Successful Project Start Up In 4 Simple Steps

What is a Project

Following on from my post last week on What is a Project the next stage is to define why the project exists. There are 4 very simple questions that you can ask at the start of a project which will help you gain a better understanding of what is required. In this post I will explain the 4 questions.
Project Start
Photo credit: Rennett Stowe

How do you ensure successful project start up? Increase your chances of successful project delivery? What if you are in an organisation that does not have a developed project process? You look at Prince2 and other project management processes and they all seem complicated.

The challenge is established project approaches such as Prince2 are not written for people new to project management. While I think Prince2 is great it does not work for organisations with low project maturity. The good news is you can still have a successful project and the first step is by taking a simple approach to project start up. In a series of posts I will outline a simple step by step process to running a project. You will be able to use/adapt/develop this process to suit your organisation and along the way you will be able to download project management templates.

In order to make sure you have successful project start up there are 4 questions that you need to answer. In this post I will explain the four questions so you to can start all your projects and increase your chance of successful project delivery. I use these questions in my project start up template which you can download here.

So here are the 4 simple steps to successful project start up.

Problem Statement
The first question is what problem should the project address. This may be an opportunity that the organisation wants to take advantage of. If so this statement should address the problem of why the organisation is currently unable to take advantage of the opportunity. Alternatively is could be something that is impacting the organisation and the project will reduce the impact. This should be a high level statement and not include too much detail.

Who Is Affected
This should include the organisation areas and sub-areas that are affected by the problem stated above.

The Impact of The Problem
This section should include details of how the problem identified impacts the organisation for each area and sub area mentioned above. In addition you should also include some quantifiable information that the problem is causing, e.g. process is taking 5 extra man days per month.

A Successful Solution Would
This section should show what solutions are required at a high level in order to resolve the problem above. It should address a solution for each impact mentioned above. In addition also include some quantifiable information to show what benefit the solution will provide, e.g. The process will be reduced to 2 days per month.

You can find these 4 steps in my project start up template which you can download here.

I hope you have found this useful. How do you ensure your project start up is successful?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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  • Isabella T.

    Dear Barry,
    I’m Isabella T. Senior Project and Programme Manager.
    I appreciate your initiative of creating this virtual agora’.
    Regarding your 4 steps start-up theory I agree with the actions you include Ieven if I’d say those are the basic not-avoidable and not just the only ones) but honestly I cannot totally agree with you indeed.
    As per my experience 1 nasic and not-avoidable is missing: team creating and engaging. Orginicing amazing events (ex a party if “on shore”) too.
    I believe that behind the methodology people motivation, integration and commitment is the key success factor to deliver your project successfully.
    Would you share your professional experience?