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Project Management Software

Process Focus: Initiating

Initiating is the first process group when one is dividing the project management processes into groups. Dividing the various steps into groups can help project managers more effectively manager their groups and their projects. It is a way to organize tasks and set goals, completing the project in small, manageable steps that lead to the over all result of a successfully finished project. Project management software can be a big help at all stages, and can be helpful as the project manager begins to draft necessary documents and set forth broad project objectives.

The first thing that needs to be done in the initiating stage is to show that the project is needed and to show that it is feasible. A cost benefit analysis should be part of the initial stages, allowing the project manager (if this position is assigned, it is usually just to look into the feasibility of the project) or the sponsor to show that the benefits are worth the investment of time, manpower, and money into the project. Additionally, there should be a statement of what, generally, will be the end result of the project, and how that result will be delivered.

If a project manager has not been selected at this time, it is time to assign a manager and have him or her begin working on putting together the main preliminaries of the project. The manager can use the information obtained in the earlier part of the initiating process to create the background for the project charter and begin developing the outlines of project objectives. The project manager may begin some preparation for the project, but as it has not been fully approved as yet, should not expend too many resources on the project. Everything at this stage is fairly broad, but should be defined enough to allow onlookers and potential team members to understand what the project is about. The sponsor especially should be able to recognize her or his desired objectives, and help guide the project charter process to ensure that everything is done according to his or her vision.

After the charter is created, and after the project manager has begun to really get close to the details of the planning stage, the sponsor is approached with all of the preliminary work. The sponsor can look over the work, and determine if the resources already expended were worth it, and she or he can also decide whether or not to go through with the project and commit full resources. Written approval for the project, and for permission to receive necessary resources, must be obtained at this stage. Before project management can really commence with the project, it must be approved and formally recognized.

The point of this management group of processes is to determine whether the project is needed and doable without having to use resources to get part way through before deciding that the costs outweigh the benefits. Going through an initial stage helps reduce the chances of starting a project that will not be completed. After all of these steps in the initiating phase have been completed, and after the project has received formal approval, the project manager can begin the next step, which is to move to the project management process group planning.

Article by Remedysoft, Inc.
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Laguna Hills, CA

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