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What Happens in the Initiation Phase?
The first phase of project management is the Initiation phase. It's during this initial time that the project goal is established. During Phase 1, if a project manager has been assigned, this person works with the involved parties, otherwise known as the project stakeholders, to fully determine how to measure the success of the project once all work is complete.
This allows the project manager and project stakeholders (these are the people with a vested interest in the project, and often the ones shelling out the money to make it happen) to agree on the project scope. The project scope will include project goals, budget, timelines and any other variables that can be used for success measurement once you reach the final phase, Closing.
There aren't a whole lot of software programs that can help you during the Initiation phase, aside from a word processor to create your Project Charter. This document includes a list of goals and a short statement, like a mission statement, providing a detailed overall goal. Within this statement, you should also include a definition of success.
During the Initiation phase you are not making a list of the things that need to happen to accomplish your total project goal, but rather a list of end-results. For example, “Digitizing two hours of video” is a task, but “offer streaming videos of lectures to my class” is a goal.
Some project managers will disagree with this approach arguing that the Initiation phase is exactly where you'll define your project's tasks and milestones. However, in my experience, the Initiation phase is about clearly defining your target so you'll know when the objectives have been met. You can use the next phase, Planning, to address the project details.
The Initiation Stage in Project Management
The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) defines the five phases of Project Management.