The initial meeting is critical for any project manager. The purpose is to educate you on all aspects of a new product, website, or design assignment. This information is necessary for a comprehensive project plan. Success depends on gathering pertinent information. Your manager may need coaching to understand what information you need. Create a checklist of information you require before you begin the project. Here is the most information you need to gather.
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What Resources Do I Have?
Much of the success of the project depends on available resources. You may have access to project management systems or alternatives to Monday.com designed to help you organize tasks in the workflow. Many applications have built-in communication systems, allowing the team to communicate with each other.
Identify how your team is assigned. Do you have the authority to select the staff, or will the staff be assigned to you? Be sure you have contact information for each team member. To develop your timeline, examine their work schedule. You must adjust deadlines to accommodate personal time off, such as a vacation or family leave.
What Is the Scope?
Your plan will include a definition of the deliverable. The final project may vary from assignment to assignment. Ask for specific details to help you develop a comprehensive list of deliverables.
In addition to knowing what the project is, you must know what it isn’t. Avoid scope creep by having a firm grasp of the purpose and expectations. In addition, understand who is creating the deliverables.
Who Is the Contact?
Every project has a person with the final authority. It may be the customer, or it may be someone within your organization. Either way, find out to whom you are reporting overall progress. This person should also be the contact should challenges arise that may delay your timeline. Your contact may also be the person that intervenes if customer requests are outside of the existing scope.
Who Is the Customer?
The customer is the person to whom you are delivering your final product. They may or may not be your contact. They give the final approval on the project. You may find yourself working with multiple managers with slightly different opinions on the product. Identifying the customer allows you to prioritize comments, suggestions, or changes.
How Do I Communicate?
Make a list of the key stakeholders – client, customer, manager, and team members. Know what communication method they prefer. Consider anything that may impact your ability to contact them, including:
- Time zone differences
- Scheduled personal time
- Preferred communication method
- Non-traditional work hours
When Is It Due?
You cannot complete a project without knowing the final due date. However, some managers may want to see progress markers. Be sure to ask what deliverables they may need throughout the entire project. These milestones allow the customer or client to provide feedback.
What Is the Budget?
No project is without a budget. Ask about funding sources and if there are any limitations on allocating the funds. Don’t forget to include provisions for emergencies.
Gathering this information at the beginning helps you build the most efficient project management routine, moving you one step closer to success.