Start Of Project Checklist

Co-ordinate the diverse activities that need to take place at the start of your project.

The beginning of a project is a busy and exciting time. It is easy to forget some small detail that may have a major effect on the course of the project. Use this checklist to assure yourself that these details are covered.

Major Planning Areas

  • Business Case Approved

    The business case and project scope have been approved by senior management.

    Projects are costly exercises and it is therefore imperative that senior management approve spending money on the project. With a signed, approved business case you are assured that senior management are at least aware of the project and what it has set out to accomplish.

    On the other hand, a project without formal approval runs the risk of being shutdown without notice.

  • Project Supervision In Place

    There is a formal structure in place for senior managment to review project progress.

    For many organisations, this supervision takes the form of a steering committee that meets to review the project at major milestones or 'go/no-go' points. At each milestone, the steering committee decides whether the project should continue.

  • Planning Checklist Completed

    You have completed the planning checklist.

  • Detailed Requirements Available

    The project requirements are available and describe the projects expected outputs (product) in detail.

    Ideally, the project requirements will be presented as a complete unit prior to the project commencing. Quite often however, producing requirements is the first step in the project. If this is the case, then are you sure that the project has the means to determine these requirements?

  • Development Environment Checklist Completed

    You have completed the Software Development Environment Checklist.

    This checks that an appropriate software development environment is available to the project including compilers, editors, debuggers, build system and configuration management system.

  • Testing Processes Defined

    The testing processes required by the project are defined and agreed with all stakeholders.

    Ensure that all stakeholders understand and agree:

    1. what testing of the project products will take place,
    2. the responsibilities of each stakeholder in the testing processes (especially where the client or user department needs to provide people to do the testing), and
    3. the criteria that will be used to accept the project products.

Project Kick-off

  • Team Members Assigned

    All required team members have been assigned to the project.

    The exact procedures for this will vary from organisation to organisation. In any case, it is important that management is aware exactly who is working on the project and for what percentage of their time.

    As a project manager you should be wary that they get full value from team members assigned part time to the project. All too often, part time team members are pulled away on urgent matters to the extent that they are not able to work the full amount of time that has been assigned to the project.

  • Team Members Aware Of Their Project Role(s)

    Each team member knows their role on the project, and the extent of their authority and responsibility.

    For larger projects, where a more rigid structure is desirable, organisation charts are useful for clarifying roles.

    For smaller, more fluid projects, where it is better for each team member to be across as many roles as possible, it may be necessary to assure each individual that they are empowered to fill whatever roles are necessary to keep the project moving.

  • Project Kick-off Meeting Held

    A meeting has been held to kick-off the project. This involves bringing the team together, presenting the scope of the project and introducing individuals who will be filling roles in the project.

    Sometimes it is necessary to hold several kick-off meetings. A large project may have one for the project steering committee, another for business analysts, another several weeks later for developers when development is ready to begin and still another for testers.

    At all these meetings the format is the same: introduce the project, discuss its current status and how the individuals in the room will contribute to the project goal.

© 2003-2006 Alan Green