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9 Objectives of Project Initiation

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Embarking on a new project is much like setting sail on uncharted waters. Without a proper map and compass, it's easy to lose direction or encounter unexpected obstacles. That's where project initiation comes in – the crucial phase where the foundation for success is laid.  

Project initiation can also determine whether the voyage is worthwhile at all. Addressing these objectives will determine if the project will reach its intended destination, or if the project scale outweighs the need and benefit.  

Let's delve into the nine key objectives of project initiation: 

1. Defining Project Scope

Before setting sail, it's imperative to define the boundaries of the journey. This involves clarifying the project's requirements, objectives, deliverables, budget, constraints and risks, along with clarifying any assumptions. A well-defined scope ensures that all stakeholders are aligned, and expectations are managed from the outset. 


2. Establishing the Project Vision, Goals and Benefits

Just as a ship needs a destination, a project requires a clear vision statement to act as the north star to guide the journey. Goals and objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound (SMART). Benefits should be identified as well as how these will be measured. Establishing these benchmarks provides a roadmap for progress and enables stakeholders to gauge success. 


3. Identifying Stakeholders

Every voyage involves a crew, and every project has stakeholders. Identifying and engaging these individuals or groups early on is critical for securing support, managing expectations and addressing concerns. Effective stakeholder management fosters collaboration and minimises resistance throughout the project lifecycle. 


4. Allocating Resources

Like provisioning a ship for a long journey, allocating resources is crucial for project success. During initiation, resources including budget, resource, equipment and materials are allocated based on project requirements and constraints. Resource management ensures optimal utilisation and prevents bottlenecks. 


5. Formulating the Project Team

Skilled and cohesive crew is essential for navigating rough waters. Agreeing at the outset how decisions will be made can help to avoid tricky challenges down the line. During project initiation the project sponsor should assemble the right team with the necessary expertise, experience and resource. This includes defining roles, responsibilities and governance reporting structures to ensure accountability and smooth communication. 


6. Developing the project plan

A comprehensive project plan serves as the navigational chart, outlining tasks, timelines, dependencies and milestones. This roadmap guides the execution phase, enabling efficient resource allocation, risk mitigation and progress tracking. Flexibility should be built into the plan to accommodate unforeseen challenges. 


7. Assessing risks and mitigation strategies

Just as sailors anticipate storms, project managers must identify potential risks and develop mitigation strategies. Conducting a thorough risk assessment during project initiation allows for proactive measures to minimise threats to project success. Review mechanisms and contingency plans should be in place to address unforeseen circumstances. 


8. Defining the communication plan

Effective communication is needed between all crew members and other stakeholders. Establishing a communication plan during project initiation ensures that information flows seamlessly between team members, stakeholders and decision-makers. This plan should outline channels, frequency and protocols for sign-off, distribution and feedback. You could also consider how you will tailor communications for different stakeholder groups.  


9. Obtaining project approval

Before hoisting the sails, formal approval from relevant authorities or sponsors is essential. Your business case should provide all the relevant information for sign off. From here you can secure endorsement and commitment to the project's objectives, scope, and plan. Obtaining approval during project initiation sets the stage for execution and secures the necessary backing for success. 

In conclusion, project initiation lays the groundwork for successful project delivery by addressing key objectives essential for guiding the project from inception to execution. By defining scope, identifying constraints, establishing goals, engaging stakeholders and formulating plans, project managers can navigate the complexities of project management with confidence and clarity. Just as a well-planned voyage increases the likelihood of reaching its destination, a thorough project initiation sets the stage for achieving project objectives and delivering value to stakeholders. 

Nine Feet Tall is a values-led management consultancy which delivers meaningful transformation through the power of people and technology.  


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