PRINCE2 Project Initiation Document Template

PRINCE2 Training With a Project Initiation Document (PID) you define the project’s scope and direction and use it as the basis for its authorisation, management and assessing its success.  The document details all the foreseeable areas of the project, such as goals, scope, risks, controls and budget.

The PID must contain several pieces of information that are vital to the success of a project.  If these areas aren’t defined clearly from the outset, there is a high chance that the project will fail. The PID should cover the following areas:

  • Project Definition
  • Project Approach
  • Business Case
  • Project Management Team Structure
  • Role Descriptions
  • Quality Management Strategy
  • Configuration Management Strategy
  • Risk Management Strategy
  • Communication Management Strategy
  • Project Plan
  • Project Controls
  • Tailoring of PRINCE2

Our PRINCE2 Foundation covers all your need to learn to use a PID and other PRINCE2 tools and techniques. We also offer a full 5-day PRINCE2 Practitioner course for those who want to cover both stages and take both exams.

You can download a Project Initiation Document template in our PRINCE2 downloads section (see the PRINCE2 project templates).  We will look in a bit more depth at each of these ares and what information you need to include.

Project Definition

The project definition explains what the project needs to achieve, including:

  • Project Background – why do we need this project, what events have caused the need for the project?
  • Project objectives & desired outcomes– describe the specific outcomes of the project and what the expected results will be following project completion.
  • Project scope and exclusions – detail about the boundaries for this project.  Specifically what is included and what isn’t included to avoid any confusion or misunderstandings with stakeholders further down the line.
  • Constraints and assumptions – Restrictions or limitations either external or internal to the project that you have to factor into the project that are beyond your control?  What assumptions are you making that will have a bearing on the project?
  • Users and interested parties – PRINCE2 defines Users as ‘those who, after the project is complete will use the products to enable them to gain the intended benefits.  Other interested parties could include suppliers and sponsors.
  • Interfaces – Describe here what interfaces and interactions the project will have, either internal or external to your company, as well as links to other related projects.

Project Approach

In this section you must describe how the project will deliver the required solution, according to the business case.  You should also list the skills required to achieve the project’s aims.

Business Case

A vital part of any project is it’s continued business justification.  This justification is described in the Business Case which should cover estimated costs, risks and the expected benefits.  The Business Case may often be a separate document that should be referenced here.

Project Management Team Structure

In this section you should define the structure of the Project Team, defining the different levels of management, this is usually done in the form of a diagram.  See the image below for an example:

PRINCE2 Organisation Theme

Role Descriptions

Within PRINCE2 each member of the team has defined roles and responsibilities.   The Roles defined in the previous Project Management Team Structure section should be described here.  Each project will differ depending on the structure of the project but will likely include the following Roles:

  • Project Board
  • Business /Customers / Suppliers interests (represented on the Project Board)
  • Project Assurance
  • Project Manager
  • Team Manager
  • Project Support
  • Possible Change Authority

Quality Management Strategy

The Quality Management Strategy describes how the project will meet the customer’s quality expectations and identifies with whom the responsibility for quality lies.  Like the Business Case this will often be contained in a separate document.

Configuration Management Strategy

The Configuration Management Strategy should be created during the Initiating a Project stage.  It defines the approach taken to identify, track and protect the project assets so the Project Manager can track their status as they evolve throughout the project lifecycle. It also defines the issue and change control procedures that will be applied to the project.

Risk Management Strategy

The Risk Management Strategy should describe the techniques that will be used to Identifying, assessing and control risk during the project.  The Risk Management Strategy should be well documented so all members of the project team are aware how it will be managed during all the projects activities and who is responsible for identifying the risks.

PRINCE2 Risk Management

Communication Management Strategy

Lack of communication between the project team is a common reason for project failure.  The Project Manager is responsible for ensuring that all stakeholders are aware of the projects status.  The Communication Management Strategy defines the method and frequency of communication between all interested parties from the Project Board to the Project Support Team.

Project Plan

In order to gain authorisation for the project, the costs involved and timescales must be defined.  Depending on the scale of the project, the different products, activities and resources required by the project should be defined so they can be tracked by the Project Manager, this is documented in the project plan which acts as a baseline to monitor the progress of the project.  It is the Project Managers responsibility to update the Project Plan throughout the project’s lifecycle and inform the Project Board of any changes that may affect the overall outcomes.

Project Controls

Projects need to be controlled so that appropriate and informed decision making can be made. Definition of the Stage boundaries for this decision making will be identified, tolerances that have been agreed for the project and how these are monitored and reported should be included here.

Tailoring of PRINCE2

As every project is different, it is usual that PRINCE2 will be tailored to suit the nature of the project.  Whilst the basic principles of PRINCE2 should be used, the project management team can adapt the method to suit that specific project.  This section should document how PRINCE2 will be tailored, for example the Roles, Themes or Processes can be amended to suit the scale of the project.

Similar posts you may like:

  1. The Seven PRINCE2 Principles
  2. Video: PRINCE2 The 7 Key Themes
  3. DON’T FORGET your PRINCE2 Business Case!
  4. PRINCE2 Crossword Revision
  5. Adapting PRINCE2


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Andy Trainer

Andy is a Training Manager at Silicon Beach Training who enjoys writing about Project Management & Leadership. Follow Andy on Google+, Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn.

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