3.0 The Process of Project Initiation

Once you have been appointed as the Project Manager, the next step in this regard should be to get going with your Project Charter. Generally, a Project Charter should have the following information:

Your clear designation as a Project Manager. This should include your duty and authority to utilize the pre-allocated resources in order to drive the project towards completion. This is usually done by the stakeholders or project sponsors.

In case a formal contract is signed then he must refer to it for the purpose of initiating the project

Provision of a brief overview of the deliverables, services, or products that are designated to be produced by the project

Once the Project Charter is reviewed by the Manager, then he must:

Get in touch with the project sponsors and inquire about any project documents, emails, letters, requirements, project feasibility, or meeting minutes linked to the project.

Inquire the stakeholders if a similar project has been undertaken before. Obtain all documents regarding that project and arrange a meeting with the respective project manager to ask for necessary guidelines.

The Statement of Work (SOW) #

The next phase will be the SOW wherein, you will be required to form a baseline of your project. The SOW is a critical document that needs to be refined and constantly updated in line with your project. Its advancement depends directly upon the complexity of the project, your knowledge and your preferences regarding the subject matter. Typically, an SOW comprises of the following components:

An Executive Summary #

It deals with a short overview of the project parameters such as its background, objectives, scope, purpose and overall project plan.

Objectives #

This section will entail the objectives of your project. Ideally, objectives should be practical and SMART, i.e.,

  • Specific: The objectives must be precise, clear and stated without any ambiguity
  • Measurable: They must have small decisive measurable milestones which will help you decide clearly whether you are meeting your objectives or not
  • Achievable: Your approach towards attaining objectives should neither be too narrow nor too ambitious. Do not try to attempt more than you can easily.
  • Realistic: Your objectives should be set keeping in mind your resources as well as limitations.
  • Time-specific: Deadlines and due dates should be duly specified.

Scope #

This section explains the work to be done and entails the scope that was previously determined in SOW. This section must be specific and is among the most eminent sections of the SOW. It also includes information as to what will not be done in order to avoid any confusion in the workflow.

Outcomes #

This section will encompass a list of outcomes or deliverables to be produced by the end of the project. It should be noted that outcomes should be stated without any ambiguity and in a manner that is easier to comprehend by the project team.

Project Risks and Assumptions #

While planning any project, you might be faced with numerous uncertainties and unknown issues. Such a scenario will naturally be associated with some risks and resultant assumptions to overcome the risks. Project risks are dependent upon the available resources (e.g., team members, supplies, funding, etc.) as well as the timeframe in hand. The identified risks should clearly be stated along with the coping strategy and contingency plans for each risk.

Stakeholders #

The SOW should include a detailed list of all stakeholders associated with the project along with their suitable details.

Pro-tip: You should get your SOW approved by the stakeholders as soon as it is formulated. After this phase, you will be able to proceed with your plan.