Starting a New Project

ProjectManager.com

Starting a project, or the initiation phase, is specific process in the project lifecycle. Getting that process right is the first step in successfully managing any project. The following video with Jennifer Bridges, PMP, gives you a step-by-step tutorial in how to initiate a project properly.

In Review: Start Out Right

In this training video, Jennifer laid out the six steps to starting a new project. These steps may be the most crucial part of your job as a project manager in that you’re setting up your project for success.

  • Know your project
  • Set a vision
  • Create and communicate project charter
  • Establish formal sign-offs early on
  • Create project “notebooks”, using collaboration tools for remote teams
  • Build and nurture team and stakeholder relationships

If you follow the above six steps, you’re well on your way. Most projects derail when one or more of the items outlined above are not followed. 

For a deeper dive into project planning, read the free ebook Step by Step Project Planning, by Jason Westland.

Pro-Tip: You must be the expert on the project, in all its aspects, before you can start on it. But you can only become expert by educating yourself. That means spend a lot of time with the pertinent literature, even Google the topic to make sure you’re current. Do whatever it takes.

Thanks for watching!

Transcription

Hello. I’m Jennifer Bridges, Program Director for Projectmanager.com.

Well, have you ever been on a project that was derailed from the beginning? Well, I’m going to give you six simple steps where you can plan your project out right to finish strong.

Step number one. Know your project. This is your project and you need to be the expert. So Google becomes your best friend. Why would you Google? It’s for a corporate project. Well, you can Google or research to learn about the topic of your project. Maybe it’s new technology. Maybe it’s new software. Maybe it’s something new in construction. A green project. Whatever the topic is, you can become the expert and know what’s happening in that field.

Also, number two, set a vision. People buy into a vision or cause. They don’t necessarily sign up to do tasks. So if you can set a vision that you can get excited about, others will get excited too.

Number three. Create and communicate your project charter. As you know from the initiating phase, the project charter is the main document that is the deliverable of that phase. So it’s great to communicate it to all of the team members so everyone knows the scope, the time, the budget of that project.

Also, get formal sign-offs. If you found yourself mid way through the project and people are asking who signed off on that? Well, you can show them in the project charter, you did. It solves all kinds of questions later.

Also, create your project notebook. I create a project notebook for several reasons. In literal form. Not only online, but offline. So here’s a sample. Just like a little notebook with the table of contents, information, and I keep it updated. It’s critical to keep it updated.

Then if someone comes by my desk and asks me or calls me or emails me, I can look it up, because if you’ve ever gone to find something critical online and maybe you’re server at work might be down or they’re doing maintenance, or maybe you’re out of the office. Well if you’re out of the office, people can drop by your desk, pick this up and look.

And you may say, “Well, my team’s global,” well that’s okay. We keep that offline, right? On your server or internet base? Also, I keep my project notebook on my iPad. I can access information through a drop-box or a corporate server that I can access online, so I can show people if I’m in a meeting. I can access it on my iPad or online if I’m traveling.

And the last simple step. It’s really very simple. It’s to build and nurture critical relationships. Not only with your teams, but with your stakeholders. They, after all, are some of the most important assets to get your project done.

So I think those are some of the six simple steps that you can use to start your project out right in order to finish strong.

If you need any tips, tools or techniques, please visit us at Projectmanager.com.

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