Less stress, more progress: How to start up a new IT project

Fear of failure is the most powerful barrier that can stop any professional from getting started on a new project. You have to think over hundreds of details before you make any single step towards your new project implementation. You have to pull the team together, push it towards its goals, work out a strategy, manage the resources, etc. Great efforts are required to fulfil all the conditions. This period is rightfully considered as the most stressful among all the steps of the process.

In order to successfully start up a project, first you have to duly establish communications and project organisation. If you have settled these two aspects, difficulties and stressful situations will arise much less frequently all along the way. And even if there is any, they will be solved by synergistic actions with impunity. This is a weighty argument to step over your angst and start your project roadmap planning.

Why communication is so essential?

Every mover should bear in mind that to have extremely good internal and external communications is of great importance. In the former case, a well-run and open communication between colleagues fosters a successful development of your new product or service.

While a disruption of the internal communications in a company or a project team often leads to:

  • Managerial mistakes when making decisions
  • Control looping over the challenging situations
  • Colleagues and employees demotivation
  • “Don’t care” attitude of the colleagues and employees to business results and achievements

External communications or a constant liaison with customers includes informing them about the updates throughout the execution of a project, and receiving their feedback. This approach shows a high quality of customer care and increases customer loyalty to the company.

Setting the course for the project

Every project needs to be thoroughly planned out. The best solution to start planning is to create a roadmap with all the processes your team needs to fulfill in order to achieve clearly defined goals. It is crucial to be certain that every participant of the project team has the same vision for the targeted goals. This will help to avoid feeling that a team is shooting at a moving target.

The project plan is the major communication and control tool that allows you to have a broad overview of your milestones and to correct the project course if necessary.

Here are the main steps to plan a project:

  1. Market research to define your potential market and to find out if there is a space for your product or service. SWOT analysis should be conducted on this stage to define what are the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to the project.
  2. Choosing team members with clearly described roles and responsibilities for each participant.
  3. Project scoping to define what you are and are not going to do.
  4. Establishing reasonable deadlines, taking into account team members productivity, and efficiency.
  5. Setting project milestones, including progress reports on a monthly, weekly and/or daily basis.
  6. Determining what quality, design, and features are required for the product or service to succeed, and what software is needed to put them into effect.
  7. Developing a baseline budget.
  8. Identifying risks to stay one step ahead, and discussing the alternatives if new requirements appear.

The kick-off meeting

Take advantage of the kick-off meeting. It is one of the most important phases before development begins. There is an opportunity for each team member to be introduced, to share ideas, and to gain a deeper understanding of the processes. Here, all the roles and responsibilities will be outlined as well.

Everything seems to be in order and the work may begin. But don’t miss the key point - to make progress and reach your business goals, use a systematic approach in the project management planning and implementation.

There are certain planning tools on the market that will help you to create a roadmap of your idea, and will allow you to track schedule, budget, risk, actions, etc. Choose one for you and you will never go off your course.

Julia Glazunova is a technical writer for KeepSolid

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