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Initiating Process Group is one of the five Project Management Process Groups. Its basic purpose is to bring a project or its phase to existence by defining and documenting its basic characteristics, and getting formal authorization from sponsor(s) to start it.

What is Initiating Process Group comprised of?

Initiating Process Group comprises of two Project Management Processes: ‘Develop Project Charter’ and ‘Identify Stakeholders’. The two processes generally have a sequential relationship; the former precedes the later.

What are its major deliverables?

Project Charter and Stakeholder Register are major deliverables created in the Initiating Process Group. These documents record critical information produced by different activities performed under the two project management processes of the process group.

It is common to see processes of Initiating Process Group being performed outside project boundaries, and control, as part of initiatives at organizational level – usually program or portfolio processes.

Does its role change across different phases of a project?

Earlier we discussed that in multi-phase projects, the five Project Management Process Groups are repeated for every phase of a project. For instance, if we have three phases in our project, the Initiating Process Group will be repeated thrice, once for all the three phases.

Does this mean that we create Project Charter or Stakeholder Register (main deliverable of Initiating Process Group) thrice? No. The two documents are created only once; in the Initiating Process Group of the first phase. In the subsequent phases (phase two and three), the Initiating Process Group provides us an opportunity to review and update (if required) them instead of creating them again.

What is involved in it?

As discussed above, the nature of work or activities being carried out in Initiating Process Group depends on the phase of the project life cycle in which it is carried out.

First Phase of a Project:

  • In the first phase of a project, the first instance of Initiating Process Group is implemented. It creates Project Charter via Develop Project Charter process and Stakeholder Register via Identify Stakeholders process.
  • Project Charter covers pretty much information (at quite a higher level) about our project including title, description, business case, objectives, product or deliverable, summary budget, summary schedule, stakeholder requirement and risks etc. Project Charter specifies project boundaries and gives us a broader level outline.
  • An important feature of Develop Project Charter process is that a Project Manager is identified and selected, and authorized to proceed further with the project and utilize resources committed initially to the project.
  • Stakeholder Register contains list of all identified stakeholders with associated information including name, contact information, communication requirements and preferences, role, influence, types and categories etc.
  • Project Life Cycle and its phases are also determined which reflects represents higher level approach towards implementation of the project.

Phases Other Than First Phase of a Project:

  • After the first phase of the project, focus of Initiating Process Group in the subsequent phases changes from ‘creation’ to ‘review’ and ‘validation’ of the deliverable created in its first instance.
  • Subsequent instances of Initiating Process Group provides an opportunity to revisit, review and confirm the validity of decisions made and deliverables created in the first instance. This helps in ensuring focus on objectives in strategic and business context. It also helps in determining whether to continue with the project or not. If required, adjustments may be made.
  • It also adds to stakeholder engagement and management by providing us the opportunity to analyze influences, roles and expectations of existing stakeholders, and update the list if required.

Should we involve stakeholders in the process group?

Yes. All of them? Practically that might not be possible or advisable! It is prerogative of project manager or champion to decide whom to involve. Generally it is believed that involvement of key stakeholder lead to their buy-in and ownership. Further more, expectations becomes clearer which in turn increases the chances of acceptance of deliverable of the project leading to successful completion of project and stakeholder satisfaction.

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