While considerable energy and effort goes into executing and delivering projects, too many company still use informal, email-based processes to initiate projects. Instead, a corporate-wide policy and process for project initiation will ensure that the right projects are executed, that they are funded appropriately, and that there is accountability for their approval. Additionally, a project initiation process that can be audited and archived will ensure compliance with government regulations, where applicable.
In some cases, project initiation can be a project unto itself–especially if it requires a feasibility study or business case development. Project Workforce Management provides a workflow foundation that can guide the project initiation effort, whether it is a full-scale project, or a routine business process.
Having a structured process within Project Workforce Management provides the benefits of: streamlining the information gathering phase; closing information gaps; integrating with CRM and other enterprise applications; reducing time spent on compliance activities; enhancing productivity; and formalizing the launch.
A typical project initiation workflow consists of:
- A standardized proposal, which can often be submitted using a web-based form, and ensures that all initial information is complete and distributed to the proper stakeholders.
- Business case review, in which the decision maker(s) can evaluate the proposal, request more information, and accept or reject it.
- Feasibility or readiness study, to assess the project’s resource requirements and risks. Usually, the executive or manager who will be responsible for the execution of the project will manage this activity.
- Budget approval, to assess the monetary requirements. Usually, the COO or CFO will manage this activity.
- Launch, during which all planning is completed: the project plan, individual roles and responsibilities, tools and methods, reporting cycle, and other critical elements of the project’s execution.
Too many projects get funded based on incomplete assumptions, false expectations, and favoritism. But a structured, workflow-based project initiation process, especially when combined with intelligent project prioritization and selection, will enhance your ability to approve, fund and plan the best projects–ones that are aligned with your strategic direction.
For more details about project management and Sarbanes-Oxley, see Rise of the Project Workforce.
Rudolf Melik is the author of The Rise of the Project Workforce: Managing People and Projects in a Flat World, and is the CEO and a founder of Tenrox. In his writings and speeches, Melik explores the ways that companies can thrive in a world where rapid technological advances and globalization are changing how we get work done and manage the people who do it. Rudolf’s professional blog can be found at: http://www.talentontarget.com/talent_on_target.
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