Five Steps To Protect Project Initiation
Watch the following video and learn the 5 core steps you can take to get a project across the start-line…
Hi. I’m Devin Deen, Content Director here at ProjectManager.com.
Today I’m going to share with you five steps that I use when I initiate a project and get it across that start line.
The first thing I do is I review that statement of work or terms of reference or project charter with the project team and with the wider stakeholder audience. It’s really important to get everyone on the same page at the start of a project, and by reviewing that project charter together, you effectively can make that happen. Now, you want to pick that charter apart as well. Now is the time to pick up any risks that may not have made it into that project charter or the project plan. Now is the time to bring up any dependencies that you didn’t think about or some assumptions that perhaps haven’t been validated appropriately. Or, if there are any scope items that are missing or items that need to put out of scope, that is the time to do it as well. Take the opportunity, get that project team together, get your stakeholders together, and review that project charter, terms of reference, or project plan together.
Next off, secure your budget. Most importantly, don’t just get the budget that’s in the project charter, go get some contingency. My rule of thumb is 25%. Go set the expectations with the stakeholders about the true cost of the project and go get another 25%, as much as you can, really, but 25% seems to be that rule of thumb. Put it in your back pocket and away from the rest of the project team. You, as a project manager, own that contingency, and if your stakeholders aren’t comfortable with that, get them to own that contingency. There needs to be a pot of money set aside to deal with any unforeseen items that might come up during the project and also perhaps to deal with any of the changes that might come up as the project develops and some new features and functionality that they want developed. That’s what that contingency’s for. Go get at least 25%.
Next, get a very vocal sponsor. No wallflowers here. Your project sponsor has to be very vocal in the community of your organization. They need to have a lot of clout, a lot of respect from their peers. They also need to be active with you and your project. You don’t want a sponsor that says, “Oh, look, come see me only when things are going wrong.” No, you want a sponsor that you can develop a relationship with and one that is willing to go to bat with you, to open up doors for your project team and get other departments to collaborate with you when it needs to be done. The project sponsor is really, really key to the success of getting your project objectives achieved. Go get a vocal one.
Next, go set up your steering committee. It’s important to have a community of stakeholders that can come together and help shape the outcome of your project, ensure it’s going down the right paths and it’s guiding in the direction to provide the most benefit for the organization. We’ve all been involved with projects where you’ve got that one loud stakeholder, who may even be a bully, trying to be vocal and push their way in and hijack the project objectives to meet their own benefits only. A steering committee will help mollify that person, and they will ensure that the project actually retains its adherence to the scope and the objectives that it was set up to achieve. Go get that steering committee. Get it set up. In fact, have that first steering committee meeting before you even kick off the project, which is the next step.
Hold that kick-off meeting. Now, it’s really important to have a wide kick-off meeting with not just the project team, not just the stakeholders, but also the people who are going to benefit from that project, maybe some of the people who are going to test the project, the ultimate owners of the project who are going to take the benefit of what you’re delivering. Have that kick-off meeting to set their expectations about what you’re delivering, when you’re delivering it, and when they can expect that benefit to start affecting them in their daily lives and what their during with their teams.
Following these five simple steps during project initiation will help you get your project headed in the right direction right from the start line. Use our software to apply these techniques on your project. Come try us out at ProjectManager.com.