As I get older and more experience, I have become lazier in preparing for project meetings. Recently, I was so overwhelmed that I checked my calendar in the morning. I was surprised to find out that four people from outside came in for a meeting.
This is the first page in the Project Initiation Checklist. It is available in the Resource Library. This was an informal meeting to kick off something that could become a project. It took me a few hours to prepare, which was enough, but it made my stomach churn. It could have been worse, but at least the meeting was not at 9am.
We went through the basics of what they wanted to do, and I believe there is something. The next step is to properly initiate the project.
This article will discuss what to include in this type of meeting: the project kickoff meeting.
Let’s first talk about the project initiation phase. This is the crucial step that will set up a project for a successful end.
This article:
The Project Initiation PhaseHow long is Project Initiation?

What documents are created during the project initiation phase
Your Pre-Project Questionnaire
The Project Initiation MeetingWho attends this meeting?
Agenda for Project Kickoff Meeting
Should You Invite Clients?

The Most Important Project Question

The Project Initiation Phase
The project initiation phase is where you start the project. This is where you gather all the information you need to determine what you should be doing and with whom.
It is the first part of the “real” project. After the business case has been approved, but before work begins.
How long does it take for Project Initiation to be completed?
There is no one answer for how long the project initiation should take. A small project can be completed in one day, if you have a conversation with one person.
You might hold multiple workshops with different stakeholders to help you understand the scope and objectives of a large project. This could take several weeks.
You might need additional time to create your project plan and schedule. I have found that sponsors don’t view the planning phase as a separate part of the project lifecycle. Project managers might call it such, but I have never seen it that way.
They see the ‘person planning and thinking but not delivering anything’ and the ‘doing’ of the work. They don’t care much about how to manage a project, as long as the person is doing the work in an obvious way.
Don’t let anyone tell your project is taking too much time. It doesn’t matter how long it takes. Once you feel ready to begin planning properly, it is time to initiate.
What documents are created during the project initiation phase
Before project initiation, the business case must be completed.
During initiation you create the project charter and other necessary documents.
Next: The project documents and templates you will need to manage your project.
Your Pre-Project Questionnaire
I have compiled a list of essential questions you should ask when you start a project. These questions can be used in project kickoff meetings and during the initiation phase to ensure you understand what needs to occur.
These are the details:
Why is this important?
What is the problem that you are trying solve?
What do you expect the project to accomplish? What do you consider the highest level goal?
Are the requirements of the project documented? If not, by whom? Who?
What is the solution, if any, that was agreed upon? What analysis was done on the solutions proposed?
What are the success criteria for a project? (Read more about success criteria and my definitive guide to project success criteria.
How does this project relate to company strategy?
How does it work?