How to write a PID (Project Initiation Documentation)?

Date: 05/03/2024| Category: FAQ| Tags:

The PID is an essential document for PRINCE2 and for project management in general. It bundles the necessary documents to start the project on a solid basis and is used as a reference point throughout the project. Learn more about the PID (Project Initiation Documentation) and how to write it.

What is a PID? Definition

Within a PRINCE2-context the PID (Project Initiation Documentation) is a logical set of documents that brings together the key information needed to start the project on a sound basis and that conveys the information to all involved with the project.

What is the purpose of the PID?

The purpose of the PID is to define the project, in order to form the basis for its management and an assessment of its overall success. The PID gives the direction and scope of the project and (along with the stage plan) forms the “contract” between the project manager and the project board.

The three primary uses of the PID are to:

  1. Ensure that the project has a sound basis before asking the project board to make any major commitment to the project
  2. Act as a basic document against which the project board and project manager can assess progress, issues and ongoing viability questions
  3. Provide a single source of reference for the project so that people joining the “temporary organisation” can easily and quickly find out what the project is about, and how it is being managed

The PID is a living product which should always reflect the current status, plans and controls of the project. Its component products will need to be updated and baselined again over time, to the necessary extent at the end of each management stage. This is to reflect the current status of its constituent parts.

The version of the PID that was used to gain authorization for the project is preserved as the basis against which performance will later be assessed when closing the project.

PID Composition

The PID is composed of the following parts:

  • Project definition: Explains what the project needs to achieve (background, project objectives and desired outcomes, project scope and exclusions, constraints and assumptions, the user(s) and any other known interested parties and interfaces).
  • Project approach: Define the choice of solution and delivery approach.
  • Business Case: Describe the justification for the project based on estimated costs, risks and benefits.
  • Project management team structure: A chart showing who will be involved with the project.
  • Role descriptions: These describe the roles of those in the project management team and any other key resources.
  • Quality management approach: Describes the quality techniques and standards to be applied and the responsibilities for achieving the required quality levels.
  • Change control approach: Describes how and by whom the project’s products will be controlled and protected.
  • Risk management approach: Describes the specific risk management techniques and standards to be applied and the responsibilities for achieving an effective risk management procedure.
  • Communication management approach: Defines the parties interested in the project and the means and frequency of communication between them and the project team.
  • Project Plan: Describes how and when the project’s objectives are to be achieved, by showing the major products, activities and resources required on the project. It provides a baseline against which one can monitor the project’s progress, management stage by management stage.
  • Project controls: Summarizes the project-level controls such as management stage boundaries, agreed tolerances, monitoring and reporting.
  • Tailoring of PRINCE2: A summary of how PRINCE2 will be tailored for the project.


Initiating a Project


The PID includes the information available in the project brief. Indeed, the project brief describes the purpose, the cost, the deadlines, the performance requirements and the constraints of a project. It is developed before the start of the project during the Starting up a project process and used throughout the Initiating a project process to create the PID and its components. It is then replaced by the PID and is not kept. A project brief includes the following:

  • Project definition
  • Outline business case
  • Project product description
  • Project approach
  • Project management team structure
  • Role descriptions
  • References

These essential elements of the project brief are therefore included in the PID and supplemented with new elements obtained after:

  • Discussions with users regarding requirements
  • Discussions with suppliers for input on methods, standards and controls
  • Discussions with business regarding value for money

The Project Initiation Documentation consists of almost all the management documents from the Initiation Stage except the Benefits Management Approach as this comes to life after the project and is not archived with the other project documents.

Format and Presentation

The PID could be:

  • A single document
  • An index for a collection of documents
  • A collection of information sources in a project management tool

Are you curious to learn more about PRINCE2 Project Management? Also read: What is PRINCE2?

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