Project Management Basics: Confirming Your Project's Justification
Part of the Project Management For Dummies Cheat Sheet
A key requirement for project management success is knowing why the project was created in the first place. In addition to helping ensure that the appropriate objectives and desired results are framed at the outset, this knowledge energizes project team members and fuels their commitment to achieve those objectives and results. Take the following steps to determine your project's justification:
Identify your project's drivers and determine their needs and expectations. Project drivers are people for whom you perform the project; they have some authority to define the results of the project.
Look for existing statements that confirm your project's support of your organization's priorities. Consult your organization's long-range plan, annual budget, capital appropriations plan, and key performance indicators, or KPIs, as well as notes from meetings where your project was proposed and discussed. Also contact the people who attended those meetings.
When checking with people or written documents for confirmation of your project's justification, do the following:
Try to find several sources for the same piece of information. (The more independent sources you find that contain the same information, the more likely that information is correct.)
Whenever possible, get information from primary sources. (A primary source contains the original information; a secondary source is someone else's report of the information from the primary source.)
Whenever you can, use written sources because they provide a constant and enduring record of the information and they reduce the chances that the information will be altered, filtered, or misinterpreted (inadvertently or purposely) before you see it.
When speaking with people about important information, arrange to have at least one other person present. Doing so allows two different people to interpret what they heard from the same individual.
Write down all information you obtain from personal meetings.
Plan to meet with key audiences at least two times. Your first meeting gets them to start thinking about issues; your second meeting gives you a chance to clarify any ambiguities or inconsistencies from the first session.
Whenever possible, confirm what you heard in personal meetings with written sources. Compare people's perceptions and opinions to written, factual data (from primary sources, if possible) and reconcile any discrepancies.