As a project manager, you excel at planning, but when you’re busy and eager to get started on a project, it’s common to skip the most basic step by “planning to plan.” But it’s essential to project success. It sets expectations and ensures you are on the right track with all the information you need before you even get started. Here are a few questions to consider before starting.
1. What are we delivering – and what are we not delivering?
There are few factors that can make a bigger difference to your project success than defining scope. An understanding of the ultimate goal, and the deliverables that will be produced is essential to starting the project off on the right foot. It helps you accurately assess the resources you need and can provide a touchstone throughout the length of the project.
2. What are the deadlines we need to hit?
Of course, every project has an ultimate deadline, but it’s important to set interim goals as well to ensure the project is progressing on schedule. If possible, list any problems or events that could interfere with reaching these deadlines.
3. Who are the primary stakeholders we need to consult with?
A discussion with primary stakeholders is an indispensable part of starting the project. If possible, get them all in the same room so any disagreements about deadlines, deliverables, etc., can be hashed out before getting started. Have a clear agenda before walking into the meeting. Whether you are able to bring the stakeholders together or must speak to them individually, follow up with an email to confirm what you discussed.
4. Who is assigned to what specific role(s) on the team?
As much emphasis that is placed on hiring people who fit the company culture, the danger is that the business ends up with too many people with the same skills and viewpoint. Don’t make that mistake with your project team. Find people with unique skills, assign them to aspects of the project that make the most of their abilities and empower them to take charge of their portions and to bring up any problems they encounter or foresee.
5. How will we communicate project progress?
Establish agreed upon touchpoints throughout the project so the team can course correct as they go rather than trying to correct a major misstep. Then, decide on the communication methodology. It can range from scheduling weekly scrums to updating a PM software, as long as all team members are on the same page.
6. Who is the project leader and how will they guide the project?
Consider the scope and complexity of the project. Does it require a strong, proven leader or can a developing employee use this project as an opportunity to step up and build their leadership skills. Decide whether the nature of the project requires the leader to have specific skills or just the ability to lead a team. Does the company have a structure in place for leaders to follow or is it something they are required to create on the fly?
The success of your project depends on the strength of the individuals on the team and the team as a whole. If you need to add some strong individuals to your project team, contact the IT project management recruiting professionals at PMO Partners.