My Project Management Expert

Writing a Project Initiation Document

This is without a doubt one of the most important documents of the whole project. Consider it to be your Bible; namely a document to which you will constantly refer back to throughout the whole project to see exactly what the scope of your project, timelines, governance and budget actually is.

The Project Initiation document will usually have the following sections. Unfortunately the larger and complex your project is the more of this document you will need to complete.

01.Document Change History, Related Documents and Purpose
02.Project Scope Statement
03.Project Background
04.Project Definition
05.Assumptions, Dependencies and Constraints
06.Business Case
07.Organisation and Governance
08.Communications Plan
09.Quality Plan
10.Initial Project Plan
11.Project Controls
12.Initial Risks and Issues Log
13.Initial RFC's, Open Questions, Training & Appendix
14.Getting A PID Approved

As you will see from the above list, a PID is a weighty and detailed document which needs to be compiled. It can seem like too much bother when you are already busy trying to get the project started, but whatever you do, do not skimp on it. By spending the time to make it as detailed as possible, you will immediately head off numerous arguments further down the line.

You may wonder why on earth there would be heated arguments during a project which can be alleviated by a detailed PID? Well the area of project scope is one which is fraught with confusion. This can be caused by any number of things including:

  • Business Stakeholders discovering they have missed out key functionality and wanting to change it without either raising a Change Request or increasing the Project Budget.
  • 3rd Party Providers trying to wriggle out of delivering functionality agreed.
  • The Test Team trying to reduce the scope of their testing due to resourcing constraints / conflicts.
  • Roles and Responsibilities not being properly defined causing problem resolution and reporting issues.

Writing a Project Initiation Document Tip

When writing a PID ensure you get as much input from the various workstreams who will be involved in your project as possible. Also make sure you work closely with the Business Analyst allocated as they will often have more knowledge about the project than you will.

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