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Project Pre-Charter as a Sub-Phase of the Initiation Phase

Daniel Linman
November 24, 2010

What tasks to do prior to initiating a project

prior to project initiationThe project initiation phase is the first phase within the project life-cycle to approve a project’s idea and make a foundation for planning the project. Usually this phase includes Project Pre-Charter which is a sub phase an organization goes through to decide whether to launch the project, what reasons for project initiation are and what form the project should take.

The project pre-charter sub-phase is a step to be taken before the development of project charter. It consists of the pre-charter sub-phase and the charter phase. In this article, I will talk about the first sub-phase and my focus will be on the project pre-charter definition and tasks.


Project Pre-Charter is a sub phase within the project initiation phase to create a formal basis for making decisions on the necessity to launch a project and determine the rationale for the project launch. This phase starts with stating a business need or problem, reviewing and choosing various alternatives for addressing the need, analyzing the feasibility of the chosen project alterative, evaluating possible impacts of implementing the alternative, establishing project funding sources, and evaluating risks.

The purpose of project pre charter consists in establishing the project’s rationale and also doing everything required for launching the charter sub-phase. Necessary reparations concern relationships with key stakeholders such as project sponsor and analysts who help develop a business case and conduct a feasibility study.Within the project management framework, the project pre-charter sub-phase is the first step to initiating the project.


As the given definition of the pre-charter says, the purpose of this sub-phase is to establish a project’s rationale and do everything required for launching the charter phase. Project pre charter preparations include several key tasks.

The major tasks of the project pre-charter sub-phase are listed below:

  • Develop a business case.
    This task is about identifying and analyzing a business need or problem which should be addressed by the project. A business case template is to be developed and approved by the project owner and submitted to the project manager for further considerations.
  • Conduct a feasibility study.
    This project pre-charter task is about investigating the business problem using the business case document to assess the probability of success and find out whether the project is feasible and the business need can be fully addressed. The task results in creating a feasibility study document.
  • Choose a project alternative and analyze its impact.
    Project analysts should consider all possible alternatives to addressing the business need. During doing this project pre charter task, a list of project alternatives is to be created and examined by analysts and the most feasible and applicable alternative should be chosen. Then the impact of the chosen alternative upon the project results should be analyzed.
  • Identify funding sources.
    This task of the project pre-charter sub phase refers to identifying sources of funding required for implementing the selected project alternative. It results in developing a project funding document that outlines sources of project finance.
  • Evaluate risks. The last project pre-charter task is about identification and analysis of all risks that surround the project. Risk evaluation criteria should be developed to analyze identified risks and their impact on the project results.

Project initiation phase best practices point out one important aspect of the pre-charter sub phase: all the tasks should be accomplished cohesively and step by step; otherwise, a lack of information for developing a project charter document template will be.

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