In this post, we’ll look into the process of defining a project, which is the first step in project planning and is very important due to many reasons which are elaborated in this post. You have already looked into the importance of project management in our last post. So now we’re moving to the planning process and as the first step will explore defining a project.

Importance of Defining a Project

It’s important to Define a Project before it is planned due to the following reasons:

  • It aligns the project with organizational goals
  • Project gets proper management support
  • Helps define what is in the scope and what is out of scope
  • Helps Understand and manage stakeholder expectations
  • Supports the actual planning process of the project
Defining a Project

First Step in Project Planning

Defining a Project is the first step in project planning and it is important due to various reasons:

  • Define the project boundaries
  • Know the stakeholders and their expectations
  • Supports in the detailed project planning
  • Helps relate the project with organizational goals
  • Makes the planning process easier
Defining a Project

How and Where a Project is Defined?

The project is defined in the form of a Project Definition Document, which contains the following:

  • Purpose, goals, and objectives
  • Project context and success criteria
  • What is in scope and what is out of scope
  • Assumptions, constraints, and risks
  • Project dependencies and approaches
  • Stakeholders and their expectations
Project Definition Document

What is Project Definition Document?

What is a Project Definition Document?

  • It properly defines a project at the start
  • It announces and authorizes the project manager
  • It’s a primary project management tool
  • It’s a living document which keeps updating
  • Stakeholders must approve it for the work to start
Project Definition Document

How Project Definition Document is Extended?

Project definition document can be extended with the additional information:

  • Preliminary estimates of cost, time, and resources
  • A visual summary of the project scope
  • Policies for process, quality, and security
  • Details of alternative approaches
  • Handling organizational change aspects
Extended Project Definition Document

Key Questions for Defining a Project

The key questions to be asked during the process of defining a project:

  • Why are we doing this project?
  • What are we going to build?
  • What organizational goals does it support?
  • Who are the key stakeholders?
  • What are the benefits of this project?
  • How this project relates to other projects in the organization?
Defining a Project Key Questions

Project Definition Checklist

Project Definition Checklist makes sure the project has been defined properly:

  • Are the project goals clear?
  • Has the scope been properly defined?
  • Has the out of scope items excluded?
  • Are the stakeholders identified and understood?
  • Is the definition document complete?
  • Has the stakeholders accepted the definition document?
Project Definition Checklist

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