Did you realise that PRINCE2®, as the leading project management methodology worldwide, is actually quite pragmatic? That it isn’t about embarking on a project and a mountain of paperwork for the sake of it?
Instead, the first process in this method (Starting up a Project) looks at doing the
“…minimum necessary in order to decide whether it is worthwhile to even initiate the project”.
7 Step Checklist to Starting up a Project
- Sponsorship. Do you have an Executive (Sponsor) who has sufficient authority, availability, credibility and vested interest to direct the project?
- Project Manager. Ideally the project manager who will see the project through is appointed at the very start… Not possible? Then someone needs to act in this role, with clear responsibilities agreed.
- Lessons. It might sound clichéd, but yes we do typically have lots to learn from past project attempts and successes. Consider holding a workshop to share experiences from both internal and external stakeholders..
- Senior Leadership. Along with strong sponsorship, a project needs appropriate support and buy-in from the right people to make the right decisions in a timely manner. Business, user and supplier interests need to be represented at the appropriate level and be involved from the very start.
- Business Justification. Why do we need this project? Is it really worth doing? All too often we concentrate on what is being done and how it needs to be done and overlook the reasons why. Given that we are talking early days in the project, the level of information is typically high level – at this point it is unlikely (and less desirable in terms of effort required, given the project may not go ahead) to have a detailed investment appraisal. Ensure you have compelling facts as to why.
- Project Brief. A project brief (or equivalent information) outlining what the project needs to achieve and why, the overall approach and key players should be collated to ensure that the project has a commonly understood starting point. Remember the word “brief” – it is exactly that, at this point in time and does not necessarily have to be a formal document (for example the brief may be a presentation or a summary on a team board).
- Plan what to do next. Sounds obvious? It is! Next steps need to be planned (assuming approval to proceed). Remember the idea of ‘Starting up a Project’ is to see if we have a viable and worthwhile project to even consider taking further. If the answer is yes, then you are prepared to focus on initiating the project in a structured and pragmatic manner.
“PRINCE2® is an integrated project management method providing a set of processes and themes that can be applied to manage a project from start to finish.”
PRINCE2 is a registered trade mark of AXELOS Limited