The PRINCE2 methodology needs an external stimulus to kick it into life, and this is in the form of a project mandate. The may just be a verbal instruction but is most likely some form of document.
The project mandate is the enabler for PRINCE2 in the starting up a project process (which occurs before the formal project start), to examine the project idea and then to gather sufficient information for the project board to be able to make the decision of whether to start the project, and initiate the required planning, or to decide not to proceed any further.
The project mandate is the first PRINCE2 management product that gathers impetus to ask and answer the following questions:
Either programme management or corporate management is responsible for producing the project mandate, which contains high-level information about the project idea. The project mandate is the “trigger” that starts PRINCE2 off, and must contain at an absolutes minimum, the project board’ executive’s name, often the project manager’s name, and of course, must explain the subject matter of the potential project.
The mandate is the authority to carry out the starting up a project process. At its simplest the mandate may simply state that work should start, but as a minimum should include the subject matter of the project and the name of the project board executive.
The project mandate may also include an outline business case in skeleton form, for example there may have been some form of a study that lead up to the need for this project.
The project mandate will be refined into becoming the project brief, so it would be helpful if a mandate gave as much information as possible and as a minimum should contain the following information:
The project mandate must contain a clear statement of the project objectives showing what it is expected to achieve this may be in the form of outcomes or benefits; for example a quicker response time to customer inquiries leading to increased revenues from the sale of service contracts.
The typical content of a project mandate should include:
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David spent 25 years as a senior project manager for USA multinationals, and has deep experience in project management. He now develops a wide range of project-related downloadable video training products under the Primer and PM Academy System brand names. In addition, David runs project management training seminars across the world, and is a prolific writer on the many topics of project management.