What We Liked - Project Initiation
"The first phase of a project is the initiation phase. During this phase a business
problem or opportunity is identified and a business case providing various solution
options is defined. Next, a feasibility study is conducted to investigate whether
each option addresses the business problem and a final recommended solution is
then put forward. Once the recommended solution is approved, a project is initiated
to deliver the approved solution. Terms of reference are completed outlining the
objectives, scope and structure of the new project, and a project manager is appointed.
The project manager begins recruiting a project team and establishes a project
office environment. Approval is then sought to move into the detailed planning
"Within the initiation phase, the business problem or opportunity is identified,
a solution is defined, a project is formed and a project team is appointed to
build and deliver the solution to the customer. Figure 
shows the activities undertaken during the initiation phase:
Figure 2: Project initiation activities
"Develop a business case: The trigger to initiating a project is identifying
a business problem or opportunity to be addressed. A business case is created
to define the problem or opportunity in detail and identify a preferred solution
for implementation. The business case includes:
- A detailed description of the problem or opportunity;
- A list of the alternative solutions available;
- An analysis of the business benefits, costs, risks and issues;
- A description of the preferred solution;
- A summarized plan for implementation.
"An identified project sponsor then approves the business case and the required
funding is allocated to proceed with a feasibility study.
"Undertake a feasibility study: At any stage during or after the creation
of a business case, a formal feasibility study may be commissioned. The purpose
of a feasibility study is to assess the likelihood of each alternative solution
option achieving the benefits outlined in the business case. The feasibility study
will also investigate whether the forecast costs are reasonable, the solution
is achievable, the risks are acceptable and the identified issues are avoidable.
"Establish the terms of reference: After the business case and feasibility
study have been approved, a new project is formed. At this point, terms of reference
are created. The terms of reference define the vision, objectives, scope and deliverables
for the new project. They also describe the organization structure; and activities,
resources and funding required to undertake the project. Any risks, issues, planning
assumptions and constraints are also identified.
"Appoint the project team: The project team are now ready to be appointed.
Although a project manager may be appointed at any stage during the life of the
project, the manager will ideally be appointed prior to recruiting the project
team. The project manager creates a detailed job description for each role in
the project team, and recruits people into each role based on their relevant skills
"Set up a project office: The project office is the physical environment
within which the team is based. Although it is usual to have one central project
office, it is possible to have a virtual project office with project team members
located around the world. A project office environment should include:
- Equipment, such as office furniture, computer equipment, stationery and materials;
- Communications infrastructure, such as telephones, computer network, e mail,
Internet access, file storage, database storage and backup facilities;
- Documentation, such as a project methodology, standards, processes, forms
- Tools, such as accounting, project planning and risk modeling software.
"Perform a phase review: At the end of the initiation phase, perform
a phase review. This is basically a checkpoint to ensure that the project has
achieved its objectives as planned."
5. Ibid, pp3-4
6. Ibid, pp5-7