A project is a time-bound initiative undertaken with a specific goal in mind. It needs a defined start and end date, a scope, and resources.
With so many things to consider and numerous factors to account for, it becomes all-the-more challenging to plan and execute projects to perfection.
To ensure that your project is a success, efficient and meticulous planning is essential. Sound Project Planning is thus the foundation of effective project management.
Here are five things that you should focus on while planning and preparing for a project kickoff.
Frame a Business Case
A business case is the foundation of any project. It defines the project and its relevance. It documents factors like capital required, dependencies, financial feasibility, etc.
A business case will thus help you envision your project in real terms. Remember to weigh the pros and cons and try to find out the value your project will create. Describe your project’s overall feasibility, map its journey, and compare the payoffs.
A good business case is clear, relevant, and logical. It must be easy to understand and should work as a blueprint of your project. All the assumptions and forecasts must be measurable and comparable while being grounded in reality.
In a nutshell, a business case helps to get a nod from key decision-makers. It must be presentable, relevant, and should define everything that a key decision-maker would need.
Set Up a Project Management Office (PMO)
A project management office makes sure a project is executed correctly by working within the governance regulations and implementing the best project management practices.
This group lays down and maintains the project management standards within an organization and is responsible for overseeing and supervising projects. Their objective is to instill a sense of responsibility, accountability, and standardization across the projects in the organization.
A PMO, therefore, ensures that all projects run in a standardized and responsible way.
Publish a Project Charter
A Project Charter is a document that formally authorizes the existence of the project.
A project charter covers things like – the scope, structure, milestones, dependencies, team/group responsibilities, tasks, risks and threats, and risk-mitigation plan of the project.
A project charter helps align all the project stakeholders – project team, senior management, project financers, etc.
You can check out this blog post on How to Write An Effective Project Charter to learn in detail.
Scope of the Project
Project scope clearly defines what is included in the project and what is not. It clearly defines project goals, activities, outcomes, and costs.
Therefore, the Project Scope becomes the guiding document for the project managers throughout the project’s lifecycle. A project can only begin after framing the scope and making all the necessary arrangements.
Identify Your Team
A project is a collaborative effort and needs a fully functional and experienced team. All members must have a defined role. They should be aware of their tasks and responsibilities and must understand accountability.
Team Hierarchy, communication structure, and the frequency of meetings must be defined accurately and clearly.
- Tips for building an effective team:
- Ascertain Skill Requirements – Find out the type of skills you will be needing by assessing your project.
- Define Roles – After finding out project skill requirements, define all the team members’ roles and responsibilities. Use the RASCI Model to bring all the stakeholders on the same page.
- Set Standards and Criteria – Set performance standards and assess your team. If you find a discrepancy or misalignment in the team performance, find ways to curb the same and make a follow-up plan.
- Define Team Interaction Schedule – Define team reporting structure and interaction schedules. Meeting rooster will help decide how often teams should meet to interact with each other and share their insights.
To learn more about planning for a great project kickoff, head over to this blog post on effective project planning.