What are the things to consider before project initiation. I believe a lot goes on before the charter can be produced and PMBOk 5 is a bit silent on that point.
You need to conduct Feasibility study.
- Operational feasibility
- Economic feasibility
- Technical feasibility
- Human factors feasibility
- Legal/Political feasibility
Usually it is conducted by customer or consultant before hiring PM and Team. After studies there might be decision to not start a project at all. If customer gives a green light this study shall be a primary source of data for project charter.
Yes, quite a bit goes on. Unfortunately, I think a lot of project managers are assigned to projects after pre-project work is done, so are stuck doing piece-work without necessarily having a broader business context... which can lead to bad decision-making down stream.
You should read up on the PRINCE2 standard, they have broken this out into the "Starting Up a Project" phase. Documentation produced and work done during that phase includes:
- Project Mandate coming from outside the project which commisions the work and acts as the starting point for all that follows.
- Appointment of a PM and project executive which establishes who represents the interests of the business stakeholders and has overall (executive) and day-to-day (PM) authority over the project
- Review of previous lessons to avoid repeating mistakes of the past and ensure reproduction of things that worked
- ID and appoint project management team to support the executive and PM as you start up the project.
- Prepare an outline business case to establish the business value of the project vs expected costs. This will be refined after the project is initiated.
- Select approach and assemble the Project Brief to define what the project will produce, how this will be done, which stakeholders need to be considered, what constraints/assumptions you are working under, etc...
- Develop an Initiation Plan so that you have a path towards developing a full-on project plan once your project is approved
- Approval to Proceed with Initiation from the project board/steering committee