Project Charter Development

Project Charter Development happens during initiation.  The project charter is presented at the end of the initiation and reviewed and hopefully approval by management. That approval authorizes the sponsoring project manager to begin detailed planning and to make use of corporate resources in that process.  That’s not a go-ahead started project would rather to start the planning.  The project charter includes at least the high-level scope, high-level risks and it appoints the project manager.  The charter also can include estimates of the amount of resources and time which the project will take as well as explanation of the assumptions that are behind the scope of the project and the constraints that it faces.  A good charter triggers a lot of discussion and occasionally conflict. But it’s much better to find out during initiation that some departments won’t lend you resources than after your 30% finished.  Charter is a very useful device for avoiding surprises by surfacing potential conflicts at the beginning of the effort.

This is a lecture video on Develop Project Charter by Dick Billows, PMP, from the Initiation Process Group and the first process in the Integration Knowledge Area.

Lecture Video

Project Manager in Action Video

LECTURE Assess Project Feasibility

Prior to spending time or money on a project, it is typical to assess the feasibility of that project.  What we’re doing is deciding whether we have the capability, resources and ability to complete the project successfully.  In the process, we identify those factors that will improve our probability of success.  We also identify the factors that may reduce our probability of delivering the scope on time and within budget.  In general, the feasibility study addresses the technical, economic, legal, operational, customer/stakeholder support  and time factors.  Additional factors may be added to the feasibility depending on its unique needs and requirements.

Lecture on Feasibility

The investigation of those issues will vary widely depending on the scale of the project.  For a small project, affecting one department,  with a small team, the project manager, sponsor and one stakeholder may complete the entire project feasibility study in the course of a lunch.  As the scale of the project increases, more people and more management science are applied to the feasibility study.  We may have separate teams studying the technological feasibility while other teams investigate the financial and legal feasibility.  It’s also common to bring in outside consultants and experts to contribute their knowledge and experience to the feasibility study.

Lecture on Constraints

The output of a project feasibility study also ranges widely depending on the scale of the effort.  For a small project, people involved may discuss each feasibility factor and reach agreement that, “We can do this.”  On larger projects, expensive reports may be issued for each factor.  When all the feasibility factors have been checked off, we are ready to launch our project initiation and planning effort.

Some organizations address the project feasibility assessment in the project business case.  The business case includes all the factors considered in the project feasibility study. But it also includes analysis and documentation of the project’s  anticipated financial results. The organization uses the business case to decide whether a project is worth doing.  It also uses the data from the business case to decide which projects the organization should fund and staff and which do not provide benefits that justify the cost.  A very important issue is how closely each of the proposed projects aligns with the organization’s strategy and goals.  The overall benefit to the organization is seriously considered.  The business case meets these needs by including forecasts of costs and benefits and the calculation of financial measures such as:
– cost/benefit ratio
– internal rate of return (IRR)
– return on investment (ROI)
– return on assets (ROA)
– payback period.

Decision-makers in the organization evaluate the business case for all potential projects.  They authorize those that meet existing organizational criteria for one or more of the above ratios and alignment with the organization’s strategy and goals.

LECTURE Define High-level Scope

The high-level scope statement is our preliminary pass at the final scope statement of what the project should deliver.  The high-level scope statement is created using information from the business case and the statement of work.

This is a lecture video on the high-level scope statement, created in the Initiating process group.

Watch this video of Project Managers in Action defining the high-level scope statement.

LECTURE Identify Stakeholders

PMI emphasizes identifying stakeholders early in project Initiation and managing them through the life of the project.

This is a lecture video on the process Identify Stakeholders.  ID Stakeholders is in the Initiating process group and is the first process in the Stakeholder Management Knowledge Area.

Lecture Video

Project Manager in Action Video