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Project Management Life Cycle - Project Initiation Document (PID)

The trigger for writing a Project Initiation Document usually comes from the PMO. This occurs normally when a Business Case and / or a Project Justification Document has been given the green light, and seed money has been set aside for further scoping of a project to continue in order to determine a more detailed plan and budget.

As such the Project Initiation phase of the Project Life Cycle is one in which the Project Manager must be heavily involved. The Project Initiation Document (PID) is one which the Project Manager should write, although sometimes a Business Analyst or Commercial Stakeholder ends up doing it due to time constraints. However it is much better if the Project Manager writes it since the PID basically sets out what exactly the scope of the Project is, who the Stakeholders are, how it will be delivered and the project governance it will follow.

A Project Initiation Document will usually have the following sections. You will find these sections detailed in more depth at Writing a Project Initiation Document.

  • Document Change History
  • Related Documents
  • Purpose
  • Project Scope
  • Project Background
  • Project Definition
  • Assumptions and Dependencies
  • Business Case
  • Organisation and Governance
  • Communications Plan
  • Project Quality Plan
  • Initial Project Plan
  • Project Controls
  • Initial Risk Log
  • Initial RFC's
  • Project Definition
  • Training
  • Appendix

As you can see from the above list, writing a PID is not usually a quick and easy task. However the more effort you put in now, the easy you will find it to deliver the project. Of course there is always a trade off. Corporates will usually not give you enough time to research and scope out the project in enormous detail. In fact usually you will be given anywhere from 1 day through to 1 month to write this document and get it approved! Therefore you need to be smart in how your write in your PID and what information is included within it. This is covered in more detail at Writing a Project Initiation Document.

Project Initiation Document Tip

A well written Project Initiation Document is one you can give able to someone with no knowledge of the project, who on reading it will have a clear idea exactly what your project is delivering, how and when. By ensuring this, you will save yourself a load of bother later on if you run into budget or scope problems.

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