Draft a Project Charter that describes the project in concise terms.
What is the purpose of the project? (Why is the project being rolled out?)
What is the scope of the Project?
What are the main deliverables?
What are the key milestones?
List the risks, assumptions and interdependencies?
What is the project budget? Who is on the project team?
How is progress monitored and success measured?
The charter can be the basis for the formal agreement or project contract between two parties.
Define the Project Requirements
Are the user requirements clearly documented and understood? Is it clear how the main deliverables of the project will satisfy the needs of the business or end user? Has the scope of the project been assembled based on the user requirements?
In order to produce a plan – you need to understand every task that needs to be performed in order for the project to be delivered. Every task, every document, all items that need to be procured and installed, servers, software and the resources need to do each task. A work breakdown structure should be produced that details all the above-mentioned tasks.
There are no shortcuts here – you will need expertise from a number of areas to provide input in order to produce a detailed plan. This may take a number of workshop in order to gather the correct level of detail. Once the tasks have been listed – the order, inter-dependencies and estimated time can be defined. The tasks must then be assigned to resources to perform the tasks – from this the project cost can be estimated.
Depending on the business need to have the project implemented by a specific date – more resources may be required to deliver the project. But depending on the process of delivery – it may not be possible to resource load some elements of the project.
The team selection is crucial for success here – choosing the right people that will work together as a team is vital. Don’t go on experience alone – enthusiasm, attitude and personality will benefit a project and compliment technical expertise. Ensure that everyone is clear on their responsibilities and roles within the project.
Now that the plan has been developed and the costs understood. The risks and dependencies need to be overlaid on to the plan to understand the potential impact of the risks in terms of cost and time. Once this final estimate is assembled there may be some higher level approval required so that all the main stakeholders understand and approve the project, the scope, the budget, the risks, the timelines and the key deliverables. This may be a formal approval in most organizations.
This is also an opportunity for all project team members to refine the plan and provide further input on the task estimation and duration so that they are comfortable with this prior to commencing execution.
Perform a detailed risk assessment in order to identify the potential impact on the project in terms of time, cost or scope.
Project Kick Off
Once the above criteria have been approved – a Project Kick off needs to take place. This is normally in the form of a day-long meeting / workshop and should include but not be limited to the following topics:
Summary of the Project – i.e. Run Through the Charter
The Objectives of the Project
Key Performance Indicators
Risks, Dependencies and Assumptions
Monitoring, Governance and Reporting
Also as part of the kick off, define and communicate the Day 1, Week 1, Month 1 activities. This is basically a list of tasks for all project resources so that they are clear on what is expected of them within the first month of the project.
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