For starters, what is a “Project” anyway? The accepted definition is that it is a time-bound endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result. It has a defined beginning and end in time, and therefore defined scope and resources.
Project Management is what it takes to ensure that the project is executed properly: knowledge, platforms, activities, people, and all that project requires.
In this blog of Project Management Series, we will focus on the first aspect of Project Management: What should the project manager do to plan and prepare for a great Project Kickoff.
The specific focus of the Project Planning and Initiation phase are:
Business Case: A business case is the starting point for any project. It is used to define the grounds for starting a project. It shows how the use of capital and other resources will support a business need and what the payoffs will be. A good business case envisions scenarios and anticipates risks. Technicals are not the focus at this stage.
What does a good business case example look like? Solid business cases are easy to understand, clear, logical, and relevant. These are grounded in reality and have assumptions and outcomes that are measurable. Further, good business cases delineate accountability and commitment to the work and costs. A few examples of Business Case Templates are:
In short, a business case is intended to convince key decision-makers of the merits of a particular project. It is a key part of your project initiation process as the business case defines “Why” for the project in a very brief manner.
Establish a Project Management Office: A project management office is a group that defines and maintains standards for project and program management within the organization. This unit ensures that all the projects are run in a repeatable and standardized way. A PMO focuses on scalability in the execution of projects. A few important tasks include ensuring the best project management practices and governance and accountability for the project teams. A few templates related to Project Management Office structure and governance model are:
A Good PMO needs the right balance of skills and experience and they need to update themselves constantly. As it is their task to build effective, capable teams through continuous technical training, coaching, and leadership development.
Publish a well-articulated Project Charter: A project charter outlines the context, vision, goals of the project. In addition, it includes the scope, key assumptions, big risks, the structure, and notable milestones. Some people also like to add responsibilities for the project team and key stakeholders in the project charter.
The charter marks the point when the key highlights of the initiation stage are ready to be shared with a broader stakeholder group. Learn in detail how to build effective Project Charters. Here are a few Project Charter templates:
In essence, the more thorough a project charter is, the better reference it will become for the future. You can include the information which you find most beneficial for future reference. Check out more project charter examples.
Clearly scope the project: The project scope is the part that involves defining a list of specific project goals, outcomes, activities, timelines, and ultimately costs. “Scope” is what is needed to deliver a project for it to be called successful. A few clean and succinct Project Scope templates:
Project Scope is needed in managing the expectations of clients and all different stakeholders. With a distinct project scope, it helps all the stakeholders to stay on the same page throughout the development life cycle process of the project.
Identify the Team: Any project requires a team to do the activities and take accountabilities. It is essential to define roles for each member to collaborate well. Reporting lines, leadership, structures, should be laid out as clearly as possible. A few examples of Project Team Structure Templates are:
How do you make a great team? Listing skills and experience needed for each position, defining performance criteria, assigning proper responsibilities are great ways to set up a team for success. In short, Identifying the right Project Team is critical for Project success. The Project team should have clear, defined goals and should be motivated to achieve Project Objectives.
- Skill Requirements: To build an effective project team structure, it is important to identify the skills required in the project. Identifying team members with the right skills will ensure project success. Here are a few templates to help you articulate the project skill requirements.
- Role Definition: Once you identify the team with the required skills, it is important to define the roles and responsibilities of the team members that will make your team and project successful. Clarify the expectations you have of each other so the whole project team can shine. Here are a few roles and responsibilities templates.
- RASCI: Use RASCI Matrix or RACI Matrix, to assign and display responsibilities of individuals in the project team. RASCI is an acronym from the initial letters of words:
- R – Responsible – who is responsible for carrying out the entrusted task?
- A – Accountable (also Approver) – who is responsible for the whole task and who is responsible for what has been done?
- S – Support – who provides support during the implementation of the project task?
- C – Consulted – who can provide valuable advice or consultation for the task?
- I – Informed – who should be informed about the task progress or the decisions in the task?
Here are a few RASI Chart templates.
- Performance Criteria: It is important to set up performance criteria for the team members so that the team’s expectations in terms of roles and responsibilities are aligned. Here a few templates to articulate them to the team.
Here is a Complete Project Kickoff Meeting Deck.
This is a complete project kickoff presentation specially crafted to showcase your project planning and project design in your project kickoff meeting. It is a fully editable PowerPoint Presentation template. This project kickoff meeting presentation contains separate slides for almost every aspect of project planning so that you can present them effectively. It contains multiple slides to effectively showcase different phases of your project plan in the project kickoff meeting.
You can showcase the project timeline with milestones to achieve in the implementation process. Separate slides for team structure, roles, and interaction roster are there to showcase all the project aspects.
Here is a Complete Project Planning Presentation.
This Project Planning Presentation showcases your Project Planning effectively as it includes every aspect of a Project Plan. It consists of the Project Scope template, Project Timeline template, and Team Structure Template so that you can create a detailed Project Planning Presentation.
If you are debating whether you should try out some project management tool/software, we recommend you check out softwareforprojects.com, where you can find various software options to help you with your project management needs.
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