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PRINCE2 Initiating a project 

 February 12, 2024

By  Dave Litten

PRINCE2 Initiating a project

Initiating a project purpose

The purpose of initiating a project process is to establish solid foundations for the project, enabling the business to understand the work needed to deliver the project product before committing to any significant expenditure or resources.

Prince2 Initiating A Project Process

Initiating a project objectives

The objectives of the process of initiating a project are to ensure that there is a common understanding of:

 ● the reasons for doing the project, the benefits expected, and the associated risks (documented in a full business case)

 ● the scope of what is to be done and the products to be delivered

 ● how and when the products will be delivered and at what cost 

 ● who is to be involved in the project decision-making

 ● how the quality required will be achieved

 ● how baselines will be established and controlled

 ● how risks and issues will be identified, assessed, and controlled

 ● how progress will be monitored and controlled

 ● who needs information, in what format, and at what time

 ● how the project applies business policies, methods, and guidance.

Initiating a project prepares the foundations for achieving 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 accomplished, and what their responsibilities are so there can be a genuine commitment to the project.

The process of initiating a project enables the project board, via the process of directing a project, to decide whether or not the project is sufficiently aligned with the business objectives to justify its continuation.

In initiating a project process, the project manager will create the suite of management products required for the level of control specified by the project board. The project manager should have agreed with the project board how they would review and approve the management products. 

For example, should they review each management product as they become ready or wait until the full suite of management products is prepared to review as a set?

All activities within the process of initiating a project need further consideration if the relationship between the user and the supplier is commercial, as the risks, rewards, and reasons for undertaking the project will be different for the user (as the customer) and the supplier.

Inputs, activities, and outputs for initiating a project

Initiating a project Agree tailoring requirements.

Prince2 Initiating A Project Prince2 Initiating A Project

The project manager may need to tailor PRINCE2 to recognize the internal and external factors affecting project delivery. 

The business may already have a standard project management framework based on a tailored version of PRINCE2, ready to apply to the project. 

How PRINCE2 or the business’ standard project management framework will be applied and/or tailored must be documented and agreed upon.

Recommended actions for the project manager:

 ● review the project brief to understand the outlined tailoring approach (if defined).

 ● seek lessons on how to apply tailoring from similar previous projects, businesses, and external organizations.

 ● define any tailoring requirements as part of the project initiation documentation, including related project controls.

 ● consult with project assurance to check that any proposed tailoring will meet the project board’s or business’s needs.

 ● seek the project board’s approval for any tailoring (although the project board may prefer to review it later as part of the project initiation documentation).

Dave Litten


David spent 25 years as a senior project manager for USA multinationals, and has deep experience in project management. He now develops a wide range of Project Management Masterclasses, under the Projex Academy brand name. In addition, David runs project management training seminars across the world, and is a prolific writer on the many topics of project management.

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