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Take Control of Your Project With Phase One – Concept and Feasibility – Part 2
By Mark L. Reed

A while ago we began discussing the tasks associated with Phase One – Concept and Feasibility:

  • Project Customer Definition
  • Functional Team Review
  • Kick-off Meeting
  • Communication Plan
  • Objective Definition

In this article we will begin where we left off and complete the Phase One tasks with:

  • Project Definition Document
  • Project Management Plan
  • Project Team Time and Cost Estimates +/- 50%
  • Agreement to Proceed with Project Customer

Project Definition Document and/or Project Management Plan

A Project Definition Document contains all of the information we are discovering during Phase One – Concept and Feasibility. You have done all the work and the Project Definition Document is a handy place to document it and share with all stakeholders.

A Project Management Plan spells out all the steps and tasks necessary during all Four Phases of your Project Management Lifecycle.

You must decide if both are necessary based on your teams knowledge of project management in general, but it is always to your advantage to do a Project Definition Document.

Project Team Time and Cost Estimates +/- 50%

Now that the objectives are defined and agreed-to, it is time to see how well senior management guesstimated the time and cost of your project.

Ask each team member how long and how much it is going to take each of them to do their assigned tasks. Give them a big leeway by asking for a +/- 50% estimate as you know there will be more detail and clarity in the next Phase. All you want right now is to see how close reality is to your time and cost constraints as dictated by management.

Agreement to Proceed with Project Customer

You have done your Concept and Feasibility and now defined your project to a level well beyond anything previously done by senior management; and you have the documentation necessary to back-up your findings.

If your team comes back with something close, take it to your Project Customer and ask permission to take the project forward to Phase Two – Organization and Schedule.

If it’s not so close, then it is time to face the harsh reality that the project will not succeed as currently defined and agreement to move forward is agreeing to fail.

Regardless, you now have the documentation to present a darned good case not to proceed forward with the project. This will make it your Project Customer’s decision to proceed with the project, or not.

The good news, I have found that with proper documentation, Project Customers will appreciate and accept what you bring them because it certainly is in the best interest of the Shareholder to set-up the project to succeed, rather than force it to fail!


Phase One – Concept and Feasibility allows you to define the project, align your team, establish communication and forces agreement after you have managed best practice.

Come to think of it, doesn’t that make Phase One – Concept and Feasibility the most important Phase of the Project Management Lifecycle?

I think Phase One – Concept and Feasibility is the best thing going for the Project Manager to take control of not only of their project, but also their personal project success.

Mark Reed, Project Management expert, Executive Consultant and President of Mark Reed Project Management, Inc. has brought his unique “Project Management… by the Numbers” methodology from his ProSess International division, to companies in 45 countries. Mark’s dynamic style, humor and extensive 20+ years experience in project management execution and training provides companies with a strong practical approach and innovative techniques for delivering over-the-top results. Mark Reed’s “… by the Numbers” program is a lifesaver for struggling project managers and their frustrated CEOs. His innovative techniques and fast-pasted, value-rich seminars have helped his clients achieve timely and cost effective programs and satisfied customers worldwide. Consultant /Trainer Mark Reed is also available for private consulting. For a free newsletter with project management tips or more information, visit, e-mail to or contact their headquarters at +1 206-251-9910.

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