Project Initiation

BEST PRACTICE:   Create and maintain a project charter for each project

Formally, the project charter provides authorization for project work and aligns the project manager's understanding of the project, including project success criteria, with the sponsor's expectations.  Once drafted, the project charter must be reviewed with the project sponsor for approval.

The project charter also provides the basis for controlling scope and ensuring the delivered product meets the sponsor's expected results and success criteria.  As such, as new details are discovered (or changes are needed to scope, timeline or deliverables), the project charter should be updated and the revised version reviewed with the sponsor for approval.  This new approved version becomes the basis for the project baseline. 

Working through the creation and approval of the project charter provides the opportunity to negotiate achievable commitments upfront. 

BEST PRACTICEPerform stakeholder analysis and maintain a responsibility matrix (RACI) for each project

Each project is unique.  This means that the stakeholders will have unique expectations, the project may have a unique project team, or members may have unique responsibilities specific to the project.  Performing stakeholder analysis, and maintaining the responsibility matrix ensures that everyone involved is clear on roles and responsibilites.  It also helps to ensure that the appropriate resources are aligned to the project. 

Important note:  Each project, especially those deploying new functionality or processes, should consider two separate RACI documents.  The first to clarify the roles and responsibilies of the project team during the life of the project.  The second to clarify the on-going roles and responsibilities once the product is delivered.