You might know it as PEST - with just two more letters added on. PESTLE stands for Political, Economic, Sociological, Technological, Legal and Environmental.

It's a way of prompting thinking about the external environment. It's normally used to look at an entire organization or department, but it is perfectly feasible to use PESTLE on a project as well. In fact, it is a good way of ensuring you have captured all potential risks and issues.External factors can also be a source of constraints, especially in the legal arena, so it can help at all stages of writing the project initiation document.

Here are some PESTLE questions to ask yourself when you are planning your project:

Political PESTLE analysis


  • Who is your project sponsor and what is their power and influence reach in the organisation?
  • How is the project sponsor viewed by other areas of the business?
  • What third parties are involved?
  • Who are the other key stakeholders and how do they fit into the organisation?


  • What is your project budget and is it likely to be cut half-way through the project?
  • How do you get things paid?
  • Can you sign expenditure off yourself?
  • What is your project sponsor's approach to budgetary tolerance?
  • What are the financial calculations required for a robust business case (IRR, ROI etc) and is your project constantly being reviewed against them?
  • What is the procedure for financial accountability of benefits?


  • What is the group that your project will impact?
  • What are the training needs of that group?
  • What is the composition and morale of your project team?

Technological PESTLE analysis


  • How will you manage scope changes when new developments arise?
  • What technology do you need to support your team's ways of working?
  • What technology are you deploying as part of the project and how will this be done?
  • What are the technical constraints you need to work within?


  • What health and safety regulations do you need to follow?
  • What other legislation do you need to follow?
  • What other regulatory frameworks do you need to work within?
  • What are the information governance and data protection elements that you need to safeguard during the project, including any test data used during testing?


  • Is your project management 'green' (not printing out emails etc)?
  • What is the environmental impact of your project and how, if at all, do you intend to address that?