Over the next couple of posts I want to cover the topic of project initiation.

It is good practice for an organisation to have a structured mechanism for the proposal and authorisation of projects.  One of the common tools used to manage this is the Project Initiation Document (PID).

What is a PID?

The PID is a document (usually word processor but can be in spreadsheet or presentation form) that clearly articulates why a project is important.

It clearly explains:

  • Purpose of the project.
  • What the project should achieve (benefits).
  • Why the project is important.
  • Indication of timescales.
  • Potential risks and issues.
  • Roles, responsibilities and resource requirements.
  • Governance structure.
  • Budget.

A good test if the PID has been well written is if a new team member or, interested party, can read the document and gain a good understanding of the project.

The size of the PID will vary depending on the size of the project.  A simple report taking weeks may only be a single page.  A complex multi year project will be a much longer document.  It is important to be pragmatic and fit the tool to the need.

Why is the PID used?

The PID is used to clearly explain the rationale for a project (the business case for doing the project).  This allows for an informed decision to be made in respect of investment.

Why a PID is important?

  • It ensures that all stakeholders have the same understanding of what the project will deliver, over what time scale and budget – principle of “no surprises”.
  • It helps to align project spend to the strategic objectives of an organisation by only allowing projects that pass the review process progress.
  • It allows the project team to outline what they will deliver and how.
  • It provides the project team with the mandate to initiate the project.
  • It forms the contract between the project team and steering committee / sponsor.

Having this in place should allow for the expectations of all stakeholders to be managed.

What a PID should contain

The PID should typically contain the following:

  • Project definition
  • Project approach
  • Project business case / rationale
  • Budget requirement
  • Resource requirement
  • Roles & responsibilities
  • Risks & issues
  • Project plan
  • Governance


Implementing a simple PID and supporting process will help control how projects are authorised.  This should help ensure that only projects aligned to the organisations objectives are approved.

Over the coming weeks I will expand on the process and content that should be included within a PID.

If you are interested in other project or mobilization tools, you may be interested in the Mobilization Heatmap Framework.