Mattapan Tech's  Project Management Course 
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Lesson 1- Project Initiation


In the previous assignment, you learned about  about project constraints (Time, budget and quality) and the common characteristics of all projects: All projects have a time to begin and a time to end and all projects produce a unique product or service. You learn about the life cycle of a project: definition, planning, executing and closing. You also learned about the 5 steps of project management process: initiation, planning, executing, controlling and closing. Now let's look at (in detail) how to begin the work of a project.

An organization authorizes a project when there is a problem or an issue to resolve. There are a few key questions to ask during the project definition process. What am I going to do? Why will I do it?  Who is going to use it? What are our goals? Who has the authority? How are we going to communicate? If you have the answers to all of these questions, you have defined the project.

As a project manager, your first task is to find out who are the stakeholders. Stakeholders are everyone who will get involved directly with the project and everyone that will be affected by the project.  For example, if the city where you live is planning a new playground for children, the functional managers in the city, the people in the neighborhood who will use the playground and the neighbors of the site who will be affected by the construction are all stakeholders.  You must identify everyone who will have a stake in the project, both inside and outside the organization.

The second task is to understand clearly the objective of the project and make a statement of work that must be accepted in writing by the stakeholders. A project cannot be successful if there is not a clear objective.

The third task is to establish and document the project rules. Then you can move to project planning.

Stakeholder Analysis.- This process identifies the stakeholders and their role in the project. The stakeholders include but are not limited to: The project sponsor, the functional managers, the people who will fund the project, the people that will approve the project, the project team members, the users etc.

The project sponsor is known and actively involved in supporting the project. The project sponsor is the organization representative who will be your contact person, usually a functional manager or a vice president in the organization.

The project sponsor has sufficient authority within the project environment to effectively champion the project team.

Functional managers supplying personnel or other resources to the project have been identified and are ready to supply the required resources.  For example, the accountant, engineers, etc.

The people who will approve requirements & specifications, changes to requirements & specifications, and who will accept the final product are identified and have agreed to the process for these approvals.

The people who will approve funding and changes to funding are known and a process exists for approving changes to funding.

Stakeholders inside and outside the firm that will have veto power over any decision in the project are known and are identified in the responsibility matrix and communication plan.

All contributors necessary to complete the project have been identified and understand their role on the project.

The stakeholders that will receive and operate the outcome of the project are included in the responsibility matrix.

Stakeholders who will be affected by the outcomes of the project are known, their stake is understood, and there is a strategy for managing them to benefit the project.

A project charter that clearly identifies and shows management support for the project manager has been published. Click here to view an example of a project charter.  A project charter is a document that names a project manager and gives full power to that project manager to plan, execute and control the project. The project charter must be signed by a person with authority in the company (president or vice president or an authorized person .

 Project Proposal

A project proposal has been prepared and approved.

The project manager has received and understands the proposal.

Any future milestones requiring an updated proposal and renewed approval have been identified. Click here to see a proposal template

Documenting the Rules

A statement of work has been accepted in writing by the primary stakeholders. Click here to download an example of Statement of work


The assumptions used to write the statement of work, particularly the cost and schedule estimates, are identified as assumptions and are realistic.

There is a clear chain of authority for making decisions and escalating issues.

A communication plan exists to identify the strategies for keeping all project stakeholders appropriately informed.

A responsibility matrix has documented the roles of the various stakeholders as they relate to the major decisions and activities within the project.  The stakeholders represented on the responsibility matrix have agreed that it accurately represents their involvement.  Click here to view an example of a responsibility matrix.

A process has been established for evaluating and approving changes to the statement of work, specifications, requirements, and other control documents.