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Chapter 17 - Project Start-up

Part 3


To summarise the keywords of that chapter, here is a quick overview:

Technical term Definition
Project start-up In essence, the business decision to implement an idea in project form
  • Project manager and project team are named
  • Project objectives are confirmed
  • Project budget is approved
  • Project manual is brought into operation
  • All project files are created.
    Project start-up usually takes place between the project preparation and project implementation phases
  • Project preparation All activities and processes to be performed prior to the project start-up phase, which is when project implementation commences
    Project implementation All processes that directly contribute to arriving at a specific target situation
    Also includes the (technical) planning process
    Kick-off meeting Official announcement and enactment of project objectives and rules
    The kick-off meeting differs from the project start-up workshop
    Project start-up meeting A workshop attended by the project team where project objectives, the project organisation, methods etc. are drafted and agreed

    Test yourself!

    Now it is time to check your knowledge.

    Answer the following questions for yourself. Please take your time and think carefully about what you would answer before revealing the solution.

    What tasks does the project manager perform in the project start-up phase?

    1. Establish the project objective and content with the customer
    2. Form the project team
    3. Prepare the first project plan
    4. Clarify and establish the framework, especially the availability of human, financial and other resources
    5. Set up the project organisation structures
    6. Perform the first risk analysis

    What tasks does the steering committee perform in the project start-up phase?
    • Establish the project's compatibility with the organisation's business strategy and business objectives.
    • Prioritisation of the project.
    What would be a practical agenda for a project start-up workshop?

    1. Greeting and introduction of the participants
    2. Presentation of the agenda and agreement of rules for cooperation at the start-up meeting and during the project
    3. Establishment of participants' expectations of the start-up meeting
    4. Collection of information
    5. Overview of the existing project management processes
    6. Identification of stakeholders and definition of general project objectives
    7. Drafting of an initial work breakdown structure
    8. First cost estimates
    9. Definition of project phases and key milestones
    10. Detailed planning for the next project phase
    11. Project management structures, information and communication system
    12. Project risks
    13. Next steps, especially the next deadlines and tasks
    14. Feedback round

    When does the project start-up phase end and the project launch phase commence?

    Project launch phase:
    The time when consensus is reached in the organisation that action is to be taken on an issue and that resources will be made available to clarify the further procedure.

    Start-up phase:
    Ends when existing information is sufficient for firm agreements to be reached between the project team - represented by the project manager - and key task owners regarding the performance of the work and services to be performed in the project.

    What significance does the start-up phase have and what potential mistakes can be made?

    Project start-up is the most important part of the project management process because this is the phase that provides the basis for all subsequent processes (e.g. formulation of project objectives).


    • The executive management team provides an unspecific briefing to staff ("Just do it!" type projects) and then expects fast results.
    • Owing to a lack of time and funds, no feasibility study is carried out to clarify objectives.
    • Users of the project deliverables are not involved in the formulation of objectives due to time constraints.
    When does a project commence?

    Project launch:
    The time when consensus is reached in the organisation that action is to be taken on an issue and that resources will be made available to clarify the further procedure.