To start projects can be a daunting task. Every time we start a new project or try to do something new, we feel fearful and initially doubt our true capabilities.
Now, it is important to keep in mind what this well-known phrase says: “If you do what you have always done, you will get what you always get.”
Making changes and undertaking new projects is part of the dynamism of life. These make us grow, face new challenges and test our abilities and talents, often hidden under the surface and our routine, which often makes up our comfort zone.
Starting a new project is always a thrill. You have created the perfect plan, have a solid team and everything is coming together. Then suddenly you realize: if you do not take action, nothing will happen. This is particularly true when starting a new project. The very first thing you need to do is gather everything that you think will be useful to accomplish your goals. Only after this, it’s time to look closely at the resources that can help you out with your project.
How to start a new project
Starting a new project can be intimidating. It can also be very rewarding. There is a lot to do for a project to succeed: Gather supplies, make a plan, and create a list of what needs to be done.
The first thing you should do is decide on your budget for the project. The second thing you need to decide is what you want your project to look like in the end.
After gathering inspiration, it is time to gather supplies. Make a list of everything that you need and go through the list one by one. There are many places where you can find these supplies depending on what your project entails: Home Depot, Lowe’s, Amazon, and even Ikea (depending on the size of your project). Once you have gathered all of your supplies, it is now time to assemble them into something beautiful.
When a working group is about to get involved in a project, there are several essential preliminary steps for its correct start-up. These preliminary steps include the scope and the initiation process itself. They are key elements because if the project starts on the wrong foot, we will probably not get the results we expect from it.
6 Basic concepts
When starting a project, it is necessary to know some basic concepts that can help you perform more fluently. Some concepts that you should know are:
Scope of a project
The scope of a project must include all those necessary processes to ensure that it accommodates all the work and that we can complete it successfully. Although yes, the scope of the project should only include the necessary work.
The scope will allow you to work in an organized way and plan an estimated time to complete the project.
In this process, we will document the scope of a project we will define, verify, and control. In addition, it is the process in which we express the work breakdown structure, also known as WBS, should be created.
During the definition process, we will elaborate the entire project plan in detail.
Creation of the EDT
The creation of the EDT serves to divide the project into smaller and easier-to-handle components.
In this process, we formalize the acceptance of the project deliverables.
Finally, it will be notably essential to include the control of any changes in the project. Before starting these processes, we must select a project and have formal authorization to plan its scope.
Research and identify the critical path of the project
Here are a few steps I follow to start a new project:
Identify the critical path of the project. This is the sequence of events that will determine the outcome of the project.
For example, in an online course, it might be (1) define curriculum, (2) get permissions for content, (3) create a course and record videos, (4) compile video clips into courses and (5) launch online platform.
All other things being equal, if you can speed up or slow down any of these steps, you can have a big impact on the overall time frame of your project. Create a detailed timeline. Work out all the tasks that need to be done and how long they will take, bearing in mind that there are likely to be delays along the way.
For example, you might find it takes longer than expected to get permissions for content due to slow replies from authors.
Include some buffer time to allow for this by planning when you schedule your work.
Make an initial plan based on this timeline and identify any risks involved.
Then use this as a “sanity check” against your own expectations
If you think something will take much longer than planned, you need to ask yourself why?
Break up projects into smaller, manageable tasks
I work on a lot of projects, and I always seem to start them off with a big bang. But then, after my initial burst of energy subsides, I get bored, discouraged, and the project gets put on the back burner.
To avoid this cycle, I’ve found it helpful to break up the project into smaller, manageable tasks. This way, you can focus on each task and feel accomplishment at the completion of each one. When you’re ready to work on your project, simply create a list of all your tasks.
This can be as simple as breaking down your project into steps and writing them down in a notebook or as advanced as creating an outline in Excel.
Once you have your list of tasks, decide how much time you will dedicate to each one.
For example, if you have 12 weeks to complete your project and there are 5 different tasks that need to be done in order, then allow yourself 2 weeks per task. Two weeks is not too long; it will give you enough time for each task without feeling overwhelmed by the workload. Once you’ve decided on how much time you will devote to each task, begin working on them one at a time, crossing them off when they are completed.
The beginning of a project should cover
- The problem: the obstacle that separates where we are from where we would like to be.
- The mission: it constitutes the basis to achieve the goals and objectives of the project.
- The objective: It is the expected result of the project.
- The goals: includes the essential goods and services to achieve the objectives.
- The strategic plan: to identify strengths, opportunities, weaknesses, and threats that the project has to detail how we will successfully achieve the objectives.
To end the process of starting a project, the project director must issue a project charter. This document results from the initiation process, and it includes the justification of the need to carry out the project in question and a brief description of the product or service it offers.
Takeaway: do a walkthrough before you learn how to start projects, plan for each step. Where possible, hand off jobs to others.
Now that we provide you with the information you need to know how to start projects, you can carry out all the projects you want and become the successful worker you want to be.
There’s no one right way to go about starting a new project, but the most successful ones typically begin with a plan.
By spending just ten minutes sketching out your plans on paper, you can save yourself considerable time and frustration later on down the road.
So take the plunge, grab a pencil, and start your project off right with a solid plan of attack. You’ll be glad that you did.