Projects can be identified in a variety of ways and thus have a wide variation in the information available at the time of start-up.
PRINCE2® calls the trigger for the project the project mandate, which is provided by the responsible authority which is commissioning the project - typically the corporate or programme management organization.
The term project mandate applies to whatever information is used to trigger the project, be it a feasibility study or the receipt of a ‘request for proposal’ in a supplier environment.
The project mandate should provide the terms of reference for the project and should contain sufficient information to identify at least the prospective Executive of the Project Board. The mandate is refined to develop the Project Brief.
The Project Board must be provided with sufficient information to make the decision to initiate the project.
The Project Brief is prepared for this purpose.
The effort involved in Starting up a Project will vary enormously from project to project.
If the project is part of a programme, the programme itself should provide the Project Brief and will appoint some, if not all, members of the Project Board, thus eliminating much of the work required in this process.
In such cases, the Project Manager should validate what is provided by the programme and, if necessary, recommend modifications.
The preparation of the outline Business Case and the assembling of the Project Brief (which are parallel and iterative activities) require regular and frequent interaction and consultations between the Project Manager, the Project Board members and other stakeholders.
The more time spent on getting the requirements clearly captured during the Starting up a Project process, the more time will be saved during project delivery by avoiding issues, exceptions and replanning.
The contents of the Project Brief are later extended and refined into the Project Initiation Documentation via the Initiating a Project process.
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