For a project manager, there is nothing worse than going into a project without having a solid plan in place. Even if your plan changes and adapts to unforeseen hardships, having that initial plan in place makes everything go much more smoothly. With that in mind, here are the 5 things that you need to know before starting a project. Getting these items nailed down will help make the entire project management experience a breeze.
5 Things to Know Before Starting a Project
1. Identify and Detail Out Project Goals
Even if you have never done a project of the same size and scope before, you can figure out where you expect to start and where you need to end. From there, you need to determine the measurable goals that you should meet along the way, as well as expected challenges that might prevent you from meeting those goals. Doing this will guarantee that you have a gauge of whether you are on track or not as the project proceeds.
2. Identify all Stakeholders
Who stands to benefit from the project’s success, and who will suffer if the project fails to meet its goals? By identifying the stakeholders, you determine who you are and your team are accountable to. Sometimes this is a simple matter of seeing who signs the paychecks, but other times there are unexpected beneficiaries of the project that you need to be aware of. Putting a face to your stakeholder’s lets you know the cost of success and the price of failure.
3. Determine Roles & Responsibilities
Redundancy is one of the greatest enemies of good project management. When planning the scope and details of your project, make sure that everybody on your team has a role and a responsibility that doesn’t overlap with other team members. This doesn’t mean that you should ignore cross-training in case you need to adjust your plan. However, by keeping everybody focused on a unique task that matches their skills, you keep the project moving along at peak efficiency.
4. Develop a Communication Plan
Each member of the project team needs to be able to effectively and consistently communicate with their coworkers. This can be particularly difficult if you have people working remotely. Developing a communication plan includes outlining the methods of communication that your team members can use reliably. It also lets you set up recurring meetings and briefs that fit into everybody’s schedule, even if some people have to call in from a remote site.
5. Identify Project Assumptions, Risks and Dependencies
Knowing your blind spots and the vulnerable area of your project plan will help you to adapt when problems come up. Figure out what assumptions you’re making and then determine if those assumptions are reasonable or not. Identify the risks should you make a bad assumption or poor judgment. Finally, think about what items within your project road map depend on each other – if one steps need another to right first, you know to focus your energy on that first part before beginning the dependent phase
Using the points outlined above, your project will be more streamlined and efficient than ever before. This will help you meet goals faster and control costs effectively.
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