Project Practitioners > Who's Coming to the Party?

Who's Coming to the Party?

By Lisa DiTullio

The Project Initiation Phase is an early phase in a project management lifecycle, as it involves launching a new project.  Standard processes such as defining objectives, scope, purpose and deliverables are often practiced in this phase.  Conducting a Project Initiation Workshop (PIW) is a great way to launch Initiation and a perfect time to involve customer involvement. 



A PIW is a structured meeting designed to initiate a project.  It is a great communication device where all key stakeholders agree on what the project will do and why they are doing it.  Organizational expertise and experience is applied to further define the project, and it establishes ownership to plan the project.  The first person on your invitation list to your PIW?  The customer, of course.

The customer must be involved from the very start of project initiation; s/he can help define and determine the boundaries of the project.  You need the customer’s buy-in throughout the life of the project.

A Project Initiation Workshop is the perfect party to hold when launching a project.  PIW agenda topics can include the following:

Introductions, workshop purpose:  Understand why we are here and what are we doing

Review the Business Opportunity & Project Goal:  Communicate the rationale and intent of the project

Determine Project Scope:  Understand and document the boundaries of the project

Conduct Stakeholder Analysis:  Agreement on the project’s stakeholders

Determine Project Deliverables:  Agreement on major deliverables, what constitutes their completion and timing

Determine Expected Business Outcomes:  Agreement on the impact the project will have on specific metrics in the operational environment

Validate alignments between Deliverables, Business Outcomes, and Goal:  Ensure deliverables will accomplish specified outcomes and goal

Determine High Level Milestones:  Document the high level series of events that must occur for project completion

Flexibility Matrix:  Communicate the project constraints and flexibility to the project team

Identify Planning Team Members:  Agreement on who will be required/assigned to plan the project in the next phase

Determine Next Steps:  Understand what will be done in the short term and who owns those steps

Meeting Evaluation:  Understand what worked/what did not work and collect suggestions for improvement

A PIW is an easy and efficient way to kick-off Initiation of your project.  Just remember-the customer always comes first!

Related Links
A kickoff workshop is a great time to establish a team-created "is / is not" worksheet of what the project will produce. You may want to walk in with your mission statement draft in hand, or you may want to create it as a team. We have example agendas you can use for planning a kickoff meeting, or even a kickoff for several projects at once.

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