The Three Phases of Project Management Project Forming (1/3)

Part I - Project Forming

When managing a large scale project, we need a clear understanding of two things:  who is involved and what needs to be accomplished.  Mistakes here will set the pace for the entire project.  Failure to understand the requirements of the project not only result in delays but can also lead to costly errors.

The purpose of the Project Forming phase of project management is to clearly recognize the needs of the assignment and set the stage for the remainder of the project.  The first activity in this phase is to identify all of key stakeholders.  These stakeholders should include everyone who is involved in the project regardless of their role, whether they are part of the management team or the people who implement the project.  All stakeholder requirements need to be understood prior the implementation of the project.  For example, if the client requires the sponsor to build a building but the sponsor fails to recognize that workers are unable to satisfy the request then that would make for a very big problem.

For these reasons, the requirements of all stakeholders need to be studied completely as each of them must understand what implications the project has for them.  As a result, it is critical to establish a project governance model that addresses all stakeholder needs and maps out how those needs will be met.  The upfront work established early on will lead to a successful outcome for the project.

The governance model should include the drivers for the project, a robust business case, a clear scope definition, vision for the project, and goals. The drivers for the project can be understood as the reason for the project.  A business case will include a cost/benefits analysis of the project and will help management decide if the project is worth doing in the first place. The scope definition will provide the boundaries for the project. A vision of the project will help people understand what a completed project will look like.  Lastly, the goals for the project will tell people what the expected outcome of a completed project is.

Many projects fail due to a lack of: stakeholder engagement, client interest in the project, methodologies that will manage the project, and understanding of stakeholders requirements.  Through sound planning, you can engage your stakeholders to understand their needs, create interest in the project for your client, and develop the proper strategies to manage your project successfully.  All of this will result in improved outcomes that are on schedule and on budget.