Project Definition executes those steps necessary for the Project to progress from being a work request into actual systems development. The development phase of the guide consists of the analysis, design and construction stages. Project Definition involves initial estimation of the work effort required to deliver the product and the devising of a project plan and standards and other prerequisites to the development effort. This stage may also involve the establishment of a steering committee if it is thought necessary.

Project Definition is the first stage of systems development and starts the process from which the following stages of development will follow. Definition establishes several important project prerequisites:

  • Project Manager

  • Cost/Benefit Analysis

  • Project Plan

  • Project Standards

  • Project Funding

  • Project Charter (optional)

  • Steering Committee

The Project Manager will be appointed by senior management, who may also appoint a steering committee at the same time.

From a project governance point of view the conclusion of the definition stage should also be a gate that determines whether the project should proceed. The definition stage also initiates the Governance stream of the project which groups request and project management activities together with the non-functional requirements which will provide a lot of the vision of what would define success for the project.

Initiation Request

The initiation request establishes the essentials of any issue resolution of project. The bare essentials are what is required, why is it required and who requires it. The sample form collects all the information required for the definition phase or references to that information are added to the form. The sample form presents as a ready reference as to the status of a project, it may only exist as a soft copy of may originate as a hard copy. Most of the information will be part of a standard project management methodology to ensure good project governance. Part of the request which may not be part of existing practice is not only to ask the requester what is required, but also what is the business reason for the requirement. The requester may be unaware of of the business reason or may even be unaware of what is required to solve a business issue, but one of the two must be present to initiate a request and both must be present for project definition to be completed.

The requester may also be unaware of how a project should be sponsored and funded, this should also be established as part of the definition phase. It is reasonable for a project to have multiple sources of funding, but the sponsor should represent the business interests of the funding and should have responsibility for the cost codes of the funding.

Stakeholders may also be unknown at initiation and should be establishes a part of definition. Stakeholders represent an important source of business rules and business issues.