Wondering how to start a new work project? It can be a daunting task. Even if your company has set up similar projects, it’s always a challenge. ‘New’ poses a risk – but can also result in opportunity and growth. No matter how many projects you’ve worked on, at some point, you will need to break out and try something new.
The following tips are designed to help get you started:
Step #1: Definition and scope
Effective project selection is the first step towards project success. First, define your project and its scope.
Don’t forget to include risk areas in the potential project scope. It may be difficult to influence these areas, so plan how you will control them outside of your project.
Step #2: Draft a clear charter
Next draft a charter of your responsibilities and scope as a project manager. You should write down what will be expected of you, the general project ground rules, and how you will obtain resources.
You should also add some of the items you will not be responsible for, just to keep things straight.
Review the policies, procedures, and methods in your organisation that govern the way projects are done. Finally, edit the charter until everyone involved agrees.
Step #3: Document your requirements
This step is the most important step towards project success! It will serve as the basis for your plan, your cost and schedule estimates, and it will enable you to manage changes as your project progresses.
If the requirements are unclear, make some assumptions and still document them.
Put your requirements document under version control and manage any changes deliberately. If there are significant changes, you may need to revisit your cost and schedule estimates.
Remember, without a written requirements statement, you will have no way of accounting for changes and managing your customer and sponsor expectations.
Step #4: Create a realistic plan
Create a project plan document. Use this to communicate the assumptions and intentions of the project to the stakeholders.
Break your project into phases. Incorporate the phases into your project schedule and plan updates to your scope document, cost estimate, and schedule.
Do your best to reconcile the project scope, resource budgets, and schedule goals in a realistic way. If your plan is not realistic, it cannot possibly succeed.
Step #5: Build your project team
Look for ways to boost your team’s time management. You should also make sure that key members understand the requirements and are involved in documenting the plan.
Step #6: Implement and track
If you have made it this far in your project, your plan is complete. Well done!
- You have obtained a decision to proceed and are ready to begin the implementation phase
- Continue to track progress and conduct frequent reviews while providing wide visibility of team progress, assumptions, and issues
- Conduct methodical reviews of management and consider taking a short course in leadership and management skills
This will not only fine-tune your management skills it will also help you to lead your project with emotional intelligence and motivate your team.
Step#7: Write it, save it, share it
Remember, if you haven’t written it down, it didn’t happen. Document all requirements, plans, procedures, and evolving designs. Documenting thoughts allows them to evolve and improve.
Without documentation, it is impossible to have baseline controls, reliable communications, or a repeatable process. Record all important decisions, along with supporting rationale, as you may need to refer to them later.
Step#8: Be relentlessly pro-active
Finally, take initiative! Be relentlessly proactive in applying these principles and identifying and solving problems as they arise to ensure that your project is successful.
Starting a new project? Contact ThinkTalent to help get it off the ground.