Overview of Project Initiation Document (PID)


Overview of Project Initiation Document (PID)

Over the next couple of posts I want to cover the topic of project initiation.

It is good practice for an organisation to have a structured mechanism for the proposal and authorisation of projects. One of the common tools used to manage this is the Project Initiation Document (PID).

The PID is a document (usually word processor but can be in spreadsheet or presentation form) that clearly articulates why a project is important.

It clearly explains:

  • Purpose of the project.
  • What the project should achieve (benefits).
  • Why the project is important.
  • Indication of timescales.
  • Potential risks and issues.
  • Roles, responsibilities and resource requirements.
  • Governance structure.
  • Budget.

A good test if the PID has been well written is if a new team member or, interested party, can read the document and gain a good understanding of the project.

The size of the PID will vary depending on the size of the project. A simple report taking weeks may only be a single page. A complex multi year project will be a much longer document. It is important to be pragmatic and fit the tool to the need.

The PID is used to clearly explain the rationale for a project (the business case for doing the project). This allows for an informed decision to be made in respect of investment.

  • It ensures that all stakeholders have the same understanding of what the project will deliver, over what time scale and budget — principle of “no surprises”.
  • It helps to align project spend to the strategic objectives of an organisation by only allowing projects that pass the review process progress.
  • It allows the project team to outline what they will deliver and how.
  • It provides the project team with the mandate to initiate the project.
  • It forms the contract between the project team and steering committee / sponsor.

Having this in place should allow for the expectations of all stakeholders to be managed.

The PID should typically contain the following:

  • Project definition
  • Project approach
  • Project business case / rationale
  • Budget requirement
  • Resource requirement
  • Roles & responsibilities
  • Risks & issues
  • Project plan
  • Governance

Implementing a simple PID and supporting process will help control how projects are authorised. This should help ensure that only projects aligned to the organisations objectives are approved.

Over the coming weeks I will expand on the process and content that should be included within a PID.

If you are interested in other project or mobilization tools, you may be interested in the Mobilization Heatmap Framework.

Writing a Project Initiation Document (PID)
PMO tools - project document storage
Project Requirement Gathering: Document Analysis
Overview Enterprise Project Management (EPM)
Overview of Lean Project Management
Overview six sigma project management



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