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Lesson 3Project initiation
ObjectiveDefine the purpose and scope of project initiation.

Purpose Scope Project Initiation

Project initiation
Project initiation

The project initiation phase is required to establish clearly that everyone involved in a project understands precisely the problem that he or she is working on. How well the problem is initially defined in the project's problem statement is usually beyond your control. However, you can prepare yourself with a standard set of questions and tools to clarify and expand on the problem definition to create a basis for further project analysis.

Project Initiation Statement

Problem statement is a general term for a document or set of documents that describes the need the project is supposed to satisfy. The form of the problem statement varies widely and has no standards. Each organization develops its own format and content requirements. The quality of a problem statement varies widely depending on the skill of the author(s). The problem statement may be as simple as a drawing on a cocktail napkin or as detailed as a government requirements specification.
The point is that project participants do not always have control over the form or quality of the problem statement. The answer to this problem is to be prepared with a standard set of questions that will help you get the information that you need to proceed. In the following lessons, you will learn how to refine and clarify the problem statement by defining context, scope, and constraints. The information that you gather will continue to change throughout the project. That much is inevitable. But documenting this information provides an objective means to measure the effect of proposed changes. This is very important, because if a thing can be measured, then it can be managed.

The Scope of Project Initiation

The scope of project initiation is to establish a problem definition that will guide the rest of the project. The project initiation phase should not be used for problem solving, design, or discussion of technology. The focus during this phase is on problem definition. The question you need to answer is:
Question: What is the problem?
This constraint can be frustrating because some people have a strong tendency to jump immediately to solutions. I refer to this tendency as the “shoot, ready, aim” approach, or the “code and then document what you did” approach.
It is a simple fact that you have to establish a target before you can expect to hit it. Define the problem first, without jumping to solutions.

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