September 29, 2010 | Author: PM Hut | Filed under: Project Management for Beginners
8 Golden Rules When Starting New Projects
By Petrus Keyter
Starting a new project can be a daunting task, especially when you are new to project management. Many project management methodologies concentrates very much on theory, without providing actual practical examples of how to implement the learnt methodology.
In order to ensure project success when starting a new project, there are 8 golden rules to adhere to in order to ensure total project success. These are sponsorship, targets, scope, resources, planning, processes, tracking and reporting.
- Project sponsorship is one of the most important key successes for a project and you must ensure that you have a sponsor that understands the business and knows the importance of the project for the business. The sponsor must also have the right level of influence in the business and be able to provide the necessary resources to ensure project success.
Confirming targets with the project sponsor and other key stakeholders is of utmost importance. A feasibility study will help to confirm that any targets that are discussed are achievable. Add a bit of “fat” into your project, both from a time and budget perspective to cover any possible future scope creep.
Ensure that you confirm the actual scope of the project upfront. This way you will ensure that any future scope changes can be managed successfully. Also, try and keep the scope to a minimum. The benefit of breaking up a large project into more manageable pieces, will allow you to deliver tangible benefits at a more regular interval, rather than a final project after a couple of years.
For project success, you must identify and find the best people for your project. Confirm your key project team as early as possible and communicate this to all stakeholders, to ensure their availability at the right times. You must also identify any additional resources that can assist you in any contingency situation. As a project progresses you will most probably need more people than you originally identified and having a “backup” team to fall back to is a great key to project success.
Planning is one of the most critical success factors in any project, as the project deliverables will be measured against this plan. The best method, I found, is to only do detail planning for the next three months, there after only at a high level. Also, never over-plan and list all tasks for the entire project right at the start. Your stakeholders will hold you to these plans.
Processes are another critical success factor in your project, as this will ensure that everyone working on the project adheres to the same standards and know exactly what to do. Ensure you have documented processes for items such as time management, cost management, change management and even risk and issue management. Ensure that such processes are communicated to all stakeholders and people on the project team.
Once you have your project planning in place, another important task is to ensure that you do proper project tracking. This will allow any stakeholder at any time to see what the status of your project is. Creating a dashboard for the different levels of stakeholders in the project is one of the best communication tools you can have, being it a high level summary for the Project Steering Committee or a more detailed dashboard for the team members on the ground.
The final golden rule for project success is project reporting. Make sure that you upfront agree on the detail of project reporting to the various stakeholders, as well as the time lines in which such reporting will be done, i.e. monthly to the Steering Committee and weekly to the active team members.
Applying all these key rules upfront to your project and even throughout the project life cycle, will ensure that you will have a greater chance on delivering a very successful project.
Petrus Keyter has been in the IT and Technology industry for over 25 years and has been actively involved in web design and development, search engine optimization and marketing and website copy writing for the past 8 years. Another passion is also home and business organization and filing, especially around effective filing systems. If you have any comments or questions about this article, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. http://www.pankey.co.za.