Project Management

Starting the Project with Both Feet on the Ground

According to Brad Egeland, there are four emotions that a project manager will typically experience at the outset of a project. They’ll be excited to prove their self-worth, nervous in the face of new challenges and risks, skeptical because the requirements they’re handed tend to gloss over any inherent pitfalls, and lastly, ambitious because that’s what it takes to be a good project manager. In an article for Project Smart, Egeland offers advice for PMs who like to get started on the right footing.

The Big Kickoff

The kickoff session has to be bar none. Get your key stakeholders around a table, perhaps some end users, and whatever team members can be drawn together at the moment. Failing that, at least get a business analyst in the room with some senior management to work out any kinks or to settle last-minute questions.

Approval, a.k.a. Buy-In

In short, get everyone’s nod of approval before forging into the thick of the project. That means engaging the sponsor regularly about policies, procedures, methodologies, etc.:

By engaging the project team very early in the planning process, you get their buy-in to the project tasks you’re going to be assigning them. You give them a good understanding of where the project is going and needs to be. You instil ownership of the project’s well-being and outcome all at the same time.

That same sense of ownership works to set the project team on the right direction. If they’re fuzzy on the aims or procedures that lie ahead, that’s a sure signal that you’ve got to get more buy-in before you set things in motion.

Setting Expectations

Another crucial component – make sure that senior management understands your vision for the project. If you fail to help them set expectations early in the project, they’ll be setting expectations for you later in the project.

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