ENTREPRENEURSHIP / OCT. 29, 2014
version 2, draft 2

How to Start a Business Project

Starting a business project can be quite a complex task. You can’t just decide to start a new project and from one day to the next it will be ready to go. It’s essential that you follow the process to ensure that your project has the greatest chance of success.

The Process of Starting a New Business Project

Step 1: Present it to stakeholders

Unless you are the sole proprietor of your company, it’s likely there are other people who need to sign off on the project. You’ll need to present your project to the shareholders in the company, explaining the project plan to them. A project plan includes:

  • Performance Measures (scope, schedule, cost)
  • Management Plans
  • Risk Management
  • Quality management
  • Staffing
  • Communications

The stakeholders will need to sign off on the project before you can go ahead with it.

Step 2: Assign roles

Once you have the approval to start the project, it’s time to give each member of the team their roles. Divide up the responsibilities among the team, ensuring that everyone has as much as they can handle. You’ll also want to inform your stakeholders of any tasks they will need to accomplish in order to bring the project along.

Step 3: Prepare a project scope statement 

The scope statement includes:

  • The business plan
  • The objectives of the project
  • The scope of the project
  • The milestones to strive toward
  • The benefits of reaching the milestones and completing the project

This is the most important document in your business project plan, as it serves as a contract between you (the project manager) and your company.

Find tips on creating a scope statement here…

Step 4: Create the project baseline

The scope baseline includes all of the project’s deliverables, basically identifying all of the work that has to be done to reach your goal. The baseline should include:

  • Schedule
  • Cost
  • Activities and tasks to be done
  • Resources for each task
  • Time estimated for completion of tasks
  • Person/people responsible for those tasks

Step 5: Create a management plan 

After you know who will do what, how much it will cost, and how much time is needed for each task, it’s time to create a management plan. This plan will be used by the manager--you--to ensure that everything stays on track. You’ll need to include a process for review and approval of the various projects and baselines included in your plan, as well as a way to modify the plan should the need arise. Some small changes won’t affect the scope or baseline of the project, but some will. The management plan will help you to cope with those changes.

Step 6: Get started 

Once you have all of your plans in place, it’s time to get started with your project. You have the approval from your stakeholders and the project is fully structured, so get to work!

Step 7: Track progress

As your project unfolds, it’s ESSENTIAL that you track its progress. Make sure that you evaluate the results carefully, as that will help you determine whether or not you’re following the baselines correctly. If you see you’re not getting the results you want, it may be time to change the way you do things!

Starting a new business project may sound very complicated, and the truth is that it can be quite a long, complex process. However, if you do it right--using the tips above--you’ll find those projects are more likely to succeed thanks to the fact that they are structured and organized!

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