What Is a Project Initiation Document and How to Make It?

9 Nov, 2022 | Read in 4 minutes

A project initiation document is a document that helps define the scope of the project, identify stakeholders, and outline the critical processes for each stage of the project.


Have you ever been part of a project where not everyone had the same view of the project's goals? If you're a project manager, you've probably been this way. This ambiguity can lead to confusion. Some teams will draw different decisions, build unrealistic expectations and unnecessarily harbour fears.

Keeping everything detailed and controlled is common in projects. But the question is how to get everyone to have the same thoughts. The answer to that question is using a Project Initiation Document (PID). In it, you can collect important information about the project and present it to stakeholders. The PID provides an accurate view of the project's direction.

We all agree that a successful start can determine a project's success early enough. So, let’s get into it.

Project Initiation Document (PID)

PID is a planning document that defines the project scope, risks, business case and essential details. Arguably, PID is becoming one of the most significant artefacts in project management, which is necessary for the basis of business projects.

The purpose of the PID is to provide an overview of the project direction, make decisions and establish a clear plan for project implementation. Without PID, projects will derail quickly due to a lack of stakeholder engagement and oversight. The PID has dynamic supporting documentation, meaning you can modify it during the project cycle.

PID becomes a reference every time significant decisions are taken and becomes one of the parameters of success at the end of the project.


PRINCE2 (Projects IN Controlled Environments) is a project management methodology that involves organisation and control. The framework is linear and process-based, focusing on moving the initiative through the existing stages.

PID has several project planning functions in the PRINCE2 environment. PID in PRINCE2 is a high-level plan that provides information on stakeholder engagement and the team. This document also contains key information as the basis for the project scope.

The purposes of PID

A Project Initiation Document has three main purposes.

  • It is a fundamental document for stakeholders and PMs to track and assess progress, issues and risk management.
  • Ensure the project has a solid foundation before asking stakeholders to commit heavily.
  • Act as a project reference so that team members understand the project and how to run it.

What’s in a Project Initiation Document?

In Google, you can find PID templates easily, but you can also create your own. There is an important part of creating a broader context for the project so that the PID can act as intended. The following is the general content of the PID:

Project Plan vs. Project Initiation Document

You may be confused by these two documents in this project. When you glance at the definitions, you think these two documents are the same. PID (Project Initiation Document) focuses on creating a project charter that contains business requirements, goals and formal project approvals. While the Project Plan describes the plan in more detail in the various projected aspects of the effort undertaken.

4 easy steps to create a PID

Once you see the essential points in the PID, you can write them down in the document you created. But to help you out, here are four easy steps to creating a PID:

Part 1: Describe the project objectives

Describe what the project objectives are. In it, describe the problem you want to solve and create a complete definition of the project. This section includes the following:

  • Background: What is the context of the project? What are the ideas or problems in this project? Keep it concise.
  • Project definition: Define objectives, scope, work results, potential constraints and assumptions.

Part 2: Set up a detailed risk analysis

Explain in detail the project's impact on the company's progress. It would be best if you also set detailed risk candidates for consideration. This section covers the following:

  • The business case: covers the benefits of the project (how to measure the benefits of the project), options, cost and timeline also cost analysis.
  • Risk analysis: consists of 4 parts, namely identification, prevention, management and monitoring. So when the risk occurs, you already have a plan to deal with it.

Part 3: Assign roles and responsibilities

Describe how the project will be managed and organised. Who are the members who play a role, and what are their responsibilities? When you make it in detail, there is no duplication of responsibility from each team.

  • Roles and responsibilities: Contains the project organisation structure, project manager, project sponsor and the team involved. Each member must have their role.

Part 4: Determine the preliminary project plan

The PID also contains how teams can implement the project, although it is not as detailed as the project plan. Define deadlines, resources and management stages to outline an ongoing project.

  • Make a preliminary project plan: You need to redefine what the milestones in the project are, the schedule of each activity and task, the process of how to track the project and the quality control process.


You can call PID (Project Initiation Document) a project guide. This document outlines the objectives and the design of how the project will proceed. Its function is to ensure that everyone understands the project from the start.

Project Initiation Document may not be complete at creation, but they are dynamic, and you can change them throughout the project cycle. Creating a PID is one step better for the project, but real-time communication plays an essential role in project implementation.

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