Strategic Project Kickoff: Unleash Success in 9 Simple Steps
Determining the procedures necessary for project preparation may seem challenging, especially for those embarking on their first project. However, by overcoming our fears, we can discover that most key procedures for project preparation become apparent to the owner in a transparent manner.
While preparatory processes may vary across projects based on their respective fields, certain fundamental processes, such as establishing the project's aim and target audience, are essential elements for every project, regardless of its specialization or target market.
In this post, we aim to highlight the most crucial processes for project preparation in a practical and straightforward way, helping you transition your project from an idea to reality seamlessly.
1. Define the project's aim
The goal-setting phase is considered one of the most critical processes in project preparation as it lays the foundation for the entire project. The aim encompasses what you seek to accomplish and the methods you'll employ to achieve this target.
For instance, suppose your project focuses on delivering an electronic payment service for bills and purchases through a digital application. In this case, the purpose is not to construct the application itself but to provide a reliable electronic payment method.
Here, the application becomes a means to achieve the purpose of your project, aiding you in translating your goal into a practical tool that enhances your customers' lives.
The objective of your application, for example, could be to streamline conventional payment methods, reducing time and effort and, consequently, improving your customers' lives. Keep the aim simple and focused, as successful organizations worldwide have been built around clear and straightforward objectives, such as providing knowledge, pleasure, or enhancing lives.
It's crucial to note that the main purpose should be to help a specific group of people first, with profits as a secondary consideration. Focusing solely on making profits can divert your attention from addressing the genuine needs of your customers.
2. Define the methods to achieve your aim
In the previous example, we chose an electronic application as the means to fulfill the project's purpose. However, the means could be diverse, ranging from products to services. Choosing the methods shapes the roadmap for your project and how it can be categorized.
This step involves determining how to acquire or develop the means, which varies from one project owner to another. Two individuals aiming for the same goal might have different preferences and visions for how to achieve it. For instance, two people wanting to provide affordable food goods might choose different paths—one establishing an online business and the other renting a physical store.
Understanding the chosen method is essential. While you don't need to become an expert, having a basic understanding is crucial, as it sets the stage for the subsequent phases of project preparation.
3. Analyze the process of generating a way to achieve the aim
Acquiring a shop or building a website/application involves a comprehensive examination of their needs and phases. This analysis can be based on available financial resources or on an examination of the process without financial coverage.
Regardless of the approach, the analysis should result in options for developing the means, an estimate of personnel required, discussion about promoting the product or service, an early project budget estimate, and determining the time needed for project materials.
The sequence of these processes may vary among project owners, and some steps may be added or omitted based on the project's nature. For instance, a feasibility study, while time-consuming and costly, is considered an important task in project planning.
4. Study market conditions and competition
The placement of this stage in the project sequence can vary among professionals. Some argue for its inclusion in the same sequence as proposed here, while others advocate for conducting it after establishing the project's purpose and methods.
Market research serves different purposes depending on the project owner's goals. Some owners already possess industry knowledge, utilizing market research to translate existing information into actionable data. Others use market research to assess their project's competitive capacity, prepare for competition, and determine if the project can succeed in the market.
After a thorough market analysis, conducting a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) is recommended to identify and evaluate factors influencing the project's success.
5. Determine the timeframe for project preparation
If market analysis supports your project proposal, defining a chronological framework becomes crucial. Establish specific time periods and start and finish dates for each procedure outlined in step 3. This framework allows you to quantify the time taken for each step, helping assess adequacy or excessiveness.
Each stage of project preparation should have an acceptable time framework tailored to the nature of the phase. Breaking down these frameworks into smaller components enhances the pace of advancement for each stage.
6. Divide project duties into smaller tasks
In addition to breaking down time periods, breaking down tasks into smaller portions aids efficiency. Each task should have its own timetable, and this breakdown clarifies the requirements of each project preparation level.
For instance, if building an online shop, tasks may include choosing a store name, selecting hosting and a domain provider, choosing a platform (e.g., WordPress or Wix), installing e-commerce plugins, and selecting payment and shipping options.
While some may consider this level of detail excessive, it ensures meticulous planning, considering factors like the long-term impact of choosing a store name or the significance of the hosting provider.
Several tools, such as Trello, ClickUp, Asana, and Google Tasks, facilitate task division, assignment, and time management. Choose a tool that aligns with your project's needs.
7. Select project partners
The process of choosing project partners varies among project owners. Some select partners early in the conceptualization phase, while others prefer partners after market research or defining key project phases. Partners can be previous colleagues, friends with expertise in your project's field, or family members involved in a similar venture.
When selecting a partner, prioritize the value they bring to the project. While personal connections can be beneficial, the ideal partner should contribute assets like real estate or financial resources or possess skills in management, technology, or marketing.
Consider widening your view to include institutions, organizations, and banks as potential partners, offering financial resources and expertise.
8. Select project personnel
Project personnel, distinct from partners, are responsible for executing specific tasks within the project. The selection process involves identifying roles, defining tasks, establishing prerequisites for each role, preparing exam questions, crafting job announcements, selecting search methods, reviewing resumes, and conducting interviews.
Avoid biased selections based on past experiences or relationships. Evaluate individuals based on the value they can bring to the project and their mastery of the required skills. Training is essential, even for experienced individuals, to ensure alignment with project activities.
Consider professional recruiting services for efficient and objective candidate selection, or involve partners with expertise in this area.
9. Choose the execution method
Deciding whether to execute tasks in parallel or sequentially depends on the nature of the project. Both approaches have pros and cons, and a hybrid strategy that combines parallel execution of unrelated tasks and sequential execution of interconnected tasks may be optimal.
Ensure that the chosen method aligns with the project's requirements, scheduling, and task interdependencies.
This essay introduces the main phases of project preparation. The order of these processes may vary among project owners, and there is no universal formula for success. Many successful projects have not followed all these processes, emphasizing the importance of flexibility and adaptability in project planning.