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PRINCE2 - Directing a Project (DP) part 2

Authorising Initiation (DP1)

Fundamental principles

No one should commit to a significant expenditure on the project before verifying that it is sensible to do so.


This process is the first major activity for the Project Board.
The Project Board must decide whether to allow the initiation stage to go ahead after the process 'Starting up a Project (SU)'.

This may require a formal meeting but can be done informally if all Project Board members are in agreement.

Process description

The objective of this sub-process is to ensure that the project is properly initiated by:

  • Formally confirming the appointments of the project management team
  • Ratifying the Project Brief
  • Approving a plan to develop the Project Initiation Document
  • Obtaining or committing the resources needed by the initiation Stage Plan
  • Requesting the necessary logistical support via the project start-up notification to the host organisation (the location where the work is to done)

A tolerance level should be set for initiation, just as for later stages.
The Project Board must ensure that all reporting and control mechanisms are in place.

The Project Board is responsible for obtaining resource and providing the support infrastructure for the project as outlined in the initiation Stage Plan.
The support may include accommodation, communication facilities, equipment and any Project Support.


The Project Board is responsible for this sub-process with input from the Project Manager and those with Project Assurance responsibilities.
Corporate or programme management is responsible for ratifying the Project Brief for the Project Board.

Information needs
Management informationUsageExplanation
Risk LogInputAre there risks that affect the decision to authorise the initiation stage?
Job descriptionsInputDetails of job responsibilities are confirmed, particularly those for Project Board members.
Project management team structureInputDetails of who is to be involved in the management of the project.
Project ApproachInputInformation needed as part of the decision to go ahead. Does it fit with corporate or programme strategy?
Project BriefApprovalBaselined after approval by the Project Board.
Initiation Stage PlanApprovalThe plan for the initiation stage to be approved by the Project Board.
Project start-up notificationOutputFormal notification to those that need to know that the project has started.
Authorisation to proceedOutputConfirmation to the Project Manager that the work defined in the initiation Stage Plan may start.

These are given in tabular form in the file ‘DP1 authorising initiation.doc’ in the product package.

Key criteria

  • Is there adequate funding for the project?
  • Does the Project Brief demonstrate the existence of a worthwhile project and hence justify the investment involved?
  • Are external support and facility requirement available and committed?
  • Have the most appropriate standards been applied, particularly if the customer and supplier standards differ?
  • Are Project Assurance responsibilities allocated and accepted?
  • Are the known risks acceptable at this point in the project?

Initiation should be fast utilising ad hoc informal meetings of the Project Manager and the Project Board.
Too many formal meetings will slow down the process.

The Project Board membership should reflect any third parties funding the project as well as making sure the users role is represented to satisfy those needs.

Where the supplier is funding the project the Executive and Senior Supplier roles will need tailoring to reflect the financial responsibilities.

The Project Initiation Document may already exist if provided by programme management which will shorten the initiation process.
In this case, the project may start with 'Authorising a Project (DP2)'.
It is still the responsibility of the Project Board to ensure that all necessary steps have been taken and documented.

This product contains EVERYTHING in the publications:

Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2 - 2005 edition
Managing successful Projects with PRINCE2 – 2009 edition
Directing Projects with PRINCE2.
The Complete Project Management package.

And much more besides - at a fantastic price.