The minimalist project management system
Project Initiation Monthly Initiation Weekly Management Daily Management Monthly Closure Project Closure Post-Project Management Appoint the sponsor A01 Appoint the project manager A02 Appoint the key team members A03 Describe the project A04 Identify and plan the deliverables A05 Identify risks and plan responses A06 Have project initiation peer-reviewed A07 Make a go/no-go decision A08 Kick off the project A09 Conduct a focused communication A10 Revise and refine the plans B01 Have the monthly cycle peer-reviewed B02 Make a go/no-go decision B03 Kick off the monthly cycle B04 Conduct a focused communication B05 Measure and report performance C01 Plan responses for deviations C02 Kick off the weekly cycle C03 Conduct a focused communication C04 Manage risks, issues, and change requests D01 Accept completed deliverables D02 Evaluate stakeholder satisfaction E01 Capture lessons and plan for improvements E02 Conduct a focused communication E03 Hand over the product F01 Evaluate stakeholder satisfaction F02 Have the closing activity group peer-reviewed F03 Archive the project documents F04 Celebrate! F05 Conduct a focused communication F06 Evaluate the benefits G01 Generate new ideas G02 Conduct a focused communication G03

A08 - Make a go/no-go decision

This management activity belongs to the Project Initiation group. This group of activities are run at the beginning to prepare us for the project.

At this point, the project manager sends the project documents to the sponsor, and the sponsor makes a go/no-go decision. To make this decision, the sponsor may need to discuss the project with other decision makers in the organization, such as the portfolio management layer – but it’s up to the sponsor to determine how to do that, and not the project manager.

If you have an external customer and are responding to a request for proposal, in addition to making a go/no-go decision internally, you should also send the proposal to the customer and wait for them to select their supplier and give you the final go/no-go decision. This management activity is completed when the contract is signed, or when you have another legally binding element in place.

If you’re going to have external suppliers and some of them were selected in A05, you might want to sign the contract with them at this point. Additional external suppliers may be selected and contracts signed later on an ad hoc basis.


Projects that have external customers always have clear go/no-go decisions, but internal projects sometimes lack this step and just creep into existence without a clear decision. It’s important to make this a clear gate for the project and have proper signatures and commitments before proceeding.

On the other hand, some organizations just invest in any project as long as they have resources available. This management activity is at the end of a chain of activities that are aimed at turning it into an educated decision based on the justification of the project.

Common pitfalls

Every organization that works with projects needs to have a portfolio management system that evaluates and selects the projects in a holistic way that is balanced and compatible with the strategies of the organization. Many of the problems attributed to project management systems have roots in portfolio management; e.g., having too many projects at the same time.

Make sure everyone understands that a no-go decision is not a failure; it’s a sign of having a successful system that understands what’s not beneficial for the organization, and this wouldn’t be possible without the effort of the key team members in the project initiation activity group.


The following principles play a significant role in this management activity:

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