Projects that are well prepared are not guaranteed to have a positive outcome but projects which start with unclear objectives are certainly less likely to succeed.
During the preparation stage, there are 3 main tasks:
- Defining the project’s objectives: this requires describing what outcome should the project achieve and if possible identifying some concrete KPIs based on which to evaluate the end result.
- Defining the requirements: based on the project’s objectives, what key functionalities are necessary? What IT infrastructure needs to be available? These questions need to be asked to identify potential constraints (the availability of servers, the security policy) and to know what exactly to check during the evaluation.
- Defining the project team, budget and milestones: once there’s a good understanding of the objectives and requirements, it’s time to define how to address them. Does the organization have the right individuals to fill the roles involved in a graph project? Is the budget for the project compatible with the costs of the solution? Finally, what calendar to put in place for the next phases of the project?
The project sponsor should be the one defining the project’s objectives. The end-users and IT are usually the ones defining the requirements. The project manager is defining the project’s team, budget and milestones by collaborating with all the stakeholders.
At the end of this stage, there should be a definition of the business problem and KPIs, high level functional requirements, high level IT requirements, a project team, a budget and project milestones.
This can be accomplished with one or multiple workshops. It’s usually good to have one workshop with all the stakeholders to validate the final result of the project’s preparation phase.