If you don’t know where you are going. How can you expect to get there? – Basil S. Walsh
These stages surely present a systematic approach to getting the projects completed. However, there are instances where project managers skip the initiation phase and directly start off with the planning stage. This can happen due to the following reasons:
Except in these scenarios, the teams forget that questions answered during the initiation phase rise even when the project is in its execution stage. So, there is a reason why project managers should never skip the initiation phase.
To understand this, one must acknowledge that initiation phase may hold different meanings for different managers. In case of small projects, managers may consider this as a brown bag meeting where future goals are talked about in an informal setting.
However, it’s completely opposite in case of big projects. Here managers may rely on the initiation phase to deliver the project outline to the management in a more official form to acquire the needed funding and assets. Both approaches talk about the project’s objectives, required steps, as well as the limitations that might appear. And this only clarifies that the better the initiation phase, the better the project flow will be.
In case your team and you have been facing troubles working through the phase, then it’s important you adopt the following 4 steps.
No matter if you’ve done something similar before, each project is unique. You must think about the why.Why this project and why now? What are the fuzzy goals we want to be achieved and how can we reach them?
If you’ve done a project that was very similar, you might use that experience as a good starting point and shorten the initiation phase as much as possible. Just be sure not to underestimate the project and the hurdles that will most definitely appear.
You will need to carefully think about all the departments that will be involved and affected by this project, so feel free to reach out and ask for advice. This will ensure that your initial concept becomes much clearer, and you will get the initial input that will help you smooth some nooks and crannies.
Think about the people who will be responsible for the project, those who will do the actual work on it, and those who will need to approve the work done and measure the results. And in case you’re worried on how to get so much managed hassle-free, then integrate the use of simple project management software. You can also get their opinion through the use of the software, and your project initiation phase will be half over.
If you create a general idea of the project with clear goals and milestones, later on, that will be much easier to measure and generate a performance review, not only for the project leader but also for everyone involved.
It is essential that you be realistic, not only with how you can help the project but also with how you think others will perform. Creating achievable goals and how they will be measured will decrease the likelihood of mistakes, or for the project going off the rails, so think about the closure phase and what you’d like to be mentioned here, even though the project has not even started.
A good project manager will know that something will go wrong and that you cannot control everything, but that is not a bad thing – that’s life and in business, it is no different. What you can control is how you predict those problems.
Try and use your previous experience and think of the things that can go wrong. Even if everything might seem like an easy win, expect that someone will get sick, that a milestone will be missed – and create smaller backups for those cases. Planning for the unplanned is impossible, but good preparation goes a long way.
With all this knowledge, the project will be approved much more quickly and the second, planning phase will be much easier for you and your team.
Sometimes, even the best project managers in the world clump the first two phases together – this saves them time, and they rely heavily on their experience. But even they know and understand that colleagues will appreciate a good initiation phase, as it will rely more on the gut-feelingand more on careful planning.
David is a technical writer, his works are regularly published in various papers and top-notch portals. His rich experience in Project management domain helps him offer latest and fresh perspective on improved efficiency in work flows across organizations. His informative works on similar lines can be reached out on ProProfs Project.
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