Initiation Basics

Let’s look at the inputs and outputs of this phase.

What is program initiation?

This is the program's first phase. The program is defined, and its business case is developed. In this phase, we identify the problem and the opportunity we're striving for, assemble the core contributors, set up a working agreement, and outline the high-level goals.

As the Technical Program Manager, your role isn't your job to do all these things, but to ensure the right people are on the boat to get these things done.

Inputs and outputs


The initiation phase is a program's ground zero. The primary input of program initiation is the overall strategic intent. The two main questions you must be able to answer are:

  • What problem or opportunity are we addressing with this program?

  • Why now?

We'll get into these questions more in the "Scoping" section of this lesson.


The primary output of program initiation is the program charter. It includes elements like:

  • Initial scoping

  • Initial stakeholder list

  • Working agreement

  • High-level objectives and key results

You're the glue

You're the glue between all the stakeholders.

The results of good planning are aggregation, consolidation, and refinement of the input from multiple stakeholders.

As a technical program manager, one of your goals is to balance top-down and bottom-up to create the artifacts during planning.

At this point in the program lifecycle, however, you've already collected a lot of the top-down input via the program charter. As your plan becomes more detailed, you'll merge this top-down input with bottom-up input.

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