Each phase of the project lifecycle places different demands on a project manager’s knowledge and skills. In project Initiation, the project manager has to gather information about objectives from the project sponsor, as well as the clients and stakeholders who will be affected by the project. The project manager must analyze all these requirements in terms of their linkage with the organization’s strategy. The sponsor gets the ball rolling with the statement of work (SOW). And the project manager must analyze how that fits into the organization’s strategy. Next, the project manager will meet with the stakeholders and gather information about their project requirements. The project manager must be sure these are also linked to the organization’s strategy. From that analysis, the project manager will produce an initial scope statement as well as the major deliverables the project must produce.
The next step for the project manager is to assess the project’s feasibility in terms of technology, operations, financial requirements and resource availability. The PM’s analysis of the project also includes identifying high-level risks, assumptions and constraints. Then the project manager produces a business case that documents why the project’s benefits are worth doing – financially and in terms of achieving the organization’s strategy and goals.
The Initiation phase ends with the preparation, presentation and communication of the project charter. Once approved by the sponsor, the charter gives the project manager authority to use organizational resources to deliver the project’s results. The charter also contains estimates of costs, duration and resources required to produce the results. Finally, the charter specifies who is accountable for what in the project. This information is communicated with the stakeholders so they understand their accountabilities and the benefits their results will produce.