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How to Start Up a Project PRINCE2 Style

A critical organisational challenge at a time of economic uncertainty is the efficient delivery of business change. The PRINCE2 Starting Up a Project process plays its part in delivering that change. Our guide will give you an initial understanding of the process and our courses at PRINCE2.com will instill the more detailed knowledge that those who work with projects need.

  • Decide if the project is worth considering. Imagine you are remodeling your garden. The purpose of the Starting Up a Project process in this situation would be to help confirm that your plan to create your own Versailles was realistic and worth the effort before starting on the Initiate a Project process.
  • Think things through. The objective of the Starting Up process is to ensure that you have thought things through and that everything is in place. You can be confident that you have done so when you have, among other things, the authority to initiate a project, a sound business justification and the required information to define and confirm the scope of your ambitions.
  • Learn lessons from history. Good gardeners will tell you that the secret to gardening success lies in learning from experts, similar projects and from other sources of information such as blogs. Project managers will tell you that the same can be true of project management success. PRINCE2 encourages you to learn from other project management experts, from similar projects and from other sources both in and outside the organisation. Learning lessons well, will have a positive effect on everything from the Business Case to the project team.
  • Find the face that fits. One of the essential objectives of the Starting Up a Project process is creating the right roles and putting the right people in them. Staying with our garden analogy, you need a head gardener (the executive) and a foreman gardener (project manager). The executive’s role is to represent the interests of the stakeholders and make decisions accordingly. The foreman’s role is to run things on a day-to-day basis him. After filling those positions, you would build a team whose members had defined roles, responsibilities, accountabilities, and so on.
  • Answer the big “why” question. It cannot be said often enough that the Business Case, where you answer the “why do we want to do this?” question, is critical in any project. It comprises many elements, examining, for example, project objectives, funding and background information, such as feasibility studies. This is also an opportunity to determine things like the customer’s quality expectations and key milestones.
  • Take the right approach and write the brief. Is it better to modify an existing product or create a new one? Is it more cost-effective to develop it ourselves or to buy it in from outside? These are some of the questions that this step enables you to answer while you think things through in terms of resources, security and legality, and the like. As for the project brief, it should be just that – brief. The document outlines the current status of the project, desired outputs and outcomes, the scope and much else as you can see in the sample brief for Ace Software on our Free PRINCE2 Downloads page.
  • Plan for Initiating a Project. When designing a garden, it can sometimes feel as if the planning phase far exceeds the doing phase. Persevere, however, for your patience will be rewarded. Planning can make the difference between success and failure for any project as the nature of the following job list proves. For it is in this period that you will be reviewing the lessons log, evaluating the time needed to create the stage plan, reviewing and analysing any risks and, finally, getting approval to initiate the project.

Useful Links

  • Our PRINCE2 Practitioner Gold Pack is the perfect way to improve your project delivery skills. It combines Foundation and Practitioner courses in a blended learning programme.
  • Buy any ILX digital learning course and you will receive Managing Risks in Project free and be better equipped to deal with the risks thrown up by today's uncertain economic climate.
  • We aim to support your learning and project management practice with our comprehensive selection of free and useful downloads, this blog, a forum and social media such as Twitter and LinkedIn.
  • To better serve organisations, we have developed ILX Connect to assist companies to implement PRINCE2 training.
  • ILX Consulting provides everything from maturity assessments and organisational health-checks, through ITIL, MSP and PRINCE2 implementation, to programme and project performance management. It has a proven record of delivering tangible improvements in capability, productivity and customer satisfaction to a businesses and organisations.
  • Two further useful sources of information are: examination and accrediting body, the APMG and owner of the Best Management Practice portfolio, the Cabinet Office.