Published here June, 2008.

Introduction | Book Structure
What We Liked: Project Initiation | Project Planning | Project Execution | Project Closure
Downside | Summary

What We Liked - Project Initiation

Jason says:
"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 phase."[5]

"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 [2] shows the activities undertaken during the initiation phase:

Figure 2: Project initiation activities
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 and experience

"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 and registers;
  • 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."[6]

Book Structure  Book Structure

5. Ibid, pp3-4
6. Ibid, pp5-7
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