don’t forget to share it with your team. It will be great for an internal check.
Are you using Project Initiation Document or Project Charter for your projects? What do you think about the sections that a Project Initiation Document should include? Please let me know your opinions regarding the concept.
11+ years strategic communications, marketing, and project management experience. I am a trainer at StarWood Training Institute, focusing on online courses for project management professionals.