Understanding How Projects Come About

Your company's quarterly meeting is scheduled for today. You take your seat, and each of the department heads gets up and gives their usual "We can do it" rah-rah speech, one after the other. You sit up a little straighter when the CEO takes the stage. He starts his part of the program pretty much the same way the other department heads did, and before long, you find yourself drifting off. You are mentally reviewing the status of your current project when suddenly your daydreaming trance is shattered. You perk up as you hear the CEO say, "And the new phone system will be installed by Thanksgiving."

Wait a minute. You work in the telecom department and haven't heard a word about this project until today. You also have a funny feeling that you've been elected to manage this project. It's amazing how good communication skills are so important for project managers but not for, well, we won't go there.

Project initiation is the formal recognition that a project, or the next phase in an existing project, should begin and resources should be committed to the project. Unfortunately, many projects are initiated the way the CEO did in this example. Each of us, at one time or another, has experienced being handed a project with little to no information and told to "make it happen." The new phone system scenario is an excellent example of how not to initiate a project.

Taking one step back leads you to ask, "How do projects come about in the first place? Do CEOs just make them up like in this example?" Even though your CEO announced this new project at the company meeting with no forewarning, no doubt it came about as a result of a legitimate need. Believe it or not, CEOs don't just dream up projects just to give you something to do. They're concerned about the future of the company and the needs of the business and its customers.

The business might drive the need for a project, customers might demand changes to products, or legal requirements might create the need for a new project. According to the PMBOKĀ® Guide, projects come about as a result of one of seven needs or demands. Once those needs and demands are identified, the next logical step might include performing a feasibility study to determine the viability of the project. I'll cover these topics next.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know aboutā€¦ Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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