PID stands for Project Initiation Document. The PID forms the basis for the management of a project. stakeholdermap.comArguably the PID is the must do document for a successful project. Without it a project will quickly lose direction, scope creep will dog the project from day one and budget and time overruns will be extremely likely.
Read this how to guide to learn the purpose, and CONTENTS of the Project Initiation Document. At the end of the guide we will provide a link so you can download a FREE PID template with hints, tips and example text that you can use for your project.
The purpose of the Project Initiation Document (PID)
- To ensure that the project has a sound basis before asking the Program/Project Board to make any major commitment to the project.
- To act as the base document against which the Program/Project Board and Project Manager can assess progress, change management issues and ongoing viability questions.
Although the PID will not be subject to change, supporting documentation will be dynamic, changing in response to the needs of the project, end of stage reviews and any changes approved by the Project Board.
The composition of the PID covers the fundamental questions about the project
- What the project is aiming to achieve?
- Why it is important? What is the Business Case?
- What is the budget?
- What is the project scope
- Who is going to be involved in managing the project and what are their responsibilities?
- Who are the project stakeholders?
- How and when will the project be delivered?
- How will risk be managed?
- How will quality be managed?
Key information about the PID
Members of the project team should contribute to the development of sections which are relevant to their role within the project and should be made aware of the totality of the project.Project Managers should aim to produce a relatively brief and focussed document which is supported by more detailed documentation which can be made available to the Programme/Project Board as appropriate.
The project manager is responsible for ensuring that the document meets the agreed quality standards for the PID including organisation branding and formatting rules.
The contents of the PIDThis is the typical contents of the PID. Contents will vary between industries, project management methods and between organisations. READ ON FOR A LINK TO A FREE PID TEMPLATE.
- Document information
- Project description
- Project Objectives
- Scope and exclusions
- Project deliverables
- Acceptance Criteria
- Monitoring and Evaluation
- Project Delivery
- Initial Risk Log
- Project Organisation Structure
- Communication Plan
- Quality Management
- Project Milestones
- Resource Plan
- Project Tolerance and Exception Process
- Record of amendments to the PID
- Deliverable / work package specifications
- Financial / Budget requirements
- Detailed schedules
- Title - [Project Name]
- Date - [use appropriate date format]
- Reference - a unique reference ID
- Version no. - [e.g. 0.1, 0.2 to 1.0 approved version]
- Author & revision record
- Approvals - record of reviews and approvals.
- Distribution - who received the document.
Project summaryThis section should give the reader a quick overview of the project so they understand which part of the Business Strategy or Program Plan it relates to, which departments and technology areas are involved, and what are the the key activities in the project.
PurposeThis section provides the rationale for the project and addresses some of the following questions.
- Why is this project being undertaken?
- Does it build on previous projects? What is the significant history of the project? What lessons have been learned and what are the implications?
- Is it a project which is being implemented to support another existing project?
- Is it a new aspect of work for the Business Strategy?
- What is the planned ROI (high-level)? This can link to the Business Case.
- What are the key touch points?
Project ObjectivesThis section identifies the key project objectives – what specifically will this project achieve? It should clearly link to the Program Objectives. It is likely to include active verbs such as replace, revise, provide, secure, create etc. It will reference Business Case, which is usually a separate document.
Scope and exclusionsDescribe the major areas, deliverables, functions, and processes to be addressed during the project. This section could include a high-level work breakdown structure (WBS).
Project DeliverablesProvide a complete list of the required deliverables/products/outcomes that the project must create or acquire. For a large project or program a number of deliverables might be delivered which can be specified in this section.
InterfacesIdentify other groups or projects which have natural interfaces with this one and which need to be considered and consulted. The section should also set out any dependencies between aspects of this project and other activities within or outside the project. assumptions being made if the project is to be delivered to time and quality within the agreed resources. List anything that you have assumed when writing the PID even where you have no evidence to confirm. This should include assumptions such as any anticipated legislation, other projects delivering to time and quality or anticipated appointments to key positions.
Monitoring and EvaluationThis section should document how the project will be monitored and evaluated. For example:
- How feedback will be collected on the value of this project by users of the products.
- The monitoring and evaluation methods the Project Sponsor will use to determine that the project has been delivered to specification and has had the intended impact
- The time scales and key dates for collecting the above information
- How, when and to whom the feedback and the monitoring and evaluation findings will be reported.
