When it comes to project management, every organization has a different approach toward planning and organizing tasks. The beginning or initiation of a project is by far the most crucial and challenging phase of the entire project. It is during the initiation phase that businesses have to plan and make forecasts for the entire project. Any mistakes made during the initiation process can significantly damage the itinerary of the project.
As a project manager, it is highly necessary that you be extremely careful with the things you consider and the decisions you make at the beginning of a project. The best decisions can only be made if you’re aware of the things you should consider at this stage.
In this article, we look at some of the things you should consider before planning for a new project. Start cautiously with all plans in order to finish your project in a timely and efficient manner.
Gauging the Scope of the Project
The very first thing you should do before starting a new project is to gauge the scope of the project. The scope of the project is necessary to determine the overall aim of the project and is one of the first things to be ascertained. What are the objectives for the project? What is your business looking to achieve from this project? These are just two of the questions that you should have answers to when starting work on the project.
However, you need to be aware of how the scope of the project can change with the passage of time. Leave some flexibility or room for change in the project scope, as different stakeholders might come up with different requirements for the project.
Setting Success Criteria
The initiation phase of the project is the right time to define and determine the success criteria for the project. Success metrics are usually set to determine the success of a project and to find out just how it has performed. Consider and determine the factors that you will use to determine your success, including profit generation, ROI, the length of time it takes for completion, the amount invested in the project and other metrics.
The Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are determined as a result of the success factors you set at the start of a project. Without a clear understanding of the metrics behind success, organizations will not be able to measure KPIs.
Every successful project has to meet the deadlines set for it. Regardless of whether the project is based on internal growth or is for an external client, it is necessary that you evaluate the requirements of the project and set an appropriate deadline for it.
A complete and concrete deadline allows everyone on your team to stay focused and have a definite set of objectives in mind. A concrete deadline also makes it easier for you to track progress and to ensure that the project is completed within the given time limit.
The deadline you set should also be communicated to your stakeholders, team members and clients. If stakeholders object to the deadline and want the project to be completed earlier, then you should be able to reason with them and help them understand the logic behind the extended deadline.
Establishing benchmarks very early on in the project is highly necessary to track the project requirements and evaluate just how well you have achieved them. Sometimes, the goals and success metrics of a project may appear straightforward, but managers discover numerous additional dimensions and attributes over time.
For instance, the development process for an account login page seems straightforward, but once you embark on the process, many hidden requirements pop up and determine the flow. In such cases, you should set a benchmark at the start of the project and keep your requirements and performance in check over time.
Too many cooks spoil the broth. Similarly, it is essential for one person to be given the final authority to take key decisions on project delivery and performance. There are often a number of managers working on a single project, in which case it is recommended that you assign the final authority to someone.
The person handed over the final authority should also act as a liaison between the internal team and the external client. As part of their responsibility here, they should assist communication between both parties and help them understand the requirements.
A number of critical decisions have to be taken inside your organization, if you are assigning responsibility within your team. As a project manager, you should fairly assign responsibilities based on merit and experience. Tasks should be distributed equally according to your team members’ expertise and knowledge.
Managers with previous interaction with employees should ideally be able to choose the right person for the right task. This previous experience can help cut down on additional costs and speed up the process.
Understand and Use SMART Milestones
When setting objectives and deadlines for your projects, it is necessary that you follow the SMART acronym, which translates to:
The project should be specific and carry a definitive purpose to it. In addition, it should be measurable and should come with realistic objectives. An unachievable project with unrealistic targets is a recipe for disaster. Finally, it should be time-specific and should come with a defined deadline. Milestones can be used as focal points to measure and understand the progress of your team over the course of the project.
Managing a project from start to finish is not easy. Managers have to take several things into consideration, especially during the initiation phase. Having read this article, we hope you’re now able to start efficiently and finish your projects in time.