Align the stakeholders’ expectations with the project’s purpose, give them visibility about the scope and objectives, show how their participation in the project and its associated phases can ensure that their expectations are achieved.


Performed to define a new project or a new phase of an existing project by obtaining authorization to start the project or phase.


The Initiating Process consists of those processes performed to define a new project or a new phase of an existing project by obtaining authorization to start the project or phase. Within the Initiating processes, the initial scope is defined, and initial financial resources are committed. Internal and external stakeholders who will interact and influence the overall outcome of the project are identified. If not already assigned, the project manager will be selected. This information is captured in the project charter and stakeholder register. When the project charter is approved, the project becomes officially authorized. Although the project management team may help write the project charter, this standard assumes that business case assessment, approval, and funding are handled externally to the project boundaries. A project boundary is defined as the point in time at which the start or completion of the project or a project phase is authorized. These processes help set the vision of the project, which is needed to be accomplished.

Large complex projects should be divided into separate phases. In such projects, the Initiating processes are carried out during subsequent phases to validate the decisions made during the original Develop Project Charter and Identify Stakeholders’ processes. Performing the Initiating processes at the start of each phase helps to keep the project focused on the business need that the project was undertaken to address. The success criteria are verified, and the influence, drivers, and objectives of the project stakeholders are reviewed. A decision is then made as to whether the project should be continued, delayed, or discontinued.

Involving the sponsors, customers, and other stakeholders during initiation create a shared understanding of success criteria, reduces the overhead of involvement, and generally improves deliverable acceptance, customer satisfaction, and other stakeholder satisfaction.

Initiating processes may be performed at the organizational, program, or portfolio level and, therefore, would be outside of the project’s level of control. For example, prior to commencing a project, the need for high-level requirements may be documented as part of a larger organizational initiative. A process of evaluating alternatives may be utilized to determine the feasibility of the new undertaking. Clear descriptions of the project objectives may be developed, including the reasons why a specific project is the best alternative to satisfy the requirements. The documentation for this decision may also contain the initial project scope statement, deliverables, project duration, and a forecast of the resources for the organization’s investment analysis. As part of the Initiating processes, the project manager is given the authority to apply organizational resources to the subsequent project activities.


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  • Project Management Institute. (2013). A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) – Fifth Edition. Newtown Square, Pennsylvania: Project Management Institute