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PRINCE2 - Controls part 2

Project start-up

This includes the work that must be done before the project can begin.

Its functions are:

  • It sets up the Project Management Team so that the Project Board and the Project Manager can make necessary initial decisions on the project
  • To develop what may be a rudimentary Project Mandate into the Project Brief
  • Confirm the Project Approach
  • Plan the initiation stage

The approval of the Project Board is needed before the Project initiation can go ahead and it is likely to be a short stage.
The Project Board need to understand the project commitments more clearly.
For this the project start-up needs to create a plan for the initiation stage for the Project Board to consider.
The stage will be under the control of the Project Board and the initiation plan should indicate any controls and reports that the Project Board will receive.

The Project Manager will have to produce the Project Brief based upon the Project Mandate.
The Project Mandate will be produced with no influence from the project and will lack some necessary detail.
The Project Brief will contain project objectives that the Project Board need to know before agreement can be considered.

If the project is part of a programme it will supply the Project Brief obviating the need for project start-up.

Authorising initiation (DP1)

Following the process Starting up a Project (SU), the Project Board can approve progress to the initiation stage which represents the official ‘start’ of the project.

The approval of all Project Board members is documented. This can be done informally.
It may need a meeting if the project size, risk, importance and environment would justify it.

Once approval has been given a copy of the Project Brief is given to all stakeholders and those responsible for operational support so that they can prepare for the project.

Project Initiation

This ensures that everyone agrees on specific items prior committing to significant resource.

These items are:

  • The project objectives
  • What products will be delivered
  • The reasons for the project
  • Who the customer is
  • Who has which responsibilities and authorities
  • Project boundaries and interfaces to the outside world
  • How the objectives will be met
  • What assumptions have been or can be made
  • What major risks exists that might prevent the project from achieving its objectives
  • When the major products will be delivered
  • How much the project will cost
  • How the project will be controlled
  • The division of the project into stages
  • How the acceptability of its products will be assessed


Project Initiation Document

These questions are answered in the Project Initiation Document which is the main product from this stage.
There is an outline of the contents in the file ‘Project initiation document.doc’ in the product package.
Once approved it is baselined. It is an essential document for an audit trail to show that the project has been well managed.
It should indicate whether the project has been successful or not based upon expectations set out in the baseline document.

This document will contain, amongst others, three major items:

  1. The Project Plan
  2. The Business Case
  3. The Risk Log

During the course of the project it is quite possible that the above items will change, be approved and a new version will be baselined.
These will be kept in the management section of the project filing [see PRINCE2® in the folder ‘project document management’ in the product package] and the Configuration Item Records updated.
In the case of the Risk Log, it is liable to undergo constant change and its management will require consideration.

These items are likely to be updated at the end of each stage.

The Project Initiation Document is designed to answer:

How much?

Stage Plan

This allows the Project Board to approve the next stage without delay once the Project Initiation Document is approved.

Stage selection

The number of stages is agreed by the Project Board during the initiation stage depending on the project complexity and risk.
The number of stages adds control to the project which the Project Board will use at the end of each stage.

Communication Plan

This is another item in the Project Initiation Document.
It identifies those providing and those receiving information.
This is described by the Product Description in the file ‘Communication plan.doc’ in the product package.

It identifies:

  • Who is involved in the project
  • Who needs the information
  • What information is needed
  • When they need it
  • The format in which it should be presented

It should include senior or programme management, stakeholders and other interested parties such as those who support the product in its operational life.

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.