Start Every Project with a Detailed Description of the Project
By Richard Morreale
Too many times I have seen Projects go bad because there wasn’t a common understanding at the beginning of what the Project was supposed to deliver – poor communication. People assume, even on small Projects, that everyone has a common understanding of the deliverable and too late everyone realizes that they don’t.
I suggest that the Detailed Project Definition should be completed before or at the start of the Project. In fact, ideally, this should be the initial definition used to brief the Project Manager as to what the Project is all about. What usually happens, though, is that the Project Manager will have to produce this as the first Deliverable and will get it agreed by whoever is sponsoring the Project. In addition, once this Detailed Project Definition is written and agreed, it should be used as the foundation to everything that follows. As changes are required, this document should be reviewed to see what the impact of the change is to the Project at the highest level.
The Detailed Project Definition will help you to stay focused on what it is that you are supposed to be doing. It will keep you from getting side-tracked and will help, if managed properly, in controlling the problem of ‘scope creep without schedule or budget revision’.
If you are assigned the role as Manager of a Project that does not have a Detailed Project Definition, you should make it your first task. Prepare the document and get it approved by the powers that be before you start work on the Project itself.
The Detailed Project Definition should include items such as the problem to be solved by the Project, the Project’s mission and objectives, the indicative required end date, the scope of the Project, the indicative budget, resource requirements along with roles and responsibilities and estimated Project start and completion date.
Richard is a project manager, professional speaker, author and consultant specializing in Project Management, Leadership, Achievement and Customer Service.