Pre-Project Management

As I dig into formal project management and the whole PMBoK realm, there are several initial perspectives that have my attention.  First, it seems to me that the whole process is overly complex which makes it hard to easily grasp and follow.  More on that later.  Second, it seems that under PMBoK the very first task of a project is the creation of the Project Charter. I wonder if there aren’t some earlier steps that are necessary to, lead up to, and inform the Charter.

To my mind, a project’s genesis involves identifying the primary sponsor and top-level stakeholders.  This, of course, is usually a self-identification process– someone in a position of some authority identifies an itch they want scratched.  This sponsor group identifies the purpose of the project– what the project would do and accomplish.  To start, this purpose description is probably general in nature and will definitely get refined as the process advances. There will then need to be some description or understanding of the scope and resources for the project.  Another pre-charter element is a sense of who the stakeholders are and how project success will be identified.

Those preliminary steps are clearly a part of the concept phase of a project, but deserve recognition and attention in the formal project management cycle.  They are necessary to determining if the possible project is feasible and if the formal process should begin.