How to write a project initiation document (PID)

Mrs Penny Hart

This document is updated from time to time. The most recent version can be found on the WWW at URL

This document is relevant to the following project units: PJE30 and PJS30

This version dated 27th September 2006


Why do you need to produce a project initiation document?

What does a project initiation document contain?

What is the process for PID approval?

Why do you need to produce a project initiation document?

Once you have chosen an idea and had it approved, you need to think about how to turn it into a project. The main purpose of producing a project initiation document (PID) is to act as a starting point, to clarify your thoughts on some important aspects of the project.

Another reason for having a PID is to ensure that the project is feasible and appropriate. The PID allows your supervisor to give constructive feedback on your ideas, and provide validation as to the suitability of this piece of academic work.

A PID summarises for your client, your supervisor and you what the project will involve, and acts as your “contract”. A PID details what you aim to achieve, why it is important, how you are going to do it and when the various activities should be carried out.

The PID is the base document for assessing progress, project risks and issues. You can use it throughout the project to monitor your progress and to clarify and manage changing risks and issues you encounter as you work.

Having a PID allows you to look back at the end of the project and compare what you achieved with your original ideas. Reviewing achievement against your original aim and objectives is a constructive thing to do. It is how you evaluate the project and is a necessary part of the final report.

What does a project initiation document contain?

The precise contents of a project initiation document vary according to the type of project, and should be agreed between student and supervisor. However, it should contain the following as a minimum:

The PID usually covers about 3-4 A4 pages or equivalent. You may use this PID template.  The ethical consent process is a requirement of the BCS.


What is the process for PID approval?


Show your project initiation document to your supervisor. He/she may suggest changes to it and you may need to go away and revise it. When your supervisor is happy with the specification, they must notify the project co-ordinator (via PUMS).


There is a deadline for PID approval but it is expected that most PIDs will be approved well before it. A penalty may be applied to students who fail to meet the deadline. If extenuating circumstances apply (e.g. illness), the deadline will be extended.


PID checklist

The following checklist can be used when preparing your PID.