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What to include in a Project Initiation Document to Gain Approval

Here's a quick recommendation on what to include in your Project document in order to gain approval for your next upcoming project:


Executive Summary – 2 paragraphs, very high level

  • Background – Current status of organization, application, affected departments, etc.
  • Description of the project – What you are intending to accomplish, decommission old application, implement new application, data conversion, etc.

Objective – A few paragraphs or bullet points

  • What you expect to be better (e.g. visibility, data accuracy, coordinated, process simplification, etc.)


  • Cost saving (e.g. reduced staffing, less ongoing licenses costs, etc.)
  • Process improvements and efficiencies

Project Scope – Define what is included and what is NOT included

  • Applications that will be implemented
  • Modules/functions being implemented
  • Data converted, archived/moved, not retained/eliminated
  • Business processes affected, changed, eliminated
  • Automated integrations converted, implemented, eliminated

Project Approach

  • Describe general flow of project (e.g. design, development, testing, implementation, etc.)
  • Number of testing cycles
  • Regularity of project meetings and reports
  • How steering committee is involved, meeting regularity, and status
  • Tracking of issues and risks

Project Team & Roles/Responsibilities

  • Executive sponsor
  • Steering Committee
  • Business Owner
  • Team members (does not need to be specific person)
  • Chart to describe who approves, responsible, consulted, informed, etc.

Project Milestones

  • This is a high level timeline (e.g. design, development, testing, conversion, go-live)
  • Typically a simple table with milestone, start and completion date

Project Costs – include costs and timetable of spend

  • Software – initial purchase and ongoing maintenance
  • Hardware
  • Consulting
  • Internal resources and any backfill needed to support project

Risks and Contingencies

  • List of risks and contingency/mitigation Planar Systems
  • Enumerated list
  • High level (e.g. timeline, resources, scope)