Stop and Think Before Kicking Off That Next Project

Everyone in the room is in agreement and emotions are running high!  Turning the current discussion into a project is not only a great idea, but will also save the company.  But before rallying the troops and provide marching orders, there a few questions that should be answered to help insure success.  Said another way, if you don't have good answers for the following questions, then either get them, or ask if you should really be taking this project on at this time:

Leadership

Leadership

  1. What's the true benefit we are trying to achieve? (Please write this down.)  At the same time, determine what is the impact $$$ if you succeed and what's the impact $$$ if you fail.
  2. Can we afford it?  Can we afford it if it runs long?
  3. Can we draw a box around what needs to be done.  Said differently, can we craft a very well defined scope for the work to be done?  If not, then it's not a project.  Also, do we all agree on the scope?
  4. Do we currently have the resources and knowledge to execute this project in the time frame it is required and to the level of quality that is necessary?  Organizations typically don't have resources sitting around waiting to be put on projects.  Who is going to do this work?
  5. What organizational leader will take responsibility for this project and champion its success?
  6. Are there other activities going on that will get in the way of this project?  Either other projects that need the same resources or other business activities that will pull attention away from this effort, eg: new menu roll out, year end close, the ERP implementation?
  7. Where does this project fall in the pecking order of priorities?  When conflicts arise, where should the priority be given?

This list is not exhaustive, and I'm sure you can think of others, but the organizational leadership must be able to answer these questions to ensure success.  If you can answer some, but not all, and still feel like it is a worthwhile effort to explore, then I encourage you to get professional consulting help.  It's a small up front investment that will pay large dividends.