To repeat in generic terms:
- The goal of project management is to end up with a satisfactory and potentially successful asset in terms of potential to generate benefit;
- To lay the foundation for a successful project, it is necessary to address a number of basic questions at a high level;
- This is typically done in a period often referred to as "Pre-project studies", or analysis, as shown in Figure 5.
Figure 5: Essential project front-end analysis and structuring for project success
These questions cover a number of issues such as:
- What is the goal and scope of this project at a conceptual level, and is it a need or an opportunity?
- What are our expectations from the project, what will our asset look like, and is it the best option?
- Is it really necessary, does it support corporate strategy, and do relevant stakeholders support it?
- What level of quality, in a range from best-of-the-best to simple-and-acceptable, are we expecting in the resulting asset?
- How long should it take, and are the risks within reasonable bounds?
- Can we afford it, and where will the money come from?
Also there are questions regarding resources, such as:
- Do we have the manpower resources, and if not, where will we find them?
- Is there a dead line for delivery, or roughly how long do we expect the project to take?
- Who is, or will be, the project owner?
- Who will be the official sponsor?
- Who will likely be the project manager, or shall we need to recruit one?
- When can we expect a formal expenditure authorization to be able to move forward?
These questions need objective study through business analysis, validation, and resolution. When the findings have been documented and accepted by upper management, then this is evidence that the project has actually started. It is now ready for an official start date and entry into the beginning of the project Initiation phase. Clearly, this is all an essential part of any significant project, and therefore should be recognized as an essential part of the project life span.