Kamis, 23 April 2009

Project Management - Why a Project Initiation Document is so Important in a Successful Project

. Kamis, 23 April 2009

Many people perceive that generating reams of documentation such as plans and reports are the key to delivering a successful project.. As experienced Project Managers will tell you, this is rarely the case except when it comes to the creation of one piece of project documentation; namely the Project Initiation Document.

Essentially the Project Initiation Document is the key reference document for a project. Think of it as the project "Bible" which will be constantly referred to throughout the project lifecycle when questions of scope and delivery approach are raised.

It is a project document in which is detailed everything related to the project such as:

* Project Definition
* Business Case which details why the project should be done
* Scope of what the Project is delivering
* Strategy to deliver the project
* Project Team structure and Governance

* Communications Plan
* Quality Plan
* Project Risks, Issues and Assumptions
* Project Controls
* Project Budget
* High Level Project Plan
* Project Exceptions criteria

External observers often think that Project Manager's fears about project scope are overdone, but scope creep is without a doubt one of the major reasons why projects fail. Anyone who has experienced a flood of Project Change Requests throughout a project will attest to that!

However having a detailed and accurate Project Initiation Document tends to stop the majority of such problems for the simple reason that when Business Stakeholders try to change Scope, it is easy to refer them back to the Project Initiation Document. Further since this document will have been formally Approved by the Project Stakeholders and other interested parties, it is hard for anyone to say that they didn't know what the project was going to be delivering.

It is for this reason that a Project Manager should spend time on what is admittedly not a straightforward nor simple document to write. The problem is that all too often Project Managers are tempted to skim over this document in their desire to get the project started as soon as possible to meet extremely tight deadlines. However by doing this they are simply storing up problems for the future and the very real possibility that they are initiating a project which will have no chance of succeeding.

So to give a project the best chance of successfully delivering, it pays to devote time to getting the Project Initiation Document written correctly and approved by all the Project Stakeholders to ensure the project approach and scope is agreed upfront.



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