One of the greatest temptations in any project is to stop analyzing and planning the project and just get on with the "real" work of creating the products. Wasting time with unnecessary analysis is of course a bad thing, but rushing into the work can actually turn out to be a false economy, leading to more wasted time later on. How do you ensure a successful project start-up?
- Clearly define what the project will create and agree the project's scope with all the important stakeholders. This leads to satisfied clients and lowers the risk that users change their mind whilst the products are being created.
- Identify what could go wrong on the project and think how these situations might be avoided. Risk management is an important piece of any successful project.
- Talk to everyone who disagrees with the project, especially those who have power or influence. It's better to have the arguments and power struggles up front before resources have been committed.
- Assign all the important project responsibilities to specific people. You want to make sure that all the correct decisions are made in a timely manner, all the key management work is attended to and all the work to deliver the products is on schedule.
- Talk to people who have done similar projects in the past. What did they learn from the experience? What advice can they give to avoid any problems they encountered?
- Make sure senior stakeholders get involved enough in a project. You don't need them to be involved day-to-day, but if the senior stakeholders are completely hands off, then they won't be available to commit resources or resolve difficult problems.
- Clearly define the project objectives and how the organization will benefit. If this isn't done how does the project team know when the initiative should stop and also whether the project has been successful?
The beginning of the project is a crucial time, following these steps will help to set your project off on the right track.