Business Growth & Strategy

A Project Initiation Quiz

This quiz builds on the previous project initiation articles in this series.

The Situation 

Your company’s main office has 75 employees.  An adjoining suite in your office building is vacant.  You decide to lease the 1,500 ft2 space and create an exercise room for employee use.  Your estimated initial investment is $60,000 (4 each industrial quality treadmills, elliptical trainers, and stationary bicycles; an assortment of free weights; plus build out for men’s and women’s shower facilities) with an ongoing annual budget of $35,000 for rent and upkeep.  The board of directors approves your plan.

The Question

You assign the project to Jane, one of your department managers with proven project management skills.  What are the steps she should take to get this project underway?

The Result You Should Expect

If Jane understands project initiation, she is going to take you back to the beginning of the process, with an initial assumption of staying at or under the approved budget.  Please don’t kill the messenger, but you don’t really know what the 75 employees would like to see in the facility, or if many of them would even use it.  First, she informs you she wants to spend 10 hours of her time, and use 20 hours of your administrative assistant’s time between now and the signing of the project charter.

You should then expect Jane to:

1. Conduct a requirements analysis.

Jane will invite employees (the most important stakeholders in this example) to submit suggestions for the types of equipment they would prefer.  She may hold a meeting so the most interested future users can discuss and negotiate the options.  She will publish her recommended list of equipment for employees and the management team to review.  She will evaluate comments and provide a final list to the management team for approval or modification.  Possibly the final selection turns out to be half the number of exercise machines, a multi-station weight machine instead of free weights, a large plasma screen with wireless streaming and DVD capability in front of an open exercise floor, and a sound system, plus the showers as originally planned.

2. Assemble recommendations.

Jane will meet with 2 or 3 contractors regarding the structural changes, and 2 or 3 stores that sell and service exercise equipment.  The audio-visual equipment will be standard off-the-shelf products, installed by the contractor.  She will prepare a list of her recommendations, obtaining the best quality she can while staying within the allocated budget.

3. Prepare the project charter.

The recommendations will be inserted into a complete project charter, as explained in my previous article, “Project Initiation, Part 2.”  The management team will approve, or modify and approve, the project charter.  Jane will require the project sponsor (who signs the charter) is vice-president level or above.

4. Select the providers and sign contracts.

As explained in my previous article, “Project Initiation, Part 3,” Jane will proceed to work through the activities described therein related to preparing a detailed statement of work, providing instructions to offerors, creating the bid solicitation package, selecting the providers, and awarding contracts.

Anyone Else

I’d welcome additional thoughts from you, the reader, or tell us your lessons learned from skipping steps during project initiation.

Next Article in This Series:  The final project initiation activities.

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About the Author

An engineer by training, Randy Klein has 30 years of consulting experience, 20 of which have included project management duties.  His project management curriculum has been used by a variety of university continuing education departments and private resellers.  He invites your questions and comments related to project management, quality assurance, and organizational improvement.  Contact Randy at (801) 451-7872 or projects@streamlineut.com.

Category: Business Growth & Strategy

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Randy Klein About the Author: Randy Klein

Randy Klein is a project management expert, certified quality manager, and licensed professional engineer with 30 years of consulting and management experience.  Mr. Klein developed a project management seminar for universities in Utah, Wisc…

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