Project Readiness Checklist
December 15, 2010
Learn to prepare your projects
The Project Readiness Checklist is a four-step guide to preparing a project during the initiation phase. It includes steps to reviewing the statement of work, requesting team skills, developing a sample project schedule, and preparing an agenda for the kick-off meeting. The checklist will be helpful for people involved in managing the initiation phase. Taking the steps of the checklist allows achieving better project readiness management.
1. Examine Statement of Work
The first task of project readiness management refers to reviewing one of the major project initiation documents – the Statement of Work (SOW). You must examine what and how this document states (assumptions, expectations, major deliverables, milestones, rates, cost estimates etc.). The main idea of your project readiness review is to put key parameters of your project together to get a big picture view of how the project will be performed. The information given in the Statement of Work will be used to develop a decent project schedule, prepare a draft of project budget and create an agenda for the kick-off meetings with the customer.
Follow this project readiness checklist to review the key elements of SOW:
- Major deliverables of the project
- Specific timeframes to produce the deliverables
- Tasks and assignments necessary for supporting the deliverables
- Human resources that will perform the tasks and assignments
- Financial resources and facilities required to do the project
- Names of those people (project sponsors) who will pay for the project resources
2. Identify and Request Set of Skills Required for Launch
Before you can start your project, you need to identify what skills team members should have to carry out their duties and responsibilities. Then you must request the team on the necessary skills – you can do this during a meeting with the team. The major idea of this step on project readiness assessment is to on-board the necessary resources that have the right set of skills required for performing the project efficiently.
Do these tasks to check the team for the necessary skills:
- Identify what skills are required for the team to do the project
- Organize a meeting with your project team
- Prepare questions that characterize the identified skills
- Determine evaluation criteria
- Ask the questions and write down the team’s answers
- Examine and evaluate the answers using the selected criteria
- Make a decision regarding the team readiness to participate in the project
3. Make Schedule Template
Considering the content of SOW and time expectations of the Sales department of your company, your next step to managing project readiness activities refers to developing a drafted schedule for your project. You must create a project schedule template taking into account the timeframes for producing the project deliverables, the key tasks specified in SOW, and project sponsor’s expectations.
Follow this checklist of tasks to create a project schedule template:
- Request the Sales dept. on their time-related expectations regarding the project customer
- Use the Statement of Work to view the key timeframes and milestones of the project.
- Receive feedback from the Sales on any changes in the expectations.
- Create a draft schedule for your project using the information
4. Prepare Kick-off Meeting Agenda
The heart of the readiness management process is the kick-off meeting. Such a meeting is organized during the initiation phase and aimed at ensuring that every person involved in planning, managing and doing the project unambiguously understands the project objectives, procedures and plans.
Use this project readiness checklist to prepare the key elements of your kick-off meeting agenda:
- Describe the project framework, including project objectives, names of stakeholders, the success criteria, business objectives, and customer expectations.
- Introduce the key stakeholders of the project, including the sponsor, the customer, the team.
- Review the business case and state the business problem to be addressed by the project.
- Review project governance, including managerial responsibilities and roles, reporting procedures, and project documentation.
- Describe key characteristics of the project initiation phase, including the deliverables, milestones, sequence of activities, steps of project readiness review, and task dependencies.
- Present the draft project schedule to the meeting participants and focus on the phases of the project.
- Review key steps of the project risk analysis within the risk management process.
- Announce the key skills required for the team to participate in and perform the project.
- Review change control procedures and quality control tools.