Initial Risk LogInclude the key risks to the successful delivery of the project. These should be specific to this project and not just a reiteration of the risks common to all projects. This section may include a table and will have typical risk register headings e.g. ID, risk description, impact, likelihood, proximity, mitigating actions, owner etc.
Project Organisation StructureThis section should include an organisation structure for the project, preferably as a typical organisation diagram. Also include the key roles and responsibilities. Some PIDs may include a RACI in a separate section.
Communication PlanThere may be two aspects of communication within a project: the first focused on the internal communication and reporting with regard to the delivery of the project, and the second focused on communication both internal and external about the nature of the project, its objectives and deliverables.
Internal Project CommunicationSet out the process, timings and governance for internal project communication. An example could be:
[The project manager will be the central hub of all communication within the project. All internal stakeholders to the project should pass information through the project manager who will maintain an effective audit trail. Within the project there will be a series of regular progress reporting developed to meet the needs of all recipients and to include progress, risks, issues, and budget spend.]
External Project CommunicationThis section will not necessarily apply to all projects, but all projects are about delivering a change (something that was not previously there), for a business reason. To realise the business benefits a communication strategy will be needed, be that for internal staff impacted by the change or for external parties.
The plan could include: (amend as necessary)
- Communications Objectives
- The Audiences – both internal and external
- The Key Messages to be communicated to each audience
- The Channels of Communication
- An Activity Time line
- A Media Plan
- Evaluation method
Quality ManagementThere are two aspects of quality management that can be considered with the PID: the first focused on securing high quality project management and the second focused on ensuring that deliverables are produced to scope, time and quality.
Quality Management of the ProjectFor some projects quality of project delivery may be provided through pre-existing governance provided by program, portfolio management or a project management office. In these cases this section may just require a reference to pre-existing policies and procedures.
Responsibility for checking that all procedures have been correctly followed in preparing this PID rests with: [Insert Name] Senior Project Manager
Responsibility for checking and signing off this PID and for ensuring it follows the PID guidance rests with: [Insert Name] Program Manager
Responsibility for ongoing monitoring and supervision to ensure that ongoing project management complies with the agreed procedures and processes rests with [Insert Name] of the Programme Office
Quality Management of the deliverablesIn this section document what the quality standards, quality assurance process and quality checking are for each project deliverable.
Ensuring the quality of deliverables is a shared responsibility across the project team and is ongoing throughout the life cycle of the project. Overall responsibility for ensuring the deliverables meet the agreed quality standards rests with: [Insert Name] Project Sponsor.
For each deliverable specify:
- Deliverable: The deliverable title and ID.
- Quality standards: The standards against which the deliverable will be measured.
- Quality assurance: The processes needed to secure high quality deliverable.
- Quality checking: The quality checks that will be made to ensure that the final deliverables meet the expected standards.
Resource PlanThis section documents the resources - human and machine, that are required for the project. A description of all of the Roles and responsibilities will be included along with the named resources needed, their skill set, when they are needed, how long for and the associated costs. Get a Resource Planning Template.
Ideally this section will contain a resource histogram. A resource histogram is a bar chart that shows the amount of time that a particular resource is scheduled for over the project duration. This is hugely useful for resource planning and most project planning software will have reports or views which show a histogram for each resource.
Project Tolerance and Exception ProcessRecommended Project Tolerance and a brief confirmation of the Exception Procedure to be followed in the event of a deviation from the approved plan which is forecast to exceed Tolerance (Project and Stage). Refer also to the Change Control Process that will be followed for this project. See example cost and time tolerances.
Record of amendments to the PIDKeep a record of the amendments made to each version of the PID. This section may form part of a header/document information page, or if long may be more suited to an appendix.
Deliverable / work package specificationsInclude the specifications for the work packages and project deliverables. For example, a unique reference for each deliverable, title, purpose, composition, format, owner, quality criteria, location/storage.
Financial / Budget requirementsDocument the budget, forecast, run rates, cost model as appropriate for the project.
Detailed schedulesProvide a detailed project schedule. For example, a Microsoft Project plan may be attached here or referenced in this section. Get ready made Microsoft Project Plans.
This may also include detailed team plans and resource plans. Get a Resource plan Template.