PRINCE2 - Starting Up a Project

The purpose of the starting up a project process is to ensure that the prerequisites for initiating a project are in place by answering the question: Do we have a viable and worthwhile project? The decision to start the project must be explicit; the activities from starting up a project happen before this decision. 

Nothing should be done until certain base information needed to make rational decisions about the commissioning of the project is defined, key roles and responsibilities are resourced and allocated, and a foundation for detailed planning is available. The purpose of the starting up a project process is as much about preventing poorly conceived projects from ever being initiated as it is about approving the initiation of viable projects. As such, starting up a project is a lighter process compared to the more detailed and thorough initiating a project process. The aim is to do the minimum necessary in order to decide whether it is worthwhile to even initiate the project.

The objective of the starting up a project process is to ensure that:

  • there is a business justification for initiating the project (documented in an outline business case)
  • all the necessary authorities exist for initiating the project
  • sufficient information is available to define and confirm the scope of the project (in the form of a project brief)
  • the various ways the project can be delivered are evaluated and a project approach selected
  • individuals are appointed who will undertake the work required in project initiation and/or will take significant project management roles in the project
  • the work required for project initiation is planned (documented in a stage plan)
  • time is not wasted initiating a project based on unsound assumptions regarding the project's scope, timescales, acceptance criteria and constraints.

The activities within the starting up a project process are likely to be shared between corporate, programme management or the customer, the executive and the project manager. The activities are to:

  • appoint the executive and the project manager
  • capture previous lessons
  • design and appoint the project management team
  • prepare the outline business case
  • select the project approach and assemble the project brief
  • plan the initiation stage.