The onus of responsibility that you are immediately burdened with as you take up a new project is very common. You can feel nervous and confused as to how you will manage the project undertaken and whether you will be able to prove yourself through the said opportunity or not.
What Is The Right Time To Start A Project?
The ability to identify the aptest time of starting a project is often a skill that organizations tend to lack. If you consider the immense responsibility and timely delivery that a significant project demands, it can take up such a task in times when you are swamped with other ongoing projects, you are more likely to make errors in your project. It can make you end up hampering your progress and tarnishing your reputation. Projects that are taken up without necessary research may end up either missing the deadlines or failing!
One such example is that of Sony launching its cassette recording device called Betamax in the 70s. Betamax failed to create the buzz in the market as everyone had expected. It saw the rise of sales JVC’s VHS Technology and lost its revenue to the competitor. A market giant like Sony had a project fail; that too one that continued production till 2016.
The lesson learned from this failure was that project management doesn’t end after a project launch or that an advertising campaign has run out. For a project to be a success, extensive work has to be undertaken - even before taking it up in the first place! In this informative piece, we will go over what questions we must ask ourselves before we decide to take up an important project; since it is better to be prepared and start late, than jump into something and fail!
Question 1: Have I Identified the Specific Goal for My Project?
Before you undertake a project, it is essential to know what your end objective is. You need to layout what the ultimate requirements are and if you have 100% clarity regarding the deliverable. Often being unclear about the concept and deliverable of the project leads to unnecessary mistakes along the way and thus extending your deadline. Unless you have complete information about the project details, it is well-advised to revise and edit until you reach the stage of absolution. One should aim at having at least 80-90% of the requirements of the said project ready and laid out before that can think of beginning the project!
Question 2: Are My Deliverable Breakable into Smaller Milestones?
When you face head-on with a project, it is smart planning to layout certain key milestones; so that later you can keep your nerves in check. There is information coming at you from all ends, and the management and track keeping can often be a strenuous task. Having short term goals laid out for your project not only helps you ease out your anxious self but is also a good source of motivation for your team that is working alongside you. Moreover, having small key milestones help in planning better. For instance, if you face some change in the demands of a project, by having short term goals and objectives, you will be able to alter them as soon as you receive the news. On the contrary, if you have long term goals set out, editing one of them would mean that your entire course of work would change!
Question 3: Do I Have People to Provide Me with Useful Feedback?
It is natural to brainstorm for ideas during a project. The brainstorming is often intense before you take on a project. However, when those ideas are implemented, they may or may not work. There is no shortcut to knowing of an idea that you are taking forward will be a success or not. You are bound to think with your limited resource of knowledge. Still, often the project that you are working on has to be for a separate audience, which further increases the uncertainty component. Sharing your ideas with someone reliable gives you a neutral lens to things, and you might even end up getting ideas for process improvement through people who have expertise in the area of work your project falls in.
Question 4: Has A Similar Project Been Undertaken Or Is It A Completely New Territory of Work?
Having prior experience in things is always an added benefit. You know the drill, and you know what can go wrong - hence you prepare better, and you are well equipped to handle any low points that might come up. So if your company is taking up the project while having experience in the same field of work - it works to your advantage. However, if it is an entirely new area of work, you will have to talk to people with experience in that domain and be well prepared before taking up the project.
Question 5: Have I Figured Out the Costing?
Projects tend to be painstakingly expensive. The ideas that you garner and are excited to work on immediately can be something that the organization might not be comfortable with in terms of the financial strain it may bring. Budgets are allocated for projects, and your ideas will likely have to mold and change in light of the financial resources present at hand. It is essential to identify the source of the investment and the other resources that will be required for the project, i.e., human expertise and managerial support. Some cases may require you to arrange the finance from external sources, and that is something that takes time - thus, having this figured out way before you begin a project is essential.
Question 6: What Is My Timeline?
This question is the most crucial of all. Knowing when you are required to hand in different things helps you be well prepared and have your team or colleagues know of their responsibilities early on. It is a big red flag if you have project timelines that did not spend time in the exploration phase and are ready with the plans to go ahead directly.
Once you have explored these questions and have responses ready, it is time for you to decide on either going ahead with a project or dropping it. And like we said, it is better to take up a plan later than starting it without preparation and planning; since that is how you set yourself up for disappointment in the future.