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Free Project Initiation Templates

by Kate Eby on Feb 13, 2020

In this article, you’ll find the most useful projection initiation document (PID) templates for project managers (PMs), digital project managers (DPMs), project teams, and various other stakeholders, as well as helpful details for filling out these templates.

Included on this page, you'll find a simple project initiation template, a software project initiation template, an Agile project initiation template, details on what to include in a project initiation document, and steps on how to initiate a project.


Simple Project Initiation Document Template

It’s crucial to have a comprehensive project initiation document (PID) that will serve you from initial brainstorming to project execution, and every step in between. Use this simple template to define your project’s scope, capture team members’ responsibilities, and provide project-centric details, steps, and milestones for success. 

Download this template for one-off projects, or save it as part of a larger document for project management, so you can keep all team members and stakeholders looped into the project’s current status — and where it’s headed. 

To learn more about this process and to find additional resources, read “Project Initiation.” 

Simple Project Initiation Document Template

Download Simple Project Initiation Document Template

Excel | Word | Google Sheets | Smartsheet


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Software Project Initiation Template

This software project initiation template is a perfect fit for project managers (PMs) and digital project managers (DPMs) who want a detailed, all-in-one project initiation and tracking system for all stages of software development. The template offers a visually rich view, which enables team members to keep tabs on details and review the big picture at a glance. 

Dashboard-like information includes the project ID, project manager, project executive, date, project objectives, project benefits, scope, timeline, budget, key risks, and approvals. Once you’ve filled out the form, any member of the team can fill in the details of milestones and expectations and keep the software project moving along. 

To learn more about this process and to find additional resources, read “Guide to Software Project Management.”  

Software Project Initiation Template

Download Software Project Initiation Template

Word | PowerPoint


Agile Project Initiation Template

If your company is dedicated to Agile software development, then your iterative software releases will be much more frequent than in the traditional waterfall approach. This comprehensive project initiation template is designed specifically for Agile projects: It provides everything you need to succeed with the sprint release process, including project name, sponsor, and manager, stakeholders, expected start and end dates, executive summary, key milestones and KPIs, and estimated cost and resources. 

To learn more about this process and to find additional resources, read “Everything You Need to Know About Agile Project Management.” 

Agile Project Initiation Template

Download Agile Project Initiation Template

Excel | Word | PDF


Construction Project Initiation Template

In the construction industry, success banks on how well you plan and execute your projects. This construction project initiation template is a perfect solution for all stages of the construction cycle, from project conception and initiation, definition and planning, all the way to project execution and performance monitoring.

You can use this customizable template on a project-by-project initiation, or for multi-project initiation within a master project. This easy-to-use construction project template will help you complete your construction projects on time, within budget, and with all the details and deliverables successfully tracked. 

To learn more about this process and to find additional resources, read “A Complete Guide to Construction Management.”  

Construction Project Initiation Template

Download Construction Project Initiation Template

Excel | Word


What Is a PID in Project Management?

A project initiation document (PID) is crucial to the initiation of any project. Without a PID, your company assumes that everyone knows the actual roles, milestones, expectations, and details of a project. 

Historically, the PID was developed as the primary organizing theme for the PRojects IN Controlled Environments (PRINCE2) structured project management method, the primary project management methodology adopted in the majority of Europe (including the UK) and Australia. The PID is the primary tool for the second of seven project management themes: Organization, the role of which, according to PRINCE2’s methodology, is to “define and establish the project’s structure of accountability and responsibilities.”  

As a project manager, you need this centralized document in order to collaborate with other project team members. Use this document to define the project’s scope, assign tasks, keep all team members apprised of progress and developments, and ensure that everyone is on the same page. 

From initiation to completion, the PID provides accountability for all of the project-critical elements, scope definition, implementation logistics, and, ultimately, the criteria for project success. 

If you’ve ever been in a situation where your company discussed a business need or client request, verbally formulated a project plan, and then immediately got started, you’ve probably learned very quickly why this verbal method costs more in the long run, in terms of both time and resources. Without the safeguards of a written plan — which provides all stakeholders with a central document that serves as a charter for the project and as a “contract” for the project’s strategy, logistics, timelines, and all-around expectations of its deliverables — you’ll end up spending considerably more time and resources, not less.

To ensure collaboration and project initiation success, read “A Comprehensive Project Management Guide for Everything RACI.”


What Does a Project Initiation Document Contain?

A PID is a blueprint for a project’s success. Although no two PIDs are exactly alike, they share the same fundamental components to ensure that you’ve clearly defined your project’s scope, assigned team member responsibilities, and considered and recorded all factors in an easily shareable document. 

Regardless of the type of PID you use, you will invariably include the same basic sections: 

  • Project Initiation: Enumerate details, such as required research, names of stakeholders, and project guidelines. 
  • Project Definition and Planning: Document your project’s scope, goals, budget, and potential risks. 
  • Project Launch and Execution: Note your project’s status and tracking details, and also reference key performance indicators (KPIs) and project updates.  
  • Project Performance/Monitoring: State your project’s objectives, list deliverables, track efforts and cost, and evaluate project performance.

How Do You Initiate a Project?

A PID will help you initiate your project by ensuring that you identify the following seven critical steps of the project management initiation process before you begin any work on the project: 

  1. Goals: What is the project trying to achieve? 
  2. Deliverables: What is the project going to provide? 
  3. Scope: What are the project’s boundaries? 
  4. Budget: What are the project’s costs? 
  5. Resources: Who are the project’s team members? 
  6. Risks: What are the project’s potential risks? 
  7. Stakeholders: Who are the stakeholders or clients who can authorize the project?  

Although a PID continues on with additional sections related to project launch, as well as project performance, the seven steps above will help you kick off your project to ensure that you and your project team meet success at the finish line.

Any potential project — from conception to delivery of a product or service — requires a centralized system that governs all initiatives, research, projections, stakeholders, responsibilities, and outcomes. A PID is a living document that records the entirety of a project’s details and progress. It also serves as the default reference document that the team can refer to for clarity, any adjustment of details, and documentation of any changes to the project.

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Use Project Initiation Templates with Smartsheet for Project Management

Project managers, digital project managers, project teams, and various other stakeholders know that effective project initiation can save considerable time and money in the full course of any project. In order to streamline project execution, however, you’ll need the right tools. 

One such tool is Smartsheet, a work execution platform that enables enterprises and teams to move faster, drive innovation, and achieve more. Top project management leaders rely on Smartsheet to help align the right people, resources, and schedules to get work done. 

Use Smartsheet to create consistent project elements, increase speed, and improve collaboration with scalable options that fit individual work preferences. Hold yourself and your team accountable, improve visibility into team priorities, and ensure nothing slips through the cracks.

Discover how Smartsheet can help maximize your project management efforts today.

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