17.1 PRINCE2 guidance on Starting up a Project and Initiating a Project
17.1.1 Starting up a Project
The purpose of the Starting up a Project process is to ensure that the prerequisites for Initiating a Project are in place by answering the question ‘Do we have a viable and worthwhile project?’
It is as much about preventing poorly conceived projects from being initiated as it is about approving the initiation of viable projects. As such, the Starting up a Project process is a lighter task compared to the more detailed and thorough Initiating a Project process. The aim is to do the minimum necessary in order to decide whether it is worthwhile to even initiate the project (see Figure 17.1 for an overview).
17.1.2 Initiating a Project
The purpose of the Initiating a Project process is to establish solid foundations for the project, enabling the organization to understand the work that needs to be done to deliver the project’s products before committing to a significant spend.
Initiating a Project is aimed at laying down the foundations in order to achieve a successful project. Specifically, all parties must be clear on what the project is intended to achieve, why it is needed, how the outcome is to be achieved and what their responsibilities are, so that there can be genuine commitment to it.
The Initiating a Project process allows the project board, via Directing a Project, to decide whether or not the project is sufficiently aligned with corporate or programme objectives to authorize its continuation.
If, instead, the organization proceeds directly from Starting up a Project to Controlling a Stage, then it may be forced to commit significant financial resources to a project without fully understanding how its objectives will be achieved. Without a firm definition, the project board will be taking a leap of faith.
All activities within the Initiating a Project process need further consideration if the relationship between the customer and the supplier is a commercial one (for example, the reasons for undertaking the project as defined in the supplier’s business case may be different from those defined in the customer’s business case).
During the Initiating a Project process the project manager will be creating the suite of management products required for the level of control specified by the project board. The project manager should have agreed (as part of the initiation stage plan) the means by which the project board will review and approve the management products – the two extremes are one at a time or all at once (see Figure 17.2 for an overview).
Please note that Starting up a Project and Initiating a Project are separate processes in PRINCE2. They have been combined into the same chapter in this manual as the guidance when using PRINCE2 with agile is the same for both processes because they both address getting a project off to a good start. It is important to note that this does not mean that they are combined into one step when using PRINCE2 Agile. They should be used as two distinct processes as with PRINCE2.