Project Initiation Templates : 11 Free Downloads

Where to start a project? From the beginning, with the Project Initiation Phase. Regardless of the project management method being followed, projects tend to be broken down into phases since it is easier to manage small, defined chunks of work, one at a time, than trying to manage the full project as a single piece. 

To meet the objectives above, there are several considerations that the project manager will need to address during project initiation, which can seem a daunting task for some. Fortunately for you, this article will guide you, highlighting which actions to do and which templates to use through the process:

Project Initiation Templates
Project Initiation Phase

Most projects follow a typical lifecycle which involves a phase of definition and alignment (initiation), followed by a phase where the project manager plans the work (planning), works the plan (execution), tracks and controls that work (monitoring and control), until the project is ready to be terminated (closure).

The first of the project life cycle phases is usually called Project Initiation or Project Start-up. Because the initiation phase can mean different things to different organizations, a simple way to think of it is that it will cover everything that occurs before a project is approved, and before detailed planning begins.

Project Options Paper
Project Options Paper

Purpose of Project Initiation Phase

The purpose of Initiation is to get the project off to the best start, by ensuring that the project meets at least the minimum standards to be considered and implemented by the organization. This involves understanding what the project is about, what is there to be gained by carrying out the project, if the project is feasible or not and, as important, aligning expectations around the project.

The key objectives of this phase are:
  • To set up a project management environment that enables the project to be successful
  • To evaluate the benefits and feasibility of the project
  • To provide a solid justification for the project
  • To define the project’s objectives

  • To define the boundaries of the project
  • To define the management approach for the project
  • To identify the project team and other resources required
  • To align expectations and gain support from the project’ stakeholders

Propose a project

  • Project Proposal Template: to start a new project, the organization needs to know about it. This can be done by completing a project proposal, which should give a very-high level overview of the project and why the organization should consider it. The proposal should provide sufficient information for the governance bodies to make a decision on whether to explore the idea further or not. If worth of investigation, a project manager will be appointed to manage the upcoming work.
  • Statement of Work Word Template : the Statement of Work document provides a high level description of the intended deliverable of the project, an information that can be used as an input for the procurement process.
SOW Template
SOW Template

Inquire Suppliers

This step may not always be necessary but if you are thinking of acquiring external products or services, you will certainly need to engage with suppliers.

  • Request for Proposal Template: during this step, the project manager refines the statement of work, from a procurement perspective, and contacts a number of suppliers (usually part of the suppliers preferred list) requesting for a proposal for the provision of products or services. 
  • Project Vendor Selection Process Template: the project vendor selection process, should detail how suppliers responding to the request for proposal will be evaluated and selected, that is, what selection criteria will be used, preferred communication methods, expected timescales, etc. 

Justify the Project 

Providing the project with a robust justification, documented in a Business Case, is essential to get it approved.

  • Project Options Paper Template: in order to ensure a balanced and informed decision, it’s important to identify what options have been considered, which is done in the Project Options Paper. It should be clear what are the costs, benefits, risks and implications of each approach and a recommended option should be identified.
  • Business Case: the business case is a fundamental document for the project as it will determine if the project has solid enough justification to be implemented. It should clearly demonstrate that the project provides return on investment, aligns with the strategic objectives of the organization, has clear benefits identified and is feasible.
Project Options Paper
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Approve the project 

Following from the above, a go/no-go decision should be made and, if approved, the project is ready to be formally recognized in the organization through the Project Charter.

  • Project Scope Statement: the project scope statement further refines the initial statement of work, clearly identifying the boundaries of the project, that is, what is in scope and what is out of scope. Additionally, risks and assumptions of carrying out the project should also be highlighted.
  • Project Success Criteria Template: it is important that it is clear to all what needs to be achieved for the project to be classed as successful.
  • Project Charter Template / Project Brief Template: also called Project Brief, the Project Charter summarizes all the information covered previously and represents the reference point for the project as well as the baseline for scope. This document is central to the project and should be formally signed-off since it is used to acknowledge the existence of the project in the organization as well as to empower the project manager and project team to proceed.

Kick-off the Project

Time to formally kick it off.

  • RACI Matrix Template: a RACI matrix is used to assign responsibilities to the project team, thus is a crucial document for the next phase, planning, as well as a useful input to the kick-off meeting, where roles and responsibilities should be presented.
  • Project Kick-off Meeting Agenda PPT Template: the kick-off meeting is an important milestone in the life of the project and a valuable opportunity to align expectations. In this meeting, the project manager introduces the project to key stakeholders, identifies the project team and their roles, and discusses next steps in preparation for the planning phase of the project.
RACI Matrix Excel Template
RACI Matrix Excel Template


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