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Paul Jerram, PMP
Adding to several key things that have already been stated, I think there are several critical things that often get overlooked – or don’t get addressed early enough in the project lifecycle – especially if we move too quickly past planning and jump straight into execution (I’m the only one that has ever experienced that phenomenon, right?)
First; have I clearly identified who my stakeholders are (yes, all of them) and exactly what stake they have in this project?
Second; do I clearly understand what my key stakeholder’s primary drivers are? For example, for this project, are they most interested in getting the project done on schedule, within budget or within scope/quality guidelines etc? The key here is to not arbitrarily say “all 3” (just because that is the text book answer); yes, we are obviously going to care for all of these, but I owe it to the project to really understand what is driving my key stakeholder’s need for the project and what I have little to no negotiation room around – should I need to know that.
Finally; have I truly taken – or made – the time to really get to know my team, what their role is on the project, what they hope to get out of being on this project, what their skills are, their strengths and opportunities for improvement, etc?
Certainly these are not in any way the only critical things to be addressed as I kickoff my project; but I recognize that I have a different, more positive set of project outcomes when I make the time to make sure these things are addressed before my project moves too far along.