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What is a Project Initiation Document (PID) in Project Management?

What is a project initiation document?

A project initiation document (PID) has a number of very important project planning functions in a PRINCE2 environment. Essentially, it is a planning document or documentation that defines the project scope, its business case, risks, and other crucial details.

The purpose of a project initiation document is to gather key planning information that will help steer the project in the right direction, gain approval from stakeholders and decision-makers, and establish a clear plan for project delivery.

Without a project initiation document, a project may risk being derailed due to a lack of direction and a lack of engagement from stakeholders. Your project management PID is also a living document — meaning that it can be updated and modified over the project life cycle as necessary.

What goes into a project initiation document (PID)?

A standard project initiation document template and checklist will include a few key sections. These sections will give wider context to the project, set out goals and protocols, and act as a reference document for the project team and stakeholders.

  • Project definition
    An overview of the project’s scope and objectives. This section should contain details relevant to understanding exactly what the project aims to achieve and why.

  • Project approach
    The project approach section of your project initiation document should articulate what will be done and how it will be done in service of the project’s goals.

  • Business case
    Here is where you justify the project and explain how it advances the wider business goals of the organization or portfolio.

  • Roles and responsibilities
    The main responsibilities of your project team should be articulated here. Who is going to be responsible for what over the project’s duration?

  • Risk management plan
    In this part of your project initiation document, identify and define potential project risks. Lay out plans to address these risks, should they arise.

  • Communication plan
    How and when will stakeholders and project sponsors receive updates and other communications during the project? These protocols should be established in this section.

  • Project plan
    Now that you’ve explained the what, who, and when of your project you need to explain how your project team plans to get it all done. Describe how your team will achieve the goals and objectives set out in earlier sections.

The PRINCE2 project initiation document is an essential high-level plan that gives crucial context needed for stakeholder buy-in and project team engagement. Create it, reference it, and update it over the course of the project to get as much value from it as possible.