Monday, September 5, 2011


Starting Up: Ideas and Opportunities for Projects
Establish the current reality:
?    What happens now?
?    Is there an accepted process?
?    Is the process or procedures written down anywhere?
?    Who owns this process?
?    Is responsibility at each step clearly defined?
?    Is responsibility shared at any point in the process?
?    How do the process procedures interface with other processes?
?    Where are the decision points in the process?
?    Who has authority to take decisions at each step in the process?
?    Why is a change necessary now?
?    What are the difficulties now that have promoted the need to change?
Identify needs and requirements:
?    What changes are identified?
?    Are these just a 'quick fix' or are they a quantum leap?
?    What does the customer believe is needed?
?    Do all customers agree?
?    Have the fundamental needs been separated from wishes?
?    Are predetermined solutions being proposed already?
?    Has the end users' perception of needs been identified?
?    Have the needs been listed as primary, secondary and hopes?
?    Has this list been prioritized and agreed with the customer?
?    Can you turn the information into a clear statement of needs?
?    Can you use the needs analysis to derive a statement of requirements?
?    Does the customer agree with your statement of requirements?

?    Why is the project necessary?
?    What is the overall problem or opportunity being addressed?
?    Has the current situation been explored and understood?
?    Has a statement of requirements been derived from the needs list?
?    Is this an old problem?
?    How long has it existed?
?    Who wants to change things?
?    Have previous attempts (projects) been made to address this problem?
?    What information exists about past attempts to fix things?
?    What assumptions have been made?
?    How does the project align with current organizational strategy?
?    Does the project form part of a programme of projects?
?    Will the project form part of a chain of linked projects or a programme?
?    What is the timescale of the project?
?    Is there a business-critical date by which it is necessary to get the results?
?    Will the results be of value to another customer or another part of the organization?
?    Have all the needs been identified and analysed?
?    Has a statement of requirements been agreed?
?    Are there predetermined solutions?
?    What are these solutions?
?    Is there a best option and a least worst option?
?    Is there enough time to explore more than one option?
?    Are there known checkpoints for project review?
?    What specialized skills are expected to be required for the project work?
?    Are the project's primary deliverables known?
?    What does the customer need, want and hope to get from the project?
?    Can these deliverables be clearly defined and specified?
?    Does the end user agree with these deliverables?
?    What does the end user need, want and hope to get from the project?
?    What are the project's perceived benefits?
?    Have these benefits been quantified?
?    Has a project budget been fixed?
?    Is capital investment necessary?
?    Has a capital expenditure request been initiated?
?    Is time used for project work to be measured and costed?
?    How were the costs derived?
?    Has a cost-benefit analysis been carried out?
?    Has a financial appraisal been carried out to establish payback?
?    Have the project's constraints been identified?
?    Is there a time constraint for all or part of the deliverables list?
?    Are there any financial constraints (eg manufacturing cost, project cost)?
?    Is there a financial payback constraint?
?    Are there any known technical constraints (eg new or untried technology)?
?    Are there known resource constraints?
?    Is the project team to be located together on one site?
?    Is part of the work to be carried out at another site?
?    Is part of the work to be carried out by sub-contractors or suppliers?
?    Is there a preferred list of approved sub-contractors and suppliers?
?    What existing specifications and standards are to be applied to the project?
?    Are there any legal constraints that might affect the project work?
?    Are there any security implications?
?    Are there any operational constraints (eg access to production areas/ test equipment, etc)?
?    Are there any health and safety constraints?


?    Identify your project sponsor.
?    Identify your customer.
?    Confirm needs and expectations.
?    Identify the end users of the project's outcomes.
?    Start to build a relationship with these people.
?    Determine the project's constraints.
?    Agree a date for a kick-off meeting.
?    Select your core team.
?    Hold an initial team meeting.
?    Explain the project's background and context.
?    Explain the overall objectives of the project as you know them at present.
?    Confirm the team's understanding of the objectives.
?    Share your own enthusiasm for and commitment to the project.
?    Listen to what the team members have to say.
?    Answer their questions if you can.
?    Promise answers to questions you cannot answer now.
?    Explain the project phases and the process you intend to use.
?    Empathize with their concerns about other commitments
?    Explain your intention to have separate one-to-one meetings with each team member.
?    Agree dates for the first of these meetings.
?    Set up an initial programme of team meetings, say for the next four weeks.
?    Explain the kick-off process and confirm their attendance at this meeting.
?    Open the project file.
?    Prepare for the kick-off meeting with the team.
?    Hold the kick-off meeting and record outcomes in the file.

Organize your project file into sections for the different stages of the project; for example:
?    Business case and amendments by the PST.
?    Project definition:
o    project organization;
o    stakeholders;
o    project brief.
?    Project plans and schedules:
o    project risk management;
o    responsibility charts;
o    schedules;
o    work plans.
?    Project execution and implementation:
o    project status reports;
o    changes to project plans;
o    action plans for corrective action;
o    cost control data;
o    supplier and sub-contractor data;
o    records of meetings.
?    Project closure:
o    closure checklist;
o    handover checklist;
o    acceptance process;
o    follow-on and post-project responsibilities;
o    project evaluation data;
o    completion report.



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