Part III: Action Items 33
Remember: In our discussion of Action Items, we use the term sponsor to mean customer, client,
final owner of the project, or entity providing funding. In short, the term sponsor refers to the
person who has the power to provide funds, to approve the use of resources, and to stop the
Initiating means getting the project authorized. It involves obtaining the organization’s
commitment to the project as a whole. Alternately, initiating may involve getting the
organization’s commitment that a particular project phase will be started.
The following Action Items support the process of initiating:
Action Item: Demonstrate Project Need and Feasibility
Action Item: Obtain Project Authorization
Action Item: Obtain Authorization for the Phase
34 The Project Manager’s Partner
Action Item: Demonstrate Project Need and Feasibility
Decide whether you have enough information to prove to the sponsor that the project is needed
and feasible.
Desired Outputs
A document confirming that there is a need for the project deliverables; this would
describe the following items in broad terms:
The project goal and/or underlying concepts
The deliverables
By what means the deliverables might be created
The costs of creating and implementing the deliverables
The benefits to be obtained by implementing the deliverables
Who are the sponsor(s) and stakeholders
In what ways the sponsor(s) and stakeholders are prepared to support the project
Background Information
The purpose of Phase I: Determine Need and Feasibility is to obtain authorization for the
project. Authorization means formal approval from the sponsor. Circumstances under which
authorization can usually be obtained include the presence of a legitimate:
Market demand
Business need
Customer request
Technological advance
Legal requirement
In recent years, many enterprises have established a project office to serve as a clearinghouse
for projects. Made up of high-level managers from all of the enterprise’s functional units, the
project office typically evaluates individual project proposals in light of the enterprise’s long-
term strategic goals and the overall project load of the entire enterprise and all of its resources.
In this way, overbooking of resources and duplication of effort by different project teams
working toward similar goals can be avoided. (In addition, a typical project office also provides
some administrative support for project management, such as specialized PM software and the
people to run it, as well as organization-specific PM items and processes, PM coaching, and
formal training.)
If your organization has such a project office, you and your sponsor should obtain information
about the ways in which projects are selected for approval. In particular, you should obtain a list
of any criteria used to prioritize or to reject project proposals prior to their authorization.
Before you can obtain authorization for your project, you will need to demonstrate that you have
done adequate research and that the project is needed and doable to the sponsoring organization.

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