Home / project initiation steps / Project Initiation Best Practices - McCormick PCS

Project Initiation Best Practices - McCormick PCS - project initiation steps

Project Initiation Best Practices - McCormick PCS-project initiation steps

Project Initiation Best Practices
Mike McCormick
MPCS, Inc.
Project Initiation Best Practices
We expense a lot of time, effort and money on ensuring that various aspects of our lives
get off to a good start - from wedding planning to the first few days in a new job, or
even the "quick start" guide that came with your latest iPad.
Clearly, it's important that things get off on the right foot and yet how a project starts is
often an afterthought - pretty ironic when you think about it. In this paper, we're going to
focus on how to give our projects a good start in life. I want to look at some best
practices to start a project off the right way, and maximize the chances of success.
Defining Pre-Initiation and Initiation Phases
Project initiation seems to have a very different
meaning depending on the organization and
who might be involved in the conversation.
Let's define what we mean before we go any
further, and let's make it a very simple
definition: it's everything that happens before a
project is approved, and planning begins
(capturing requests, prioritizing potential initiatives and determining which will be
pursued and which will not).
There is also some confusion as to where project initiation starts - is it with a good idea,
a completed business case or something in between? As is the case so often in project
management, the answer is: "It depends." If a project is initiated as part of an annual
planning exercise, then there may well be a business case already complete (and you
may have authored it, or at least contributed to it). But if the project is the result of an
unexpected opportunity, there will likely need to be some kind of business case
Pre-Initiation Overview
This process comes before traditional Project Manage Initiation Process phase. It
provides the business transition methodology for fully analyzing the existing business
climate of the future project. The information gathered in Pre-Initiation is used to
determine a projects feasibility and preliminary approval prior to moving into the Project
Initiation Phase.
Determining the Need for Change
This section includes three activities:
Performance Measures
Environmental Scan
Document and Report/Present the Need for Change
The Validation of the Business Case Need
This section consists of three activities:
Document the Current State (High Level)
Document the Future State (High Level)
Validation of the Initial Business Case Need
Page |2
Project Initiation Best Practices
Develop the Business Case
This section consists of five activities:
Document the Impact Assessment
Document the Business Transition and Business Complexity Assessment
Document the Business Assessment
Document the Readiness Assessment
Document the Business Case
Initiation Phase Overview
The strategic level, (management and sponsorship), based on the organizations
business needs and drivers, provide scope, guidance, resources and priority for the
tactical processes.
This strategic process is to facilitate the formal authorization to start a new project or a
project phase. Much of the work may have been completed external to the project in the
Pre-Initiation Phase. The goal is to incorporate all of the needs of the organization into
the Project Charter and get formal authority to officially start the project.
Select a Project Manager
Determine company culture and existing systems (previously completed in Pre-
Collect processes, procedures and historical information (previously completed in
Divide large projects into phases
Identify stakeholders (previously completed in Pre-Initiating.)
Determine business need (previously completed in Pre-Initiating.)
Determine project objectives
Document assumptions and constraints
Document the Business Transition Strategy
o Document the Membership & Resources
o Document the Governance and Structure
o Document Operational Determinants
o Document and Research Best Practices
Page |3

How to start the project initiation phase? Outlining a Project Case Study. The first step in developing a project is drafting a project case study which provides its complete business overview. Term Referencing and Feasibility. ... Team Collaboration and Office overview. ...