12th June 2021

Knowledge Type

Lessons learned report


, Infrastructure and Projects Authority , Ministry of Defence , PA Consulting

Major Project


Of Interest To

Consultants Contractors Leadership teams Operators Private sector clients Public sector clients

Project Initiation Lessons Learned Report


An insights study into major project initiation in Defence.

Project InitiationAt the outset of major projects, there is often a strong desire to start delivering value as soon as possible, which is a challenge because
everything seems urgent and important.

This report summarises the findings from interviews conducted with Senior Responsible Owners and Project Directors from five major
Defence projects that revealed a diverse understanding of initiation. This acknowledges that initiation is not just something which happens when a mandate is signed, but may be needed at other points through the lifecycle, for example if there are significant changes in the direction, leadership, team size, or project structure.

The insights in this report, which were gathered from those same interviewees, revealed that building trust is the key success factor
in initiation. By establishing trust between different parties, whether that is within project teams, between projects and their sponsors,
or between projects and wider stakeholders and delivery partners, it is easier to deliver.

The report highlights five key areas in which building trust is key to
successful project initiation. These are

• Leading with confidence
• Seeing the big picture
• Delivering through people
• Planning flexibly
• Making good investment decisions