Module 1: Project Initiation

"The secret of getting ahead is getting started" - Mark Twain

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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 that needs to be done 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 authorised 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 actually quite inefficient, as project initiation is the stage when the logic is established that will inform both the project plan and any necessary changes.

And because this process is often rushed or completely overlooked, here we find one of the main – 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?

To get started, though, let’s first look at what a project is and why it matters!