Checklist of questions for the project: start, implementation, final - and 10 tips "in flight"
Check your project: do you fly or think you are flying?
Below are the questions that you should ask yourself at the start of the project and from time to time throughout it.
Control questions at the start of the project:
- What exactly needs to be done at the current stage? Generally? Are there clearly defined goals for each stage? How do you determine if goals have been achieved? Does the current status correspond to the stated plans and goals or do they need to be adjusted?
- Are these goals realistic?
- What will happen if the goals are not achieved on time? What is the action plan?
- How significant is this project? For example, does your company's place in the market depend on it?
- What benefits will the project bring to you, society and investors?
- Is the project well planned? Does everyone on your team understand the points in the plan the same way?
- Are external experts needed, for example, lawyers?
- Does the team have experience working together? Who will coordinate the team? Is it important for the project to work precisely together - or is it possible for single people to work? Is each team member responsible for the work of everyone else?
- Is it possible to reduce the size of the team? If not, why? If so, why is this not done?
- How will you compensate for force majeure with the staff, for example, what happens if your lead developer breaks his arm?
- Does everyone in the team benefit from the project? Who is motivated by what? What will people do after the completion of the project?
- Does everyone listen clearly to the leader? Does the manager have enough time for the project? Does he have the necessary managerial and administrative skills, authority in the team?
- Is there an interim outcome plan? How will you report to each other and to the investor?
- Who, when and how should be informed about the progress of the project? Who will report on the achievement of checkpoints?
At the implementation stage:
- Is everything good in the team? Does motivation not change? Is the manual normal? No conflicts? Does everyone understand the goals in the same way and know that it is profitable for everyone to do this project with maximum return?
- Is there a margin of time for changes or urgent new features?
- Is there a clear tracking of the project?
- Do everyone understand the priorities of their tasks? Are priorities generally set?
- If the plan is changing, is someone engaged in updating the evidence in it, or are the documents no longer true?
- Is someone documenting a project - or is it delayed?
- Is everything ok with the costs? Do not go beyond the budget?
- Is everything ok with the given indicators? Are we following the plan?
- Any other problems? Do I need to change something in the team or plans?
- Is it possible to achieve the goal at the current stage, or you can come close to it at this stage, or at the end of the stage to understand, they say, is it completely wrong?
In the finale:
- Did we do everything right? Is the goal achieved?
- What caused unplanned difficulties?
- How is the acceptance done? Do you know the exact procedure and the list of people who determine the readiness of the project? How to determine if this release is final?
- What did everyone learn?
A new project within a company or a startup is a rather large-scale task, which requires the synthesis of knowledge from various fields, about which little is known, and all this implies a rather high financial risk.
When working on a new startup project, there are three criteria that limit the capabilities of the team:
- Project costs.
Obviously, you need to try to meet all three criteria: to give out a project with a sufficient level of quality, not to go beyond the financial plan and to deliver the project on time. An error in the deadlines for the delivery of the project is not always critical, but it always shows that there are problems either with the implementation or with money.
10 simple tips:
- Set only measurable specific goals and clearly understand how they will be evaluated.
- The leader should first of all motivate the team and know the project, and only then - for example, be able to write code. Putting a technical specialist without communication skills with the team as a leader is not a good idea.
- Always break a project into easily reachable parts that have some independent value. For example, for a social service: kernel, website, iOS application, Android application, API.
- Always plan with a margin of time and money. Never put resources on the plan that you actually do not have (more precisely, never work according to such plans).
- Do not forget that the leading persons of the project need creative breaks - this is up to 5% of their time. About 3-5% of the resources go to various minor breakdowns, diseases and so on.
- Accepting a new person in a team in a stressful situation is not always a good idea. Evaluate all the pros and cons, do not seek to "heal" the project with new people.
- The correct distribution of the manager’s time is as follows: 30% - planning and control, 25% - team coordination, 20% - communication with external contractors, 10% - communication with the investor, the remaining 15% - work with documents and administration.
- Always keep your finger on the pulse: start every day with an assessment of whether everything is in order with the project and whether it is moving there.
- Do not check the quality after the iteration, but create such conditions that each part of the project is already sufficiently suitable in quality. If someone does the work that needs to be redone - this is not work, but a waste of your resources.
- Give time to each employee: your attention often helps to solve problems before they arise. More importantly, a person will know that his work is important - this has a good effect on motivation. It sounds a little silly, but at marathons it becomes very important.
I hope that these simple questions will help you not to think “well, we’ll break through somehow”, but immediately clearly understand whether it is worth working in the chosen direction.