Before you officially begin your next project, consider whether you can answer the following questions:
- Are you aware of why the project is being launched? If not, find out! Ask the project sponsor why this particular project is being launched? What is the goal of the project? To what strategic organizational goal is the project aligned? This information enables you to understand the priority level of the project as well as have information that enables for securing resources and “selling” the project to team members and stakeholders.
- Do you have the knowledge to run the project? What are your strengths and weaknesses regarding the project? When you understand areas that you are not as knowledgeable as you might be or may have limited skills, you can use that knowledge to ensure you recruit team members who can help fill in the gaps. You don’t need to be an expert in every area of the project, others will have expertise you do not. Rely on their expertise to ensure a successful project.
- How do stakeholders feel about the project? Are they champions of the project? Are they against it? How do you know? If you don’t know, find out! Ask stakeholders their opinion about the project. Are they excited about it or worried? If worried, dive deeper to understand why so that you can address those concerns and get stakeholders on board with the project.
- Can the project be implemented as is? If it is a large, complex initiative, you might consider breaking down the project into smaller components to be more easily managed and to enable for quicker successes.
- How will the project “stick” when complete? What reinforcements will be put in place to ensure the project end result “sticks?” Will training be needed? What incentives are necessary? What processes will need to change? Consider what will need to happen to ensure the project sticks so that you can prepare early.
What else do you do to get ready for your projects